Our Perspective

      • A Kyrgyz TV series to challenge men’s world

        04 Nov 2015

        A scene from the "TV channel 10": disputes on women's representation in the Parliament.

        When I entered this room, I realized that the decorations look very familiar to me. I recalled the scenery from a TV Channel 10 comedy sequel that is being screened once a week on the TV local channel. It resembles a ‘battle field’, where, according to the script, women are trying to stand for their voices to be heard and capacities valued. Sometimes, they win, sometimes they lose.   A scene from the "TV channel 10": disputes on women's representation in the Parliament. A story-line features a women general director of the TV production studio who tries to encourage a young talented woman to run for a local election. The four staff members give the director hard times for doing so. Unfortunately, this scenario is not that rare in Kyrgyzstan, where patriarchy and gender stereotypes perpetuate a belief that participation in governance is a ‘men’s business’. To imagine what I mean take a look at a short cartoon prepared by Kyrgyz 705 art group. Actor Aidina Kamchybekova perfectly features a company secretary Roza, who is gossiper and intriguer who tries to create scandals among the characters to push her own agenda forward and become an informal leader. “She is pushy, cunning,  Read More

      • Mimics and mood are the most important in sign language

        02 Nov 2015


        This summer Misha Trifonov, the 8th grade student from a secondary school in Bishkek, graduated from five week training courses for sign language interpreters. He became interested in these courses as his grandmother and grandfather are deaf and dumb. According to Misha, before the courses he managed to communicate with them using simple gestures, but serious communica-tion was maintained in writing. Mimics of a person plays a very important role in the sign language. Each gesture, each movement is accompanied by a certain mimics, smile and mood. When we asked Misha, the partici-pant of the courses for sign language interpreters, to translate the words “I love my country”, he brought his palms to his lips and then touched his heart with both palms gently and with a smile.  “The first thing I want to do is help them, as such people have a lot of difficulties in our country” (click to playback video), Misha says. After these courses, Misha started to assist his relatives: he accompanies them to the polyclinic, to shops, he even translates news releases for them. Misha’s mother, Ms. Margarita Trifonova, is a professional sign language interpreter and act-ed as the trainer during the courses. Among those invited  Read More

      • Understanding and fighting corruption in the Kyrgyz Republic: Gambling away the future of your country

        14 Oct 2015

        Through a recent survey Kyrgyz citizens have been asked. “What actions would move the Country in the right direction?” Before reading the answers I guessed that on the top of the list there would have been issues such as employment and economic development. I was wrong. On the top of the list there was “Fight against corruption” with 22% of the answers followed six points below by job creation.  A quite surprising result at first glance but also a very eye-opening manifestation of the importance of effectively fighting corruption in the country. The negative effect of corruption in relation to economic development and the possibility to attract foreign investment are well-established and proven truths in the academic world, which, as the poll shows, have been very well understood by the mature Kyrgyz citizens. Much has been done in the fight against corruption over the last years and some important results have been yielded. This progress is somehow reflected in the often-overestimated tool which measures the Corruption Perception Index. In 20012 the country ranked in the 145th position, two years later it climbed to the 136th with an improvement of nine positions.  However this doesn’t seem to satisfy the citizens, as according  Read More

      • Topic of the day: bosses report too!

        02 Jul 2015

        As a civil servant, I often discussed with colleagues how government bodies should be evaluated, what indicators should be applied and what should be the procedures and what mechanisms. Almost all government institutions work a lot, even on weekends, they achieve certain results. It seemed that the society saw this work and results and should’ve appreciated it. But government bodies still encountered criticism from unsatisfied people and NGOs. Often times it was a subjective assessment based on personal experience or information received from the mass media, TV and radio. How to evaluate the performance of public institutions? This situation occurred partly due to the fact that in 2000’s there was no systematic assessment of government bodies’ work. That’s why the Government’s new initiative to introduce an evaluation system for public institutions launched in 2012 caught my attention. The proposed system was aimed at assessing an institution’s work based on four indicators: 1.       Basic indicators. They evaluate an institution’s contribution to implementation of the Government Programme approved by Parliament. 2.       Variable-based indicators. They are related to the goals, objectives and basic functions of state agency, which define its current work. 3.       Assessment of the Kyrgyz Republic based the international ratings. 4.       Population  Read More

