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Enhancing local conflict management capacities of youth

This project helped to counter prevailing narratives of division in Kyrgyzstan by bringing together different ethnic groups.

In late 2010, university students in Osh and Jalal-Abad raised concerns about possible tensions at the beginning of the academic year following inter-ethnic riots. Many ethnic Uzbek students stayed away from their studies, some citing a fear of a renewal of violence.

We held 62 dialogue groups, training camps and workshops for high school and university students in the two regions, on topics ranging from conflict analysis, stereotypes and tolerance, communication skills, and effective leadership. We also held 10 sporting and cultural events designed to bring together and celebrate inter-ethnic diversity. Together, the activities reached over 1,500 students.

The project enabled many students to get actively involved in their communities for the first time. Uzbek students returned to class after receiving encouragement from their Kyrgyz peers. An anti-rumour campaign managed to actively mitigate and quell false information from spreading, and an anti-crime campaign was also implemented in three schools in the outskirts of Jalal-Abad in cooperation with the local police force.