Supporting the German minority

Project description

Title: Measures to support the German minority in Kazakhstan
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI); German Federal Office of Administration (BVA)
Country: Kazakhstan
Lead executing agency: German Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI)
Overall term: Since 1996

Kazakhstan © GIZ

Context

Since the early 1990s, around 2.1 million ethnic Germans and their families have relocated to Germany from the former Soviet Union. Today, the German minority in Kazakhstan numbers roughly 180,000, around half of whom live in rural areas with poor infrastructure and difficult economic conditions. The German Government is working hard to make amends for the consequences of the Second World War, and is making efforts to improve the livelihoods of the German minority in the post-Soviet states and to provide ethnic Germans with a brighter future.

Objective

The German minority represents its interests independently in its country of origin. It is developing its ethno-cultural identity and actively fulfils its role as a bridge between Germany and the country of origin.

Kazakhstan © GIZ

Approach

To achieve the programme objective, the public association of Germans of Kazakhstan AgVDK (Assoziation der gesellschaftlichen Vereinigungen der Deutschen Kasachstans), headquartered in the Deutsches Haus in Almaty, organises measures aimed at supporting the German minority. The main focus is on cultural and language activities, youth work, social projects and developing the self-organisation capacity of ethnic Germans living in Kazakhstan.

GIZ was responsible for implementing the project until 2011, when responsibility for carrying out the measures was gradually transferred to AgVDK.

The programme’s work is now being conducted by 20 ‘revival associations’ with four welfare centres and a nationwide network of over 50 meeting places. The German Social Fund also provides social assistance to individuals.

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, GIZ provides the umbrella association, AgVDK, with advice on managing projects in line with international standards, and is responsible for overseeing project finances and monitoring the project’s progress and results.

Results

Training measures and advisory services have enabled the umbrella association, AgVDK, as well as the regional structures of the German minority, to make the organisational changes and acquire the skills needed to plan, implement and manage support measures themselves.

A comprehensive range of language and training courses as well as extensive leisure activities for young people aim to provide a basis for allowing the ethnic minority to not only preserve its own identity, but also develop it further. These measures have been used to establish a close-knit network of youth clubs that are well-integrated in their respective communities. For the members of the ethnic minority, they make an important contribution at a social level and also to broader aspects of their lives.

Kazakhstan © GIZ

Joint cultural projects with other minorities and international exchange programmes are helping to boost the profile of the German minority in Kazakhstan while at the same time enabling ethnic Germans to act as a link between Kazakhstan and Germany. A special role here is attributed to leadership figures among the German minority. Individual support programmes provide them with assistance in their academic, cultural and social activities. In addition, several politicians with German roots, some of whom hold high-ranking positions, are also playing a key role in developing the German minority’s capacity for self-organisation.