      • Empowering lives and building resilience in Naryn

        07 May 2015

        Beneficiaries of the project in Naryn. Credit: UNDP

        Naryn Area-Based Development Programme is the third project implemented by UNDP in Kyrgyzstan through application of comprehensive area-based approach. Although the approach and the goal are the same as previous ones, the current one has a different exit strategy which is so vital as the practice shows that many projects tend to end with their closure. As one of our field specialist noted, the difference is that we work closely with heads of local self-government (LSG) bodies in each target districts, train them to develop project proposals, evaluate and monitor implementation.   The process was challenging as we started transferring funds through accounts of the LSGs instead of giving direct grants to beneficiaries. Most of the local self-governments never received funding from external sources through the centralized treasury of the Ministry of Finance, meaning they did not have mechanisms in place. This led to increased sense of ownership and responsibility. These grants directed at addressing socio-economic issues and creation of businesses and jobs became more associated with people and local governments rather than with UNDP.   At the last grant committee meeting heads of local governments were very keen on presenting the results of 2014 projects and highlighted that with support  Read More

      • A symbolic change: Time to rebrand justice?

        23 Apr 2015


        Justice is often symbolized as a blindfolded woman holding a scale in one hand and a sword in the other. I believe this symbol contributes to the ongoing perception that justice is closely linked with coercion. In line with global efforts to ensure access to justice, I would like to suggest looking for a new symbol that can better convey these principles. Time and again, I have conducted small experiments with many people from diverse backgrounds – including teenagers, university students, lawyers, journalists and pensioners.  Most commonly relate the concept of justice to prison bars, handcuffs, or police officers. Many witty answers focus on the blindfolding. Once a student joked that Lady Justice would hopefully hit with the sword only after taking off the cover on her eyes. Somebody else quipped that she would be peeping the whole time through the blindfold. A bit of history   Justice through the ages: Maat, Themis and Iustitia The origins of the symbol are not fully known, but most experts agree that it originates with the Egyptian Goddess Maat - whose first representation goes back over 4,300 years. Looking at the picture, we can notice a scepter in her right hand – a sign of power. There is  Read More

      • When electronic governance is more human governance

        30 Mar 2015


        Initially, my boss’s assignment seemed quite easy and even enjoyable: I was expected to have a trip out of town to pick up a long-awaited cargo from a government body. The bright and sunny morning cheered me up. I expected to get the equipment easily. But, as so often happens, the bureaucratic reality not only showed itself in all its glory, but spoiled the mood as well. Once there, I found long lines to each window and office, where I was supposed to stand. I walked around the building from one office to another, changing lines and getting more and more papers. Experienced people running around the building noticed my face of a confused and angry novice in this business. Their eloquent glances said: "Here is another newbie who is to struggle through all the procedures. Oh well, no pain no gain” I do not remember how many times I visited the warehouse and cashier. The lunch break which I spent waiting for office workers to return was over. It seemed that I would not get my package today… And I may spend here days… The lines did not get smaller. They seemed dissonant against the backdrop of modern office equipment  Read More

      • Measure better to manage better

        20 Mar 2015

        The title of this post reflects the very essence of the System of Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA)  that we’re about to introduce to the statistics system of Kyrgyzstan. The process was initiated by the National Statistics Committee and the Kyrgyz State Agency for Environment Protection and Forestry and supported by UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI). SEEA is a system that integrates environmental and economic statistics to help countries to take path of economic development with consideration of environmental aspects. It helps to measure better, which is key to managing better. What is the problem? Economic development can not take place without the contribution of natural ecosystems. Today, Kyrgyzstan’s economy is putting a major pressure on it’s ecosystems. According to expert findings, more than 75% of the country’s territory is facing high risks of natural capital degradation.[1] This is the result of many factors such as “increasing resource consumption, growing poverty, lack of infrastructural development, demographic growth exacerbated by irrational management of natural resources and environmental pollution[2]. What to do? Managing those emerging risks requires concerted efforts of decision-makers from different fields: economy, environment and statistics. There is a good understanding of the need for coherent indicators and descriptive statistics to monitor  Read More

      • Let’s stop calling it bride kidnapping!

        20 Feb 2015

        One of the first things associated with Kyrgyzstan alongside its beautiful nature and mountains is the cruel phenomenon of bride kidnapping. Recent researches from local NGOs show that at least 50 % of the marriages in the country involve some sort of elements of this brutal ritual. The so called bride kidnapping fundamentally is the ritual of ambushing a young woman from a public place, seizing her and detaining her in the house of the man who took her away. In the best case she is subject to enormous psychological pressure and brainwash from female relatives of the kidnapper to accept the marriage, in the rest of the cases she is subject of rape. I read a lot of sad stories about it as well as cultural justifications based on the poor economic situation and traditions but nothing can compare with the direct account of a dark eye young woman who I will call Roza. She has been kidnapped twice, first at the age of nineteen, the second time at the age of twenty-three. In both cases she clearly remembers the applauses welcoming the kidnapper when he brought her home. They  seemed like heroes coming back from a victorious battle. She  Read More