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   The UN Link / The United Nations System in Kyrgyzstan
# 139
July 09, 2001

In this issue:


  • Visit of Mr. Kalman Mizsei, UNDP Assistant Administrator and RBEC Director to Kyrgyzstan
  • A Workshop on Governance for Poverty Alleviation


  • UNDP-Decentralization Programme expands into additional three pilot provinces


  • A Master Class for the young journalists “Information Support for Development Programs”


  • Update on Counterpart Consortium/USAID/UN/EU-Supported NGO activities


  • IRIN Focus on street children in Bishkek


Mr. Kalman Mizsei, UNDP Assistant Administrator and RBEC Director visited Kyrgyzstan on 1–4 July 2001 with an aim to see UNDP activities in the country firsthand and participating in the Democratic Governance Workshop held 4-6 July. During his mission to Kyrgyzstan, Mr. Kalman Mizsei visited Decentralization and Preventive Development project sites based in Osh and Batken and UNHCR Osh sub-office. In Osh and Batken, Mr. Mizsei talked to beneficiaries of UNDP programmes in Mady, Uch-Korgon and Halmion villages and met with the Governor of Osh province, Mr. Naken Kasiev, and UN Regional Coordinator in Southern Kyrgyzstan, Mr. Bruno De Cordier. On 3 July, the Regional Director had a fruitful meeting with President Akayev who highly praised UNDP presence in the country and talked about an expansion of the Poverty Alleviation programme in Kyrgyzstan. Mr. Mizsei noted the successful cooperation of the government with UNDP in the country and the need for attracting more donors. Later on Mr. Mizsei met with major international donors at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. They discussed such general topics as the current economic and political situation in the country and the need for coordination among donors. The next day Mr. Mizsei opened the Democratic Governance Workshop in Issyk Kul and left Kyrgyzstan for Kazakhstan.

The Workshop on Governance for Poverty Alleviationwas held on 4-6 July 2001 at Issyk Kul. Its title was “The New UNDP Calling to Promote Democratic Governance for Greater Effectiveness on Poverty Reduction Policies in the Kyrgyz Republic.” Government representatives including Mr. Amanbek Karypkulov, Chief of Staff of the President’s Office, Mr. Tilekbek Meimanaliev, Minister of Health, Ms. Roza Aknazarova, Minister of Labour and Social Protection, Mr. Tolobek Omuraliev, Minister of Regional Development, UNDP officials, program and project staff, representatives of the donor community and Kyrgyz NGOs actively participated in the Workshop.

The re-programming of UNDP assistance to the country, the new directions of UNDP activities and the ways of cooperation with the Government require common understanding and clarity on the issues of what Democratic Governance is. In this connection UNDP Kyrgyzstan office continued the process of consultations and dialogue with national counterparts through a series of interviews with possible partners, organizing the survey among the UNDP beneficiaries. Such a consultative process was logically finalized by conducting the Governance Workshop with participation of national stakeholders. The objective of the Governance workshop was to reach common understanding and clarity on the issues of Democratic Governance with a special emphasis on the role of Governance in the Poverty Alleviation efforts.

Mr. Kalman Miszei, UNDP Assistant Administrator and RBEC Director said in his welcoming speech that “Democratic Governance has become one of the six major areas in which UNDP is working all over the world. It goes hand in hand with another global priority of ours, Poverty Reduction. In fact, these two directions are inseparable. Eliminating poverty and meeting the Millennium Summit goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015 is the core of UNDP’s mission.” Mr. Ercan Murat, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator noted in his address the following: “It is great a pleasure to be joining you today. I know how busy you are. Therefore, I am particularly happy you have gathered here together to discuss how UNDP can better support Kyrgyzstan in its efforts to built democratic society and fight poverty at this new and I would say critical moment of development, after ten years of independence.”

