First results of the "Vote" Youth Lab competition

August 5, 2020

Elections are an important democratic institution that allows citizens to choose their representatives and run the state. Electoral irregularities can call into question the integrity of the electoral process, the credibility of the election results and, as a result, the legitimacy of the elected bodies. Bribing voters, which tends to be connected with violating voting secrecy, abuse of administrative power are the most common violations during elections in many countries. Kyrgyzstan has consistently made significant efforts to address these violations, in particular through recently adopted legislation establishing responsibility for such violations.

Statistics from previous elections showed that the majority of the population, and especially young people, were not aware of the changes in the electoral legislation. They also do not realise the importance of voting, which in turn provoked passivity or no participation at all in the elections. In total, about 42% of voters out of the total number of young people over 18 took part in the 2017 presidential elections. Moreover, there was an urgent need to obtain information in accessible language, which is disseminated through the most popular technologies among young people.

The “Vote / Shaila” competition was organized in the framework of cooperation between the Central Commission for Elections and Referenda of the Kyrgyz Republic and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) within the framework of the Programme for Support of the Electoral Process in the Kyrgyz Republic, with the support of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany to involve young people in informing voters about the electoral legislation and motivating them to actively participate in voting. 

The first stage of the competition was attended by 44 participants out of 200 applicants — citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic, aged 18 to 35 years. Selected by the commission, the participants took an active part in the work of the Youth Laboratory, which was held online and included practical classes on such topics as: voting legislation, design thinking from leading experts in these industries and workshops on SMM, mobile video shooting, moderation of meetings and graphic design from experienced specialists. Chairman of the Central Election Commission of the Kyrgyz Republic Nurzhan Shaildabekova has also taken an active part in the work of the online Youth Laboratory. She has answered all the participants' questions regarding the organization of the upcoming parliamentary elections to the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Chairwoman of the Central Election Commission of the KR Miss Shaildabekova N. discussing the organization of the upcoming parliamentary elections to the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic. Photo: Mahabat Murzakanova/UNDP Kyrgyzstan

Participants of the online training are currently working on improving the content of their projects and fine-tuning their creative products to cover one or more of the topics proposed by the organizers:

  • Why is it so important to vote in elections?

  • Why is it so important not to sell your vote?

  • What is an administrative power, why can’t it be used in elections?

  • Why is it so important to keep the secrecy of voting?

During the 10-day campaign from August 10 through August 20 the contestants will implement their media projects with elements of creativity aimed at increasing voter activity and fairness of the electoral process in social networks, in the places of their residence through various media channels.

The winners of the project will be selected by the jury at the second stage and 5 most successful projects will receive special prizes from the organizers on August 24 this year.

The organizers expect that the media products and other educational activities developed during the contest will serve to motivate voters to participate in voting, actively combat vote buying and putting pressure on voters, as well as to actively participate in the elections in 2020 and 2021.

The dates of the event are July-October 2020, some of the materials may also be used to inform voters during the local elections in 2021.

All contest events are held online.

More information as well as all details about the competition can be found out:

  • on the website and social media pages of the United Nations Development Programme;

  • by emailing 

The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the German Government, the United Nations, the United Nations Development Programme, its programmes/projects or Governments. The designations employed do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever concerning the legal status of any country, territory or area, or its frontiers or boundaries.