The project “Empowering Girls in the Turkestan Region”

Last week, March 27, 2019, within the walls of the Ahmed Yassawi University took place a round table on the implementation of the project “Empowering Girls in the Turkestan Region”, organized jointly by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the akimat of the Turkestan region and the Graduate School of Governance and Economics.

During the event, experts discussed the results of training for teachers and secondary school students on the updated “Valeology” (Healthy Lifestyle) course, covering new chapters on family values, gender equality, prevention of violence and early and forced marriage. Participants discussed issues of gender inequality, adolescent rights and the role of the youth movement “Y-Peer-Kazakhstan” in promoting sexual literacy among young people.

In the framework of the round table, Y-Peer held a training course on sexual education for the students of the Graduate school, in which they received detailed information on the activities and goals pursued by the movement.

Further, a special video about gender stereotypes, filmed in Turkestan city was presented to the attention of the participants.

Why Turkestan region? According to UNFPA data in Kazakhstan, the Turkestan region is among the top five regions with the highest percentage of girls aged 15–19, married officially or unofficially (9.3%).

“We are sincerely glad that the United Nations Population Fund, together with the public sector, raises issues of demography, gender inequality, infertility, and early marriage. Today’s round table devoted to the problems of widening opportunities for girls in the Turkestan region is a proving the statement. I believe that this topic should be raised to the republican level, as situation desires much to be better. For instance, in Kazakhstan, according to el.kz, dated March 7, 2019, from January to September 2018, about 374 abortions were performed by girls aged 15–18 years, in another words, these are 5 girls for every 1,000 ”- Sholpan Yessimova, Vice President of Academic Innovation and Higher Postgraduate Education, Ahmed Yassawi University.

For its part, the leadership of the Graduate School of Governance and Economics is ready to support the UNFPA mission in Kazakhstan and Central Asia, and also to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, namely goal No. 5 on Gender Equality (“Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”), via conducting joint research studies, trainings, seminars, projects, etc. In general, other UN SDGs are also on the university’s agenda.

“For us, it is important to hold such events and create a discussion platform for all stakeholders, including our students of the Graduate School, as during the studies academic staff widely covers the range of issues of gender equality, demography, human rights, international law. We see them as future decision makers and policy determiners”- the leadership of the Graduate School of Governance and Economics.

For reference: UNFPA is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. UNFPA provides technical assistance to the countries to ensure that the reproductive health and rights of women and youth are in the heart of the development and expands the possibilities for women and young people to lead healthy and productive lives.

UNFPA, official web source: www.unfpa.org

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