“What is Governance and when it is described as Democratic” was the theme for the first session of the Workshop which was followed by discussions on roles of governance at the central and local levels, decentralization and self-governance. The same day the roles to govern democratically were discussed, including the view on who are the actors, what are their roles and empowerment status and how these actors interact. The presentations of the roles of the state, social sector ministries, civil society, private sector and mass media concluded the session, devoted to consensus on key principles and features of democratic governance. These included presentation on what are the features of Democratic Governance and what principles guarantee democratic system of governance done by Mr. David Coombes, UNDP Chief Technical Advisor and the brainstorming session “Definition of Democratic Governance applicable for Kyrgyzstan for the next 10-15 years: Substance, Actors, Principles and Features”, facilitated by Mr. Yuri Misnikov, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative.

Day two was divided into following sessions:

  • Problem Analysis, linkages between Governance and Poverty, including:
    • Description of the current poverty status, existing problems and poverty reduction scenarios in Kyrgyzstan;
    • Central level dimension and Pro-poor policies;
    • Community level and Pro-poor policies and practices;
    • Linkages between Local and Central governments in poverty reduction efforts
    • People’s views on effectiveness of Poverty Alleviation to Governance and finalized by the brainstorming session on relationships between and mutual interdependence of Democratic Governance and effective Poverty Reduction
  • New philosophy of a new UNDP programme in the area of Governance where all participants were divided into three groups to discuss of the framework and logic of there UNDP programs: Political and Administrative Governance, Local Governance and Social Governance. The day was concluded by the presentations of the group’ leaders and discussions on ways, forms and directions of cooperation between UNDP and National counterparts, role of three Programmes in implementing CDF and National Strategy of Poverty Reduction targets and enhancing partnerships with other donors in promoting democratic governance in Kyrgyzstan and halving the poverty level.

The third day of the Workshop started with a presentation on the functional review as an aid to structural reform of public administration done by Mr. Tony Verheijen on behalf of RBEC Bratislava. Then members of the Working Group created in the framework of the UNDP Public Administration Reforms project made presentations on the functional analysis done in the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and Culture, and a TACIS representative reported on functional analysis in the Ministry of Agriculture.

During the workshop the government representatives, national stakeholders and international counterparts had a possibility to learn the new UNDP Programme and the process of its implementation to better understand UNDP role in the overall development cooperation activities. After the workshop the UNDP and the Government are to sign the new Programme Area and Support Documents.

Contact: Ms. Sagipa Jusaeva, UNDP Assistant Resident Representative, 160 Chuy prospect, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, tel.: 61 12 13, fax: 61 12 17, e-mail:


UNDP-Decentralization Programme expands into additional three pilot provinces. Since 1998, the UNDP-Decentralization Programme has been implementing programme activities in three pilot provinces of the country where the local authorities and community members of selected pilot districts and village municipalities have benefited from programme activities. Due to the success of programme activities, as evidenced by the strong linkages established between local government bodies and their constituents and the community development initiatives collaboratively realized by them, the government officials and local people from other non-pilot areas of the country began to request expansion of the programme into their areas. Bearing in mind that replication of the programme’s activities in the remaining three regions of the country was an essential step towards ensuring creation of a critical mass to make impact of the program at the policy level, an additional three pilot districts of the country's remaining regions were added to the programme. In Chui, Alamudun district was chosen with Baitik Aiyl Okmotu (municipality) and Vasilevka Aiyl okmotu selected as pilot areas. Likewise, in the region of Issyk-kul, Tooguz-Bulak and Kuturgu Aiyl Okmotus of Tyup district were selected while in Naryn oblast Cholpon and Kara-suu Aiyl Okmotu of Kochkor district were identified as new pilot regions. After a competitive recruiting process, a total of nine National United Nations Volunteers were recruited to work in the new areas as programme experience has proven the effectiveness of utilizing national volunteers at the grass-roots level. The newly hired NUNVs went through an extensive training in Bishkek before traveling the regions to view first-hand the work that is being carried out in the pilot areas and learn from the successes achieved to-date. Returning from their visits optimistic and enthusiastic to undertake their assignments, the NUNVs have departed to their assigned work areas where they are currently working in collaboration with local government bodies and community members to further extend the successes of the Decentralization Programme.


