Fund for development projects with civil society partners, especially in structurally disadvantaged regions

Project description

Title: Fund for development projects with civil society partners, especially in structurally disadvantaged regions
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Kyrgyzstan
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Economy (MoE)
Overall term: 2012 to 2016

Context
Kyrgyzstan is the only country in Central Asia to have parliamentary democracy enshrined in its constitution. While a relatively plural and open civil society has emerged in both rural and urban regions, the nation is still characterised by a high degree of political and social instability. Consequently, efforts to resolve practical issues in local communities and initiatives aimed at preventing local conflict are of paramount importance. However, the institutions of local self-government need to be strengthened. Tasks and responsibilities have been increasingly devolved to municipal authorities as part of the decentralisation process, but this has not been accompanied by the transfer of the necessary human, specialist and financial resources.

Objective
Civil society and public sector actors assume full responsibility for implementing projects designed to reduce conflict and promote economic activity, especially in disadvantaged rural areas of Issyk-Kul, Naryn and Zhalalabat Provinces.

Approach
The project encompasses two areas of activity. Measures in the first area are designed to strengthen civil society actors. Support is provided to the self-organisation structures of social groups as well as to registered non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The project promotes these actors in a number of roles: as watchdogs offering constructive criticism to the state and the private sector, as providers of support and advice to specific population groups, as the driving force in the development of a democratic culture and in the recognition of diversity and tolerance in society, as initiators of societal discourse and change, and as advocates who pool societal interests and represent them in political processes.

In the second area of activity, the project works at the interface between state and civil society to improve relationships between the two at local level. The focus here is on promoting transparency and the provision of information by public administrations, encouraging active cooperation between governmental and non-governmental actors, and fostering open dialogue and exchange between local self-government and civil society.

Results
The project has carried out measures focused on the joint implementation of projects by actors from civil society and local self-government, the development of networking organisations, and the improvement of access to information. This has brought about significant improvements in relationships between civil society and local self-governing authorities. A regional network of NGO experts has also been established to strengthen networking and cooperation between NGOs. For its activities, the project drew on the network's expertise to develop teaching concepts and materials, conduct pilot training courses and train instructors, who are already delivering courses regionally.

Contact

Jonathon Hornbrook
jonathon.hornbrook@giz.de