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 Press release - Supporting Youth Voting Activities (AAYA)

 Press release date: 30.06.2005



Information on the Azerbaijani-American Youth Social Association project titled "Supporting Youth Voting Activities" that is funding by the Eurasia Foundation through USAID and Royal Norwegian Embassy in Baku

As we know, fair elections as the main feature of democratic society became one of the prerequisites of the new democratic system. Many NGOs and different Organizations have paid great efforts to achieve fair elections in their countries. Experience shows that successful democratic elections are possible only by ensuring the active participation of voters in the election process. As 63 % of Azerbaijani populations are the young people, their active participation in the elections plays a decisive role in the successful of the election process. But unfortunately in the rural parts of Azerbaijan, participation of youth in the election process is not active. As an NGO successfully implemented the projects on stimulation voter participation in rural parts of Azerbaijan, AAYSA started the implementation of the project aimed at promoting more active participation of Azerbaijani youth in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The main goal of the project is to elaborate a strategy in the field of youth participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections, increasing civil activity of youth and increasing youth responsibility and informed participation in democratization process. To achieve these will be organized a local trainings for the young people, especially for the local school-junior pupils and first year University students who will have a first voting experience in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Meetings and trainings will be held in the rural parts of Azerbaijan, in Fizuli, Barda, Qusar, Lankaran, Zaqatala and Agstafa districts in 2 days and will involve 20 young people and youth representatives of local refugee and IDP communities from each noted region.

During the trainings the young participants will be educated on the topics such as: role and importance of election in strengthening the democracy and civil society, principles of election and rights of citizens, election process, opportunities of society and refugee-IDP youth on observing and controlling the election process, the problem of passiveness of refugee-IDP young voters in Azerbaijan and role of youth from these categories in this, legislative election and comments on rules of parliamentary elections.

After the trainings will be organized Town Hall meetings among the young training participants from noted target group and parliament members. During these Town Hall meetings will be conversation and debates on the importance of parliament structure and its activity in democratic society. Town Hall meetings will help the youth to discuss and ask their questions from parliament members on interested topic according to them and to deliver to parliamentarians the local problems of IDP and refugee youth communities in project implemented rural parts of Azerbaijan. Within the project also are planning the publishing of booklets and brochures on voter education.

At the end of August is planning the organizing summer camp in Shaki city where will be involved half of the training participants from each region. Those defined 10 youth participants from each noted target group and region of Azerbaijan will be selected according to their application forms and motivation letters. The participants of summer camp will be generally 60 better equipped and educated young people and refugee-IDP youth on the project topic from noted regions. Summer camp will be 3 days and during the camp the selected participants will be involved in building their Youth Parliament by practical actions and work. During the summer camp will be used a special voting modules which will create a condition for the young people and refugee-IDP youth to feel themselves as the active participants of political process during the pre- parliamentary election in the country and establish their own Youth Parliament for discussing and debating each other on the issues around the voting process for parliamentarians. Through the Youth Parliament the young participants of Summer Camp from different parts of Azerbaijan will be able to gather and work together by lobbing interest of their local youth communities through stimulating their active participation in the upcoming parliament elections by preparing alternative suggestions, legislation materials to the Parliament of Azerbaijan Republic.

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