UNODC Fosters Critical Thinking and Civic Engagement among Youth in the Fergana Valley as part of joint UN Peacebuilding Initiative in Uzbekistan 

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) continues to work actively with young people in the Fergana Valley in Uzbekistan to equip them with knowledge and skills to constructively participate in community life and act as agents of change. One recent initiative engages secondary school students (aged 13 to 18) in understanding the meaning and impact of human trafficking. 


Together with UNODC we are working to pilot new teaching methods in our schools to develop critical thinking skills and encourage our students to become engaged world citizens who are active, compassionate and lifelong learners,”, says Ms. Marina Nazarova, Head of Department at the Ministry of Public Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan. 

In January 2021, UNODC partnered with the Ministry of Public Education to bring together a group of 60 teachers, school principals and other educational professionals to discuss principles of global citizenship and share interactive training tools to instill in learners the values, attitudes and behaviours that foster creativity, innovation and commitment to peace, human rights and sustainable development. 


According to Mr. Koen Marquering, Manager of UNODC’s Criminal Justice Program in Central Asia: Crime, justice and the rule of law are part of our lives and affect us on a daily basis. People, and especially youth, are ever more concerned about these issues. What we want to do is help teachers to educate on these topics and stimulate critical thinking, for example on human trafficking as in this pilot. Ultimately, the idea is to place young people at the centre of preventive practices and give them the skills necessary for positive and active civic engagement.”

Following the training, which among other tools made available an animated video on human trafficking, the Ministry of Public Education has now launched a campaign to roll out student discussions and raise young people’s awareness of human trafficking and the vulnerabilities and risks linked to it. The campaign is expected to reach some 7,000 students in 34 schools of Namangan and Fergana. 

The initiative will run until May 2021 within the framework of the joint UNODC, UNDP, UNESCO project “Youth for Social Harmony in the Fergana Valley”. This project is financially supported by the UN Peacebuilding Fund and implemented in partnership with the Youth Affairs Agency, the Ministry of Public Education, the General Prosecutor’s Office and other national partners.  

 Article in Russian language 


For more information, kindly contact (Ms.) Vasilina Brazhko

Communication and PR Specialist,

UNODC in Central Asia at:

 +996775987817 WhatsApp or by e-mail:

vasilina.brazhko [at]