Jamila and the strength of Kyrgyz women

07 Mar 2016

image Photo Credit: Natalia Arynbasarova (Actress), "Zhamilia", 1968, Producer: Irina Poplavskaya, "Mosfilm".

Over ten years ago, for my birthday, my childhood friend Piero gave me as a present the book the “White steamboat” from Chyngyz Aitmatov. In handing me over the present he explained that the author was the most famous Kyrgyz writer. Truly I didn’t know Aitmatov before that day and the book seemed to me a great opportunity to learn more about the land of the Kyrgyz Republic, which I had already admired in its beauty in some photographic reportages. I must confess I read the story in one day and was totally fascinated by the fantastic description of the landscape, the nature and the most humane story of the main character. The lake of Issyk Kul then became one of my dream locations to visit. Enchanted by the story, I decided to read more works of Aitmatov and came across the novel Jamila which, if possible, moved by imagination even more.  The plot, construed in a perfectly harmonious manner, allows the author to powerfully describe the moral and physical strength, as well as the beauty of the protagonist Jamila. I will not give any spoiler of the story and invite everybody to read the book. To my mind Kyrgyz Republic  Read More

Fair and True: How to hold elections and do it right

25 Feb 2016

image Photo Credit:

In Kyrgyzstan, the two previous rounds of elections – in 2005 and 2010 – resulted in civil unrest, with complaints regarding lack of transparency and restricted freedoms. As a result, the country leadership committed themselves to holding transparent and fair elections in October 2015. When the government approached us to ask for support in conducting the upcoming elections, we thought it would be a straightforward process.  After all, UNDP has long-term experience with supporting fair elections in many countries around the world; how challenging could it be? But the process turned out much more complicated than we could have ever imagined. First, we conducted a needs assessment to identify electoral needs. The process showed us our plan of action: to build the capacity of Central Electoral Commission, train voters, and strengthen national capacity to resolve potential disputes. We also decided to support the government’s intentions to introduce modern information-communication electoral technologies (ICT). The equipment would automate voters’ identification process on Election Day in order to prevent multiple voting. Next, we began rallying together many different donors in order to make sure we had enough budget to fully realize our vision. Danish and Swiss governments generously provided financial support, and UNDP poured  Read More

Stats on the go

16 Feb 2016


The concept of open data, reflecting the idea that information should be made available in machine-readable format for further use and distribution without copyright restrictions, patents or other controls, is widespread throughout the world. Government initiatives such as influenced the growth of interest in open data. In turn, these initiatives contribute to the improvement and acceleration of the economies of countries that have adopted the principles of open data. Thus, according to research institute ETLA, small and medium enterprises that have access to public data, in the year grew by 15% more than the businesses that could not obtain such data . Open statistical data in machine-readable format hold a special place in the general category of open data, as they are of great interest to the public, including investors, journalists, activists, NGOs and especially for those who seek the openness and accessibility of public information. The National Statistical Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic, with UNFPA support, has already done significant work in the field of electronic data, namely, launched a new version of the official web site at it has uniform design style, simplified navigation, and easily retrievable statistics. Unfortunately, users can not always go to the site  Read More

If nobody respects the laws, why should I be the first one?

03 Feb 2016

image The flash mob is being performed by students on Anti-Corruption day. Photo Credit: Arslan Sabyrbekov, Communication specialist for UNDP project "Enhancing the Democratic Rule of Law to Promote Peace and Stability in the Kyrgyz Republic"

Civil society as a key tool for improving the Rule of Law The road to an effective Rule of Law in Kyrgyzstan and elsewhere is a difficult one. The first obstacle is probably the pessimism about the public respect of the Laws, also called legal nihilism.  If nobody respects the laws, why should I be the first one to do so? The general answer to such question is that if nobody would respect the Laws, the State would resemble chaos and anarchy where the rule of the strongest prevails.  Not convincing enough? I agree, we should do better than this! To give a better answer, then, we should look at reformulating the question as it implies that the Justice -- or by extension the Rule of Law – is something external to you, a remote concept in which we have a passive role. No! This is not true! Justice is --or should --administered on behalf and for the protection of all the people, nobody excluded.  How can we then correct this misunderstanding? I suggest that we should all ask ourselves what we can do for the Justice, not only what the Justice can do for us. With this aim in mind  Read More

When you dream…

26 Jan 2016

image Youngsters are being inspired, catching every word of self-made famous people. Photo Credit: Altynai Nanaeva, Peace and Development Dimension Communication Specialist

“My mother left me when I was a 1 year old baby… Recently she has found me and wants to stay in contact with me. I don’t know whether I should ask her to apologize or not? I believe I am not the only one in the Kyrgyz Republic with such a situation. What could you advice for hundreds of abandoned children and their biological parents?” - addressed the 16 years old girl from rural area of republic to Ms. Roza Otunbaeva during “the Brave way” national meeting of youth with their role models. Obviously, the question was astonishing and resulted into moment of silence in the hall full of people. The only female president in the Central Asia managed to give a fruitful and kind advice to the girl who was probably experiencing the biggest crisis of her life. Roza Otunbaeva - ex-president of the Kyrgyz Republic, Salizhan Sharipov - the Kyrgyz astronaut and Atai Omurzakov - world known dancer were the youth role models who took part in the event. They all made our country globally famous with their achievements. People respect them, are proud of them and dream to be like them. They all come from rural areas  Read More

A Kyrgyz TV series to challenge men’s world

04 Nov 2015

image 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 in a secondary school of Bishkek, graduated from five-week training courses for sign language interpreters. He became interested in these courses as his grandmother and grandfather were deaf and unable to speak. According to Misha, before the courses he managed to communicate with them using simple gestures but serious communication 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 mimic, smile and mood. When we asked Misha, the participant 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,”-  Misha says. After the courses, he started to assist his relatives. Now he accompanies them to the polyclinic, shops, translates news releases. Misha’s mother, Margarita Trifonova, is a professional sign language interpreter and acted as the trainer during the courses. Among those invited for participation in the trainings there were people  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

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