ALMATY -- Kazakhstan's youth employment project is set to create 18,000 new summer jobs this year for the nation's young citizens, according to the Ministry of Religious and Civil Society Affairs.
The Zhasyl El (Green Country) project has been running since 2005 and is Kazakhstan's biggest social project funded by the government. As part of the effort, youth are hired during the summer to help plant trees and create green spaces throughout the country.
The project provides opportunities for youth to use their spare time constructively in the summer, Askhat Oralov, director of the ministry's Youth Policy Department, told Caravanserai.
The project allows them to be temporarily hired by both government agencies and private firms, he said.
"They will be involved in planting greenery and landscaping various [parks and gardens and other public spaces]," Oralov said, adding that the project is designed to cover the entire country. Any high school or college student, as well as unemployed youth and young rural dwellers, may participate in the programme.
The government has allocated 637 million KZT (more than $1.9 million) to pay the project participants about 35,000 KZT (almost $108) each month, supplementing their salaries from employers during the summer.
Preventing youth radicalisation
The success of the project could manifest itself in two ways, said Anna Gusarova, director of the Almaty-based Central Asia Institute for Strategic Studies.
The first is the long-term provision of summer jobs with competitive wages for youth, she said. The second is a reduction in the overall level of radicalisation among youth.
"It is important to understand that job placement [alone] will not solve radicalisation," she told Caravanserai.
"Along with employment, other measures are essential in education, culture, science, music and athletics; in other words, it is necessary to establish ties at the community level to ensure participation in political life," she said.