Why is youth life developing slowly in Artsakh?
“Stepanakertization”-this is how the youth of Artsakh describe one of their problems.
Eritasard.am tried to find out the level of their involvement in the state and public sectors and listen to their concerns about youth life in Artsakh. “Overall, the level of involvement is quite low in Artsakh, compared to the level of involvement in the Republic of Armenia, and this refers to involvement in the state and public sectors. There are both subjective and objective reasons for that. The state system is not structured in a way to ensure or encourage youth activism,” assistant to the Prime Minister of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, President of “Kamq” (Will) NGO, Artak Beglaryan mentions. There are few youth organizations that are active in the public sector. New organizations are emerging, but there is a problem with the directors who often lack skills in establishing and directing a non-governmental organization, implementing programs, establishing new contacts and more. To provide support, the RA Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs organized the program called “Methodical Support to the NKR”, but there were roughly 15 young participants. However, there are many more organizations like this. The participants hope that more similar programs will help create a team of trainers to train the local youth in Artsakh. On the other hand, lack of funding also stands in the way of the development of the public sector and it is exactly the reason why most non-governmental organizations aren’t always active. They don’t have offices and are only active when there is any event that they can participate in. Artak Beglaryan says the reason for this is that organizations don’t stay active too long when there is no funding. The government only provides 4 million drams to NGOs a year. “Let’s agree that that is not enough. There are many NGOs in Armenia that spend that much money on only one program,” Artak says, adding that that sum is distributed among nearly 15 NGOs. The organizations submit their projects whenever contests are declared by the NKR Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs and receive adequate funding. The Prime Minister’s assistant assures that youth involvement in the state sector isn’t in a better situation than involvement in the public sector. “Youth don’t form a majority within state structures, and that depends on the director’s position and attitude. There is no ranking system to select the youth, help them develop and send them to trainings, and this is a big problem.” Artsakh also faces the problem of centralization in one city. “Stepanakertization” creates a serious problem for NGOs to become established and develop in the other regions of Artsakh and help each other grow. “It’s quite difficult to bring the youth together in our region. They think differently. One time we declared a contest of traditional games and when we were supposed to dance a national dance at the end, one of the boys told us that he would be embarrassed upon returning to the city. This goes to show that we have to change the attitude,” representative of the Center for Culture and Youth in Martuni, Elina Musayelyan says. The Ministry of Culture and Youth Affairs was moved to Shushi last year, and this instills hope that the youth here will at least be a little more active. Youth activism is also due to access to information. Young people don’t have access to information about youth events and programs, and even though all regions of Artsakh have access to the Internet, there is no full access. The situation is better in the cities and central areas of the regions than in certain communities where there is no Internet connection at all. “The youth of Stepanakert, Shushi or Kashatagh are more or less involved in social life, but there is a serious problem with employment in other regions. It would be nice to see cultural festivals or seminars devoted to education, or simply seminars for the youth to communicate with each other,” representative of the Department for Youth Affairs at the NKR Ministry of Culture and Youth Affairs, Armine Hayrapetyan says. The issue of youth employment is also due to the particularities of the regions. Kashatagh, with a population consisting mainly of youth, has almost solved the issue of employment, unlike other regions where the residents are mainly involved in farming. “Here we have people who have resettled and have professions that are in demand in the territory. There are educators, farmers, doctors and people with other professions and already have jobs when they come,” leading expert of the Department for Culture and Youth of the region, Anahit Khudoyan says. Tsovinar Karapetyan