The civil society sector in the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the strongest in Central Asia. Approximately 3,500 civil society and community-based organisations work in a range of areas, including professional development, health, environment, and education.
Civil society: The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) leverages the strengths of the global Civil Society Programme to enhance CSOs’ capacity to engage with government and donors, and promote the needs and interests of their constituents.
Local governance: collaboration with 36 aiyl okmotus, AKF has implemented projects on social cohesion, conflict mitigation and public service accountability.
Organisational development and capacity-building for CSOs
AKF has developed a collection of tools – from self-administered diagnostics to video-based trainings – to strengthen CSOs’ organisational capacity in critical areas, including fundraising, communications, and monitoring & evaluation.
Innovation for civic engagement
Quality service delivery in rural Kyrgyzstan is often impeded by lack of data and public input. As one of its innovative approaches to improve civic engagement, AKF is working with the Naryn Mayor’s office and a collection of CSOs to develop a GIS-based map of Naryn Town’s water and sanitation networks.
To establish a structured process for citizen engagement in the education sector, AKF will be supporting the development and strengthening of school Boards of Trustees as the platform through which citizens will engage in the effort to improve school governance and financial oversight. School Boards of Trustees are relatively new to the Kyrgyz Republic, therefore AKF will develop operational guidelines and a training and mentoring programme to enhance their functionality. The project will be piloted nation-wide in 359 schools.
The Kyrgyz law encourages civil society organisations (CSOs) to participate in village planning processes. To support this, the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme (MSDSP) is working in 21 sub-districts of Osh, Jalal-Abad, Batken and Naryn oblasts to improve the knowledge and skills of local CSOs and government officials.
This will help them collaborate more effectively and enable local CSOs to represent their constituents’ concerns more directly. Ultimately, MSDSP hopes that CSOs will be able to influence the allocation of resources to issues that directly concern local communities.
An external assessment conducted in 2012 showed that this approach has contributed to an increase in women’s participation and increased capacity of local communities to secure funding for local priorities. Participatory governance activities currently reach almost 300,000 people in Osh and Naryn and World Bank funding will allow MSDSP’s social cohesion work to reach an additional 125,000 people by 2017.