CIVIC ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM
Strengthening civic participation for sustainable urban development and involving citizens in building a constructive dialogue between government and society.
Our theory of change is based on the assumption that it is at the level of cities and local communities that citizens face the most pressing social problems affecting the quality of their lives, and it is at this level that civil mobilization is the most “conscious and responsible”. In turn, to strengthen civil participation and promote the effective involvement of citizens in sustainable urban development, we need to focus on building a constructive dialogue between government and society. The constructive dialogue, however, will not be possible without citizens having certain experience and knowledge on urban development, without dialogue platforms in place in the form of accessible, safe and sustainable public spaces, and without drawing public attention to the most pressing urban problems and constant public monitoring of municipalities’ work. Citizens must stand for their interests, strengthen control over the transparency and accountability of municipalities, participate in the discussion of key issues relating to the quality of their lives.
At the same time, the practice of recent years shows that the city authorities – provided that they have the political will to make changes – can cooperate productively with civil society. Urban Forums held in Bishkek in 2014 and in Osh in 2015 demonstrated that joint actions can lead to positive changes. Representatives of municipalities and various ministries and departments participate in discussions, disclose data, and are willing to improve their mechanisms and approaches.
At the same time, it is important that this work in various spheres and sectors of urban development be systematic and complex. Provided that citizens’ participation in solving urban problems is permanent, productive, sustainable and responsible, and that citizens and local communities themselves implement public initiatives in towns and settlements, we can say that we have completed a certain stage of our strategy. These are the sustainable changes targeted by the Programme.
Youth Action Fund (YAF) – Kyrgyzstan
The goal of the initiative is to identify, stimulate and support small youth groups in mobilizing and influencing a large number of their peers in order to promote the ideals of an open society.
Annually, YAF announces the contest for individual mini-grants for young people aged 14 to 29 years. The size of a grant is from 200 to 2,000 US dollars.