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Cameras in hand:
transformation and empowerment of
Kyrgyzstani girls and boys

GPPAC together with Foundation for Tolerance International (FTI), GPPAC regional secretariat based in Kyrgyzstan have been awarded a grant from the UN Peacebuilding Fund on youth empowerment. The project will start on 1st January 2018 for a period of 18 month. GPPAC member Middle East Nonviolence and Democracy will collaborate with FTI and GPPAC to provide training on the innovative methodology of participatory videos, which it successfully used in Palestine (see an example below).

The project will focus on empowering Kyrgyzstani youth from different ethnic, gender and social backgrounds in the regions of Osh, Jalal-Abad, Chui and Batken to have a voice heard in local, national and international policy levels and to act as agents of change within their communities to foster understanding about the ‘other' and bring new insights to gender roles, norms and issues. To the reach these objectives and results, the participatory video (PV) methodology will be the foundation of the project. It will involve small groups of diverse preselected students that will steer a process of video production and screening sessions to capture the reaction of their communities/ other communities and youth from other regions. This process can be very empowering as it requires youth to reach decisions (on the film topics and approach) through democratic discussions within a strong group dynamic where they have built up trust and taken turns in a variety of different roles (the one who acts, or films or edits etc.), all within a relatively strict structure that obliges them also to listen and become more aware of others while building their own self-awareness. This methodology can be a highly effective tool to bridge social, gender and ethnic divides and to engage and mobilise marginalised people. It also provides for a space to reflect on gender stereotypes and issues affecting women in Kyrgyzstan (early marriage, bride abduction etc.). The participative part of the methodology requires students to show their films to elicit and incorporate feedback by engaging with key stakeholders thereby creating a space for dialogue for them. Key stakeholders are 1) their peers 2) their community 3) local leaders and decision makers. This will contribute to fostering mutual understanding by communicating across divides, thus bringing competing narratives together into a shared story. Participatory videos can help communities understand their social reality and gain new insights, particularly on ‘the other' and on gender. Local communities and politicians will vote on the films they can relate to the most. FTI and GPPAC will disseminate the selected films during policy events at the local (schools and communities), national (policy makers in Bishkek linked to youth policy) and international level (UNSCR 1325 and/or UNSCR 2250 and sharing lessons learnt with PBF and other UN actors). These engagements have for objective for youth to feel included and heard in policymaking processes that affect them.
Interest in this year's Gender Youth Promotion Initiative (GYPI) fund was especially high and only the strongest 17 UN and CSO projects out of 245 applications were selected, allocating a total of $27,5 million to innovative gender-responsive and youth-inclusive peacebuilding projects in 13 countries. Of this, $16 million is going to gender projects and $11 million to youth projects. Read more about this year's GYPI here.

Participatory video in Palestine: Unhappy Birthday

This video was produced through a project of GPPAC member
Middle East Nonviolence and Democracy (MEND)