UNODC “Youth for Social Harmony in Fergana Valley” Initiative Ensured Youth Participation in Public Life and Decision Making 

“Engagement of young people is incredibly important in a country like Uzbekistan, which has a large percentage of the population under the age of 30”, said Mr. Koen Marquering, UNODC International Manager of the Criminal Justice Programme in Central Asia. “If adolescents receive support to adopt a healthy lifestyle, develop various skills and positive attitudes and are actively involved in matters that concern and interest them, then they will be more likely to build sustained social connections, and positively influence and contribute to Uzbekistan’s stability and prosperity”.

To view and discuss the achievements of the “Youth for social harmony in Fergana Valley” project, UNODC and 30 representatives from youth organizations, along with UNDP, UNESCO, the Youth Affairs Agency and other national counterparts gathered in Tashkent on 14 November 2021.


According to Mrs. Doina Munteanu, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Uzbekistan, through this joint project, the United Nations “have made small but hopefully meaningful and sustainable contribution to transform the policy framework, to have a solid basis for legal framework, for youth engagement in a different level and enhance youth access to socio-economic opportunities for young women, young man, for girls, especially in the regions like Fergana Valley”.

“UNESCO contributed to the project in the areas of its mandate. In education, we see how better guide teachers and psychologists in schools to be able to approach youth and make sure that the development is done in proper way of today’s demand of society”, noted Mr. Alexandros Makarigakis, UNESCO Representative in Uzbekistan.

UNODC has been privileged to work with Uzbekistan’s youth as part of the joint UN Peacebuilding Fund initiative “Youth for social harmony in Fergana Valley” during the past two years which aimed at engaging young people, especially young women and girls, in public life and decision making.


The project worked to empower young people in the Fergana Valley as actors of positive change. UNODC contributed to this objective supporting various dialogue platforms and training opportunities for youth to facilitate youth employability and social participation.


With summer camps to foster youth leadership, hackathons to brainstorm on the use of new technologies to address social problems, “Voice of girls” dialogue platforms and Model United Nations competitions, UNODC piloted different ways for young people to meet, engage, express their opinion and come up with their own initiatives.


At a newly created Media Hub in Fergana city, UNODC conducted training on media literacy, journalism and practical video making and photography skills. An online youth information portal - is also in the making to be managed by the Youth Affairs Agency following the completion of the project.


In schools, UNODC rolled out sports-based life skills training, which helps young people build resilience to drugs and crime and facilitated teacher training to work with youth in new, interactive ways. UNODC introduced new educational tools in schools and universities to teach students to better understand and address problems that can undermine the rule of law and encourage them to actively engage in their communities.



“Another key objective of the initiative was to provide young women and men in the Fergana Valley with greater opportunities to learn about their legal and social rights. Whether it’s access to education, social services, personal identification and other documents, or property and land rights — it is important to work with youth to help them overcome civic issues they may face in their everyday life. For this purpose, the project trained young lawyers and law students and opened various legal clinics, most recently at the Namangan State University”, outlined Mr. Marquering.

UNODC also started a process of bringing police and local communities closer together by training over 100 police neighborhood police officers and youth inspectors on community policing principles and social partnerships for crime prevention.


For all inquiries, contact Vasilina Brazhko (Ms.)

Communication and PR Specialist at

UNODC in Central Asia

+996775987817 WhatsApp

Vasilina.brazhko [at]