Who

Civil society organizations promoting responsible governance, and greater civic participation.

What

A stronger civil society and greater democratic reform.

Where

Kazakhstan

How

Strengthening local civil society organizations’ capacity to advance good governance and greater responsiveness to citizen needs.

 

Challenge

Of the five Central Asian countries, Kazakhstan has the strongest market economy, the most visible civil society and a long list of recorded commitments toward democratic reform. While Kazakhstan’s economic success has been well documented, the country’s democratic evolution has not kept pace.

The status of civil society organizations in Kazakhstan is stable but not flourishing. While social service civil society organizations (CSOs) enjoy a reasonable degree of freedom, and often have funding for their work from the Government of Kazakhstan, CSOs that promote democratic reform, human rights, or good governance do not have strong domestic support or adequate local resources for their work and are heavily reliant on international donors.

Promise

We’re working to increase Kazakhstan’s leading national-level civil society organizations’ (CSOs) capacity to conduct their operations and be better equipped to represent the interests of their constituencies to government.

The program is framed by four main objectives:

  1. Increase the financial and organizational capacity of selected CSOs
  2. Increase constructive dialogue between the selected CSOs and the Government of Kazakhstan
  3. Increase CSO participation in reforming the social contract process in Kazakhstan
  4. Strengthen the capacity of selected CSOs to mobilize social capital and leverage mass media resources

To meet the goal and objectives, KCSS is focusing on 12 local partner organizations with a commitment to organizational strengthening and stability. KCSS partner organizations are mature, national-level CSOs, and KCSS provides technical training to them in the areas of management, reporting, monitoring and evaluation, finance, public dialogue, advocacy, and public outreach. This training and technical assistance is also supplemented by grants that will allow selected CSOs to conduct activities using their acquired skills and knowledge.

KCSS also works with CSOs to improve government-citizen dialogue in Kazakhstan, with a particular focus on the Social Contracting Law and its impact on CSOs. In particular, KCSS plans to produce technical guides on the application of the law and how CSOs can procure social contract funds. In addition, focus groups, government dialogues, and working conferences have been held to address issues with the New Social Contracting Law.

A final component of the KCSS program is strengthening the ability of CSOs to mobilize social capital and leverage mass media resources. This includes the introduction of new technology for improved CSO capacity and working with CSOs, to enhance their knowledge and information management. It also means developing strategies to promote CSO activities and for CSOs to attract and retain high-quality volunteers.

Impact

  • Partnered with Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Culture and Information to select civil society leaders for a working group to develop legislation regulating government mechanisms of NGO financing
  • Provided policy advocacy grants to nine partner organizations that enabled them to increase constructive dialogue between NGOs and the government on key democratic issues
  • Awarded small grants to 12 local partners in 2012 that enabled them to increase their financial and organizational capacity

Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Partners

Funder: U. S. Agency for International Development

Collaborators: Kazakhstan Ministry of Culture and Information

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