Women's Rights

UN-EU project empowering women in Kyrgyzstan

By Asker Sultanov


Kyrgyz women sell snacks in downtown Bishkek April 19. A recently launched EU-funded project seeks to change the role of women in Kyrgyzstan across generational and gender borders. [Asker Sultanov]

BISHKEK -- The European Union and UN Women have teamed up to implement a three-year project aimed at ending violence against girls and women in Kyrgyzstan with a focus on ending non-consensual marriage or bride kidnapping.

The main goal of the project, titled "Across Generations and Gender Borders -- Communities Combatting Gender-Based Violence in Kyrgyzstan", is to encourage respectful gender norms for Kyrgyz women in families as well as in society, said Nurai Mamytova, a specialist at UN Women in Kyrgyzstan.

The budget for the three-year project is more than €800,000 (66 million KGS), provided by the EU delegation to Kyrgyzstan, according to a UN Women statement posted April 10.

UN Women in Kyrgyzstan and the HelpAge International and Agents of Change NGOs are implementing the project, which started in April and will be focused on three main components.

The first component is focused on reducing gender violence in four target provinces -- Osh, Batken, Talas and Issyk-Kul, according to Mamytova.

"As part of the first component, we have already begun training sessions that use methodology to change gender roles in the family," she told Caravanserai.

"Couples in the countryside will participate in these training sessions, working with psychologists," she said, adding that the sessions are meant to "define certain shared goals for the husband and wife and their desires".

"Their [desires] will be determined as well as the needs of family members. These methods reduce violence toward women."

The second component is aimed at establishing a sensible division of responsibilities within the family.

"During the second component, the family will openly discuss its problems during the training session and [work on] changing stereotypes, such as the assumption that all tasks in the home are the woman's responsibility," Mamytova said.

The third component envisages distributing brochures and placing public service announcements in mass media, she said.

"We plan to [directly] reach 16,000 people -- those are the primary beneficiaries of the project," she said. "[For] raising public awareness, we plan to cover about 200,000 people."

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That's nonsense, and it's news to me women are raped in our country. The UN and Europe are muddying the waters in our country.


I would like to participate in the project.


It is a timely project, and I would appreciate it if our NGO "Ventus" that works with women suffering from violence got some help launching the project in Issyk-Kul Province.