A Master Class for the young journalists “Information Support for Development Programs” was conducted on 3-8 July in the History Museum in Bishkek within the framework of the “Advocacy for Human Development” component of the UNDP Social Governance Program. The objectives of the Master Class were as follows:

  • To facilitate further development of the information and communication space through the training of young journalists;
  • To turn the interest of graduating journalism students and young professionals to the area of Human Development and to provide them with special tools on how to reflect HD in printed and electronic mass media;
  • Teaching special notions and approaches to help journalists to become more analytically thinking and use appropriate instruments in the daily process – first and foremost, the ideas and approaches close linked with HD;
  • To facilitate a dialogue on Human Development in local mass media.

Participants of the Master Class were 22 young journalists, several of whom are graduates from journalism schools in Kyrgyz Universities, but most of them combine their study with professional activity in Kyrgyz media. In order to choose a target audience for the Master Class the contest named “Kyrgyzstan. Images of Future: Social Design and Cultural Policy” was held. This approach has not only allowed selecting the right participants, but will also help to define the range of issues for future programs on mass media. During the Master Class all participants were divided into five groups: printed, two TV, radio and photo reporters who were provided with approaches in Information Support for Development Programs. Several UNDP programs were presented for the audience as the best examples in the area of Human Development: Participatory Poverty Alleviation program, Support to Women Leaders, Support to Social NGOs, Support to Small and Medium Business and Human Development Network ( created in the framework of Advocacy for Human Development component. Highly professional journalists than shared their experience on how to find information on HD, analyze HD processes in the country and how to prepare materials for papers, TV and radio channels making it most understandable and clear for general public. The Center for Human Development Studies created under the auspices of the Kyrgyz Russian Slavonic University in mid-2000 was chosen to conduct and facilitate the Master Class for young journalists. The Center is a permanent counterpart of UNDP in Kyrgyzstan, having conducted a Seminar on Human Development for journalists in October 2000, a National Round Table on Preventive Development in February 2001, drafted a Report “Poverty Alleviation and Issues of Governance Improvement” in May 2001 and won the tender to prepare the National Human Development Reports in 2000-2001.

Contact: Ms. Olga Grebennikova, UNDP Public Affairs Officer. Tel.: +996 (312) 61-12-13 or direct line 61-12-11 (180 extension). Fax: +996 (312) 61-12-17. Email:


Update on Counterpart Consortium/USAID/UN/EU-Supported NGO activities – A three-day training in Project Design was held on July 4-6, 2001 in Osh by the Osh Civil Society Support Center (CSSC). 28 NGO and CBO, target communities, representatives of governmental agencies participated in the workshop. The purpose of this training was to teach developing logical, reasonable and justifiable project proposals that meet the requirements of Counterpart and other donors to receive funding and resources for a project. Some other issues were emphasized at the workshop such as:

  • information contained in applications received from donor organizations
  • methods of data collection
  • problem statement
  • setting project goals and objectives
  • drafting a project implementation plan
  • developing a project work plan and evaluating project resources
  • developing and justifying the project budget
  • monitoring and evaluating the project

As a result of the training the participants acquired good skills in filing out community-grant applications. The workshop was held as a part of the training program of Counterpart Consortium within “The Program of Civil Society and NGO Development in the Central Asia Region” implemented through funding of USAID, UNHCR, EU and based on an agreement with the Soros Foundation in Kyrgyzstan.

