Peaceful Change initiative and the Youth Cooperation Center of Dilijan (YCCD) hosted a roundtable event on Youth Policy issues in Armenia (October 2019) in Yerevan. This is a component of the project ‘Progressing Youth Participation in Armenia on Governance and Peace’. Participants included officials from the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport (MESCS) responsible for the development of Youth Policy in Armenia, representatives from civil society and youth organisations, active youth workers, and young men and women interested in the issue. The discussions were focused on topics which produced suggested recommendations and messages. PCi and YCCD will work with civil society and government to raise awareness of these recommendations/messages, to promote inclusive and participatory processes in the development of Youth Policy in Armenia.
Peaceful Change initiative accompanied leaders of youth organisations, government representatives and members of the Armenian National Assembly on a visit to Scotland from 18-22 November 2019. The delegation met with Scottish youth leaders, government officials, business leaders and academics, gaining insight into how they might strengthen the ability of young people to participate in decision making at different levels on their return to Armenia. Highlights included meetings with Members of the Scottish Parliament (Edinburgh), the Scottish Youth Parliament (Dundee) and youth working alongside police officers at the ‘Community Safety Hub’ in Dundee.
Artur Ghazaryan from the Youth Cooperation Centre of Dilijan, and PCi’s Armenian project partner, said: “This has been a great experience … young people [in Scotland] are involved in different channels, such as the Youth Parliament, the local council and other informal initiatives and are educated to be civic-minded so they can contribute to political and economic affairs and other areas of life. This is a great example and when we return to Armenia we can seek to try and adopt and improve youth representation in different sectors of life as well.”
COVID-19 is highlighting vulnerabilities among marginalised communities around the world. In Georgia, Abkhazia remote communities, situated far away from urban centres have learned to cope with their isolation, even though they face additional challenges when situated adjacent to conflict-affected areas. The introduction of measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 have stretched livelihoods and coping mechanisms to breaking point. For example, travel restrictions have led to a shortage of essential goods and the lack of water supply has made it difficult to maintain good hand hygiene; in addition, the distance from decision making is challenging the effectiveness of public health mechanisms. Peaceful Change initiative and their partners have been supporting schools in isolated communities in this region to deal with these challenges, filling gaps in COVID-preparedness and supporting local groups to organise and meet the challenges of the pandemic.
Peaceful Change initiative worked with YCCD (an Armenian NGO) to promote youth participation in decision making and peacebuilding in Armenia, supporting UN Security Resolution 2250 calling on governments to include youth participation in local, national and international institutions, in efforts to end conflict. A short film was produced to capture the project’s impact (available in Armenian with English subtitles).