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Youth Unite to Defy Stereotypes

I want to be the part of the changes aimed to improve and revitalize the reality around us. For me, breaking stereotypes means creating an equal, balanced and progressive future”, says Teo Sadradze from Guria.

Teo is the participant of the training of trainers organized by the UNFPA Georgia Country Office on March 26-29 in Borjomi, which brought together the youth who believe that by accumulating necessary knowledge and competence, and by encouraging small group initiatives around them, they can change gender-based social norms.

Teo thinks that “the youth are members of the public who possess great power and potential” and that “their vision, aspiration and role in the process of social changes are crucial”.

Teo Sadradze, Guria. Photo: Gela Bedianashvili/ UNFPA Georgia

“It is therefore important that they have necessary leverages, skills, information, knowledge and enthusiasm to take their lead in making changes,” she says, adding that “it is the equal rights and opportunities that break the barriers created by stereotypes and harmful gender norms.” This, in turn, “is essential for the formation of a harmonious, diverse and strong society.”

Youth development and engagement are important issues on the SDG Agenda for 2030. It is essential that the youth are fully engaged in the formation of a better society where they are both beneficiaries and partners at the same time.

Ana Egutidze, another training participant from Imereti, is making her contribution to “youth development and implementation of their initiatives aimed at changing the harmful gender norms at the local level.“ According to her, “every step taken by the young people towards making a social change further enhances the creation of an equitable environment equipped with equal opportunities.”

I believe that defying the gender stereotypes contributes to the establishment of fair, equal and healthy attitudes within the society. Our main goal is to support the self-accomplishment of each individual as much as possible, for which it is absolutely important to ensure equal opportunities,” says Ana.

She further notes that “youth represent the force that will change an unequal and stereotypical reality, and this project will drive strong social change at the local level.”

Ana Egutidze, Imereti. Photo: Gela Bedianashvili/ UNFPA Georgia

Shota Kvaratskhelia - another participant of the same training from Imereti - often faces challenges “because of gender stereotypes and prejudices which are deep-rooted in the society.” As Shota points out, it was “the search for answers and thinking about these challenges” that led him to “where we try to improve our environment together.”

For me, to unroot stereotypes means to walk out of the room, out of the frames of firmly established prejudices, beyond which there is a new space with the new society”, says Shota.

He also believes that “the existence of equal opportunities creates a reality where people, regardless of gender, have equal rights and opportunities to unlock their potential as much as possible, to find themselves and make a valuable contribution to public welfare.” Shota notes as well that “youth is one of the key links within the society, and their role is pivotal in the process of social changes.”

UNFPA has been working with adolescents and youth for many years, and this experience clearly shows that in the long-term process of gender transformation, the social norms can be changed through direct participation of the youth. 

Investing in the youth is one of the wisest strategies for the country, because they as future leaders, educators and parents, can break the cycle of gender inequality, strengthen the social structures and create a sustainable and harmonious future. Our team, together with partner organizations, is always ready to empower young people so that they are able to make informed decisions and advocate for their own and the community’s needs,” says Lela Bakradze, Head of the UNFPA Georgia Country Office.

Working both with and for adolescents and the youth, UNFPA does not spare efforts to create the world where the potential of every young person is fully unlocked, and this can be achieved through the engagement and empowerment of the youth, by recognizing their role as the agents of change. 

Shota Kvaratskhelia, Imereti. Photo: Gela Bedianashvili/ UNFPA Georgia

For this purpose, the initiative “Youth for Social Change” is being implemented in the regions of Imereti and Guria, with the training of trainers carried out at its first. The initiative is the part of the “EU 4 Gender Equality: Together against gender stereotypes and gender-based violence" programme, funded by the European Union, implemented jointly by UN Women and UNFPA.

The training of trainers aims at supporting the youth to strengthen and reinforce the necessary knowledge and competencies so that they can share this knowledge with other young people and encourage small group initiatives at the local level, for changing the gender-based social norms.