The Bishkek CSSC in collaboration with the International Center InterBilim and the Center of Volunteer Initiatives conducted the training in Volunteer Management. The training was held on July 2-3, 2001. It was attended by 14 representatives of the NGO community. This kind of training was held in Bishkek for the first time. The participants acquired knowledge and tools on managing volunteers in non-profit organizations such as recruitment, job responsibilities and schedule of work. The purpose of training is to change the awareness of non-profit organizations about the role of volunteers in the NGO sector. The center of Volunteers Initiatives shared the experience with attendees.

22 representatives of the NGO community from Jalal-Abad participated in training on NGO Management that was initiated by the CSSC of the Jalal-Abad region. It was held on July 2-3, 2001. This two-day training provides the participants with a better understanding in NGO management in all aspects such as:

  • a holistic approach to NGO management
  • the role of marketing, social partnership and fundraising for NGO development
  • project effectiveness and feasibility
  • Board of Directors as a tool to promote interests of an organization.

The workshop was held as a part of the training program of Counterpart Consortium within “the Program of Civil Society and NGO Development in the Central Asia Region” funded through USAID.

Contact: Counterpart Consortium, Lilia Kuchenova, IU/AUK Program Coordinator, Information Coordinator of NGO, 107 Kievskaya str., 5th floor, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Phone: 996(312) 610 135, 610 022, 664 636 Fax: 996(312) 610 021 Email: Internet:


IRIN Focus on street children in Bishkek. BISHKEK, 6 July (IRIN) - Aibec Munduzov looks much younger than his 10 years. Long denied a good diet, he is one of 500 children working in the Osh bazaar, the largest of its kind in Bishkek. Aibec earns the equivalent of 18 US cents a day as a porter for local shoppers - a paltry sum to survive on in these difficult economic times. Like many children in the Kyrgyz capital, Aibec's plight is not unusual. As poverty continues to grip this tiny Central Asian country, the number of street children has now reached alarming proportions - demanding far greater action than presently being offered. "The number of street children in Bishkek is definitely on the rise due to acute poverty, internal migration and unemployment in rural areas," the assistant project officer for UNICEF in Bishkek, Gulsana Turusbekova, told IRIN. "We don't have any real statistics, but I can say there is no real family support system in Kyrgyzstan, nor preventive strategies to curb this problem."

The reasons for this vary, but the fact is that the phenomenon of street children is a new one in Kyrgyzstan. Prior to 1991 and the fall of the Soviet Union, there were no street children, and the family unit was much stronger. With the end of communism and a steady deterioration of the economic situation, there was a steady decline in the stability of the family, which traditionally had been quite strong in Kyrgyz society. Without the necessary social services to provide assistance, many issues and problems never before seen in the country arose - street children being one of them.

"The problem of street children is a very complex issue, and is difficult to decipher," Turusbekova said. "Some are abandoned, some have left their homes - there are a variety of reasons." The fact is that many of the children on the street today are working to support their families, because their parents' income no longer suffices to meet the rising daily cost of living. Many children in the bazaars, like Aibec, work as porters, or sell newspapers, flowers or candy, or wash cars in the streets. There have also been incidences of child prostitution.

Other children on the street, however, are there purely due to parental neglect or, in some cases, abandonment. Indeed, some couples went to Russia, leaving their children in the care of extended family members. The couples were to have sent money back to Kyrgyzstan but never did, leaving the children with little choice but to seek employment. While most of the children working on the streets of Bishkek are between eight and 10 years old, statistics of their number vary between 1,000 and 5,000, depending on whose figures you accept.

