Who we are
About the Foundation
The Soros Foundation-Kyrgyzstan (SFK), a private international non-governmental foundation, seeks to create conditions for building an open society and supporting the development of public institutions and initiatives in all spheres of public life in the Kyrgyz Republic. An open society means freedom of expression and diversity of opinions in all spheres of life, a state governed by rule of law, and the opportunity for all members of society to participate equally in development.
The Foundation was set up by the Open Society Institute, headed by George Soros, a global financier and internationally renowned philanthropist. The Foundation is part of the international network of Open Society Foundations, which includes national Soros foundations in 31 countries and two regional foundations covering 27 other countries.
The Foundation began operations in 1993 and was officially registered with the KR Ministry of Justice at the end of 1995. Since that time, Soros Foundation-Kyrgyzstan has consistently continued to support civic initiatives in various areas such as legal, educational and economic reforms, support to the media, NGOs and academia, assistance to initiatives in public policy, health and culture. To finance these initiatives, SFK has donated more than USD 79 million to the country in non-repayable grants.
The Foundation’s work is governed by the strategic resolutions and recommendations of the SFK Supervisory Board and the Open Society Foundations, and is implemented in close cooperation with partners from government institutions, NGOs, and international organizations.
We contribute to building a society based on the principles of justice, equality, active civic participation and accountability of the state to the society in Kyrgyzstan.
Equal rights and opportunities
— We promote the rule of law, advancing and protecting human rights and freedoms.
— We promote equal access to information, education, healthcare, justice and citizens’ participation in decision-making.
— We promote the openness and accountability of the state to society.
Development and efficiency
— We are proactive and promptly respond to challenges.
— We contribute to achieving results with maximum efficiency.
— We are constantly developing ourselves and create conditions for the others to develop.
— We are open to innovation.
Trust and respect
— We interact basing on trust and respect for the personality and opinion of the others.
To date, the Foundation has identified seven thematic areas to focus on through its programs.
- The Public Health Program seeks to support ideas aimed at ensuring equal rights of vulnerable and marginalized groups to public health services.
- The Education Program will work to create conditions for an improved access to education for children with special educational needs and those from socially vulnerable groups. The Program will also promote the standards and tools for managing a multicultural and polytechnic educational environment in order to strengthen the role of schools as society consolidation center.
- The Law Program aims to reform the criminal justice system to bring the same into line with international standards for the protection of human rights, to improve the state-guaranteed legal aid system and to effectively document, investigate torture and ill-treatment.
- The Civic Engagement Program works to strengthen civic engagement for sustainable urban development and to engage citizens in building a constructive dialogue between government and society.
- The Media Development Program targets the development of data journalism by improving legislation and access to data, developing data analysis tools, etc. The Program also supports independent media by advancing new formats of journalism. The purpose of the “Freedom of speech and access to quality information” component is to work systematically with partners to protect freedom of speech and form and maintain a free information space in Kyrgyzstan by providing legal advice for journalists, seeking extrajudicial resolution of disputes, protecting the interests of the media in courts, monitoring and reforming media legislation.
- The Information Program supports projects in two areas:
- Open access to information, knowledge and government data
- Popularization of computer science and programming among children and young people.
- The Research Grants Program aims to support and develop the capacity of researchers, to engage Kyrgyz think tanks that contribute to public policy development, while maintaining proactive co-operation between them, civil society organizations and decision-makers to improve the quality of research and dialogue on the practical use of research results.
The Soros Foundation-Kyrgyzstan supports projects that meet the following criteria:
- The project demonstrates the potential for obtaining significant results within a foreseeable period;
- The project has a strong innovative component that distinguishes it from what is being done by other organizations;
- The project implementation contributes to the development of the capacity of local organizations and groups that can continue activities after the financing has been depleted;
- The results obtained by the project can be used in other regions of the country;
- The project will evaluate and disseminate the expected results;
- Sufficient guarantees are provided to ensure the success and continuous implementation of the project by project partners (government, NGOs);
- The project is a priority in comparison with other similar projects;
- The most appropriate place has been chosen for the implementation of project activities;
- A strategy being proposed is the most efficient tool for achieving the desired results;
- The project management system is of high quality and rational.