UNDP and Youth Association for Habitat
The Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21, established in mid-1990s with the vision of "We are not only leaders of tomorrow but partners of today", currently implements four youth projects in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Turkey.
New Horizons - Its mission is to develop partnerships among youth for sustainable development and livable environment, to enable youth to establish partnerships with the governments, local authorities and the private sector and to follow up and increase the participation of youth in the international youth related events. One of the first activities of the association was to execute the youth component of the Turkey Local Agenda 21 Program, in partnership with International Union of Local Authorities and United Nations
Development Programme. The association's success in executing activities geared towards establishment of local youth councils and youth centers in 73 provinces in Turkey, made it one of the most important partners of youth projects of both the UNDP and the European Commission. Sezai Hazir, President and Projects General Coordinator of the Association spoke to New Horizons about the projects they are implementing:
New Horizons: Could you tell us more about the Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21?
Sezai Hazir: The Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21 started its activities to be the voice of the youth during the Habitat II Summit held in Istanbul in 1996. It executes youth development projects in order for the youth to tackle their problems and to produce and implement solutions to overcome the problems.
NH: Which projects are you currently implementing?
SH: As of now, we are carrying out 8 programmes. We are in partnership with the UNDP in four of those programmes. As The Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21, we represent Turkey in the United Nations' youth forums as well as the European Union and the European Council.
NH: Could you tell us briefly the Turkey Local Agenda 21 Programme that the association firstly partook?
SH: Turkey Local Agenda 21 Programme was launched in 1997 and will last until 2008. The Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21 coordinates the youth activities in the context of the programme. Our objective is to establish youth centres in all provinces in Turkey. We set up Local Youth Councils in 73 provinces and Youth Centres in 35 provinces up to date. The Local Councils met in 2003 on a national level and founded the Local Agenda 21 National Youth Parliament. Article 76 of Law on Local Administrations dictates that setting up of Provincial Councils is mandatory. A new regulation was prepared as well to construct Women's and Youth Councils within the Provincial Councils.
NH: What are the other projects you implement jointly with the UNDP?
SH: The first is entitled "Life+" Youth Fund Programme. It will be implemented from 2005-2010. Its objective is to enable young people assume social responsibility for finding solutions regarding their local problems, provide an opportunity for them to gain experience in project preparation and management and to activate them in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). To this end, we set up a fund totalling 1.5 million dollars entitled "Life+ Fund" jointly with Coca-Cola, State Planning Organisation and the UNDP. This is the longest-standing and largest youth fund in the world. It is at the same time a perfect example for other countries in the implementation of the MDGs. The objective of the fund is also to act as an academy because we would like to train 10,000 young people in 5 years in project writing and management and in establishing a communication network amongst themselves. 10 projects that wanted to benefit from the fund were selected among several project applications in 2005 and a 100,000-dollar grant was allocated for their implementation. The second phase of project applications started on 6 December 2005. Youth groups may submit their applications to the Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21 latest by 24 March 2006.
The second project we are implementing in partnership with UNDP, Microsoft and State planning Organisation presently is entitled "Young trainers teach their peers basic computer skills". It was launched in 2005 and will be completed in 2007. It has a budget of 100,000 dollars and aims to provide training for young people who are computer illiterate and also to initially train computer-literate young people to later provide training for their peers. In the first phase of the project 40 volunteering young people received their trainers' certificates and taught basic computer skills to 1,600 young trainees in 20 provinces. The project will last 3 years and aims to become a national project that would enable 100,000 young people to receive basic computer skills training.
Another project we carry out jointly with the UNDP is "South-eastern Anatolia Social Development Programme for Youth". It will be implemented from 2001-2007, and our other partners are GAP RDA and the local governors of 9 provinces. Within the framework of the project, whose budget totals 600,000 dollars, Youth and Culture centres have been opened in 8 provinces; vocational training programmes have been launched and around 100 young people have been employed. The 'National Apprenticeship Programme', which is currently being executed in the context of the UNDP's GAP project, is also being implemented within the framework of this project. National Apprenticeship Programme provides training opportunities for the needy youth in different workplaces and also facilitates their employment in close cooperation with the local chambers of commerce.
The fourth project, which was launched in 2006 jointly with the UNDP and the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), is "Young Entrepreneurs Council". In the context of this long-term programme, a "Young Entrepreneurs Council" was established within TOBB. The council focuses on youth entrepreneur training and aims to support successful entrepreneurship projects, to provide training opportunities in TOBB's national and overseas offices and establish Entrepreneurship Support Centres in all the chambers of commerce operating within TOBB.
NH: What are the remaining three projects the association is presently implementing?
SH: The first is "Sexual Health and Peer Training Programme" that we execute jointly with the Turkish Family Health and Planning Foundation. The European Commission supports this programme and will be implemented from 2005-2007. A peer training group is being set up within the framework of the project and gives sexual and reproductive health training to young people in Adana, Canakkale, Diyarbakir and Yalova. Each training session lasts four days.
Our second project, which started in 2006 and is expected to last seven months, is entitled "Overcoming Prejudices among Young People and Developing a European Awareness Programme". We are carrying out this programme jointly with the Beyoglu Municipality in Istanbul, Athens Municipality and the National Youth Council of Greece. Turkish and Greek youth will meet in Turkey in the context of this programme, participate in workshops, discuss the ways of overcoming prejudices between them and the meaning of "European".
And our last project, which we launched in 2006 and will be permanent, is the "European Youth Card", in short "Euro<26". The Euro<26 is available to all young people aged under 26 and provides discount opportunities. The card is currently issued in 36 European countries, is supported by 400,000 European firms and 8 million young people benefit from it. It is officially recognised by the European Council and the European Commission.
Its objective is to establish a fund from the youth to the youth. It will be sold for 15 YTL via the National Youth Parliaments in all the Turkish provinces, and the income obtained from the sales will be used in founding Youth and Culture Houses in the 81 provinces of Turkey. The card owner gets a list of companies operating in several sectors such as transportation, culture, entertainment, shops, travel and services that offer advantages and discounts. Apart from Turkey, Euro<26 can be used in 36 European countries as well.