"There are some 1,200 street children in the bazaars of Bishkek alone. The number could be much higher, but the number is definitely increasing," Mira Itikeeva, director of the Centre for the Protection of Children (CPC), a local NGO, told IRIN. In addition to a temporary residential facility for some 30 Bishkek street children it operates with its staff of 22, CPC works with social workers in the street. As part of its outreach programme, it operates food programmes in the two largest bazaars in the city, including Osh, where particularly vulnerable children are invited to have a balanced and nutritious meal each day at lunchtime while they are working. There are some 180 children participating in this programme at the two largest bazaars. But according to Itikeeva, "there are so many children in need, we now have a strict criteria [for them] to join". The CPC invites children to visit its residential centre, where they are checked for tuberculosis - a major problem in Kyrgyzstan - as well as STDs by the full-time medical doctor on the staff. According to Itikeeva, there have been cases of syphilis and gonorrhoea, indicating that some of the children were victims of sexual abuse. On average, such children spend between six and seven months at the centre before being reunited with their families or placed in government institutions. "We don't necessarily like to do this, but we don't have any other alternatives," Itikeeva said. "In our legislature, we do not have foster care families, so alternative options for these children are indeed limited," she explained. Working with families to reunite them with their children remains the main objective, and not one taken lightly at CPC. If a child is picked up in a police raid - of which there are many - he or she is brought first to a government detention centre. If the parents cannot be reached, or the child is not reunited with the family, the child is placed in a government institution.

In most cases of this sort, efforts to effect reunion with the family fails, because there is no prior counselling with the family. CPC, however, works with and counsels a family for two or three months before returning a child to the home. Moreover, if the child is returned, CPC conducts monthly follow-up visits with the family for about six months, generally with positive results. Over the past two years, the group has successfully reunited 43 children with their families. Part of CPC's efforts is a deliberate effort to get children back into the classroom, something many of the children have not experienced in a very long time, or perhaps only sporadically. According to Itikeeva, children at the centre attend a local school three times a week. In the remaining time, they are given vocational training on cooking, sewing and hair cutting. She noted, however, that money for such additional programmes was limited and there was a constant battle each year to raise funds.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, there is the UNDP-supported Centre for Social Adaptation of Children (CSAC), probably the best facility for street children in Bishkek today. The CSAC resulted from a visit to Kyrgyzstan in 1998 by a Norwegian film crew, which followed two children to the government reception centre – a dismal facility where street children are brought in by the local militia or juvenile police to be processed. Under Kyrgyz law, the reception centre, which is administered by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, can hold a child for up to 45 days. During this period, the child's needs are evaluated and an assessment made as to whether he or she should be returned to the family, or sent to a residential boarding school or other alternative available under current legislation.

Horrified by the conditions it observed at the centre, the crew later showed their film to the Norwegian government, which granted US $1 million towards establishing a new reception centre. The original concept was that the centre, completed in November 2000, would replace the government reception centre. However, due to regulations governing municipal authorities, this remains to be implemented.

The CSAC, built to house 60 children, already caters for 74, indicating a need in excess of capacity. During their sojourn, the youngsters attend the local school and also receive vocational training. Ath the moment, children can stay up to two years, after which, whenever possible, they are sent home.

Neil Whettam, long-term trainer of the European Children's Fund, a British NGO working at the CSAC, told IRIN that the children range in age from four to 18. Some are street children, while others are children of parents whose parental rights have been removed by the state as a result of abuse or drug addiction. Asked to comment on the government's response to the problem of street children, Whettam replied that in a recent statement, the deputy prime minister said in a statement "that there were going to be street raids conducted every month to clear the streets of street children". "There is no doubt about it - the government is concerned about this, as it's something they have never experienced before and they want to know how to deal with it," Whettam told IRIN. An international consultant recently conducted a three-day workshop on street children and what methods could be used to deal with the issue. The official view was that such children should be institutionalised, while the consultant was trying to persuade the government to consider other approaches, Whettam said. A signatory to the convention on the rights of children, the Kyrgyz government has established a new organisation called New Generation, a national and international group to look into the issue of child welfare countrywide.

"We hope that street children will be one of the forums of the New Generation umbrella which will be looked at and developed over the next few years," Whettam concluded.

Note: The article has prepared by the UNOCHA Information Officer for the Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN), Mr. David Swanson, ( ) who visited Kyrgyzstan mid-June with the support of the UNDP Office in Kyrgyzstan

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