We All Have a Choice

Published in Succes Stories Wednesday, 19 July 2017 07:22

Community Foundation “ZUBR” is changing lives and promoting positive choices through integrated special services for vulnerable individuals and families, with support from the Good Governance Initiative Fund.

Evgeniya, from Stepnogorsk, Kazakhstan, believed that her childhood was the ‘worst-case’ scenario. “Disfunctional family seemed to be our permanent status,” says Evgeniya. "I live with my mother. After my father died many years ago, I lived in pretty poor conditions, but I still loved my mother very much (which I am only now beginning to understand). However, in return I only received insults and disagreements.” Evgeniya was often left alone at home, and had trouble connecting with her classmates at school. She didn’t want to go home after school and felt more comfortable on the streets. When teachers offered to help, she refused, for fear that the whole school would found out.

Oksana Volkova-Mikhalskaya, project coordinator for “ZUBR” in Stepnogorsk, described the challenges she observed when she first met Evgeniya’s family.“Their situation didn’t improve for a long time because the mother needed to resolve a number of issues independently, but she couldn’t ‘get around to it’. It was during this time that the child drifted further and further away, under daily psychological pressure from her mother.”

One day a social worker at school told Evgeniya about a group of local specialists that could help her family with integrated social services. Evgeniya convinced her mother to meet with the team of specialists. “They talked to her not about the problems we were going to have, but about the opportunities we have to make our lives better. They explained to us about the benefits we could receive for having lost the breadwinner in our family, how we could both undergo a psychological evaluation, and about other specialists who could help us. I was so excited when my mother agreed to get help for both of us!”

The interagency social service team provided Evgeniya and her mother with timely and professional psychological and legal support, and eventually helped them find a way out of their critical situation. The team was created through the initiative of non-profit community foundation “ZUBR”, and brings together representatives of the Departments of Social Protection, Education, Public Health, and Law Enforcement to ensure that vulnerable citizens receive coordinated, efficient, and effective public support when they need it most.

Now, Evgeniya receives free meals at school, and her mother is registered for unemployment benefits and is currently attending a job-training course. “Svetlana and Evgeniya have their whole lives ahead of them, but it is important that they know the right path from the wrong path,” notes Oksana. “This way, the choice is theirs.”  

Integrated special social service teams are promoting positive choices for vulnerable citizens across Kazakhstan - a total of 13 inter-agency teams have been established to date in Astana, Almaty, and five regions of Kazakhstan. Their work is made possible by theGood Governance Initiative Fund, a project of the Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia, with the financial support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The Fund awards grants to traditionally underserved CSOs in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan to improve governance practice through improved public service delivery, public policy, and legislation.

In early July 28 farmers from Germany made a visit to Almaty oblast. Foreign guests were represented by heads of agro enterprises, investors and farmers.

“Farmers from western part of Germany had a strong intention to visit countries of Central Asia, know about their investment potential, meet farmers and exchange experience”, - says Ditrih Trice, the head of delegation.

He also mentioned that first they wanted to organize trip to Kazakhstan with the assistance of state bodies. But there was a fear that government would offer to show exemplary farms. “Our aim was to meet ordinary self-employed farmers. Therefore we started navigating internet. It took time but in the long run we found portal agrobiz.kz and its database of farmers on different spheres. We immediately contacted people from “Farmers of Kazakhstan”. And it was a right decision”, - he added.

German farmers visited diary company “Amiran”, firm on grass areas production “Kyzyl Tu” and greenhouse in the village Baiterek.

Prior to Kazakhstan German delegation travelled to India, China, Latin America.

Since May 2017 in schools of Almaty classes for parent groups are conducted. They are taught by school psychologists and social educators who received special training from Israeli experts Gila Petrova (Gila Petrova) and Moty Pikelner within the framework of the project "TEENS - Accessible and Quality Assistance" which is implemented through USAID support through EFCA's GGIF program.

Parents discover the specifics of child and adolescent psychology, learn to understand their children and find a way to reach them. These classes are free for the parents. The cycle is six meetings, one per week. Parents have the opportunity to consider the information received and come to the next lesson with the accumulated questions.

On June 10-11, such groups were held within the framework of the UNITY Family Fest family festival, where more than 200 parents received counseling.

The purpose of this stage of the project is to test the format of the parent groups and to find out how it fits Kazakhstani parents.

On June 15, TEENS team held a meeting with the experts who provide free state aid to families on the basis of schools (psychological educators, social educators).

The results of the approbation of the Program for improving professional skill of state institutions specialists who provide psychological and advisory services were summed up.

This training course was conducted as a part of the approbation. It is the first module in the complex of measures to promote the program of advanced training to the national level.

The analysis of implementation of the program and aprent groups in 15 Almaty schools revealed the necessity and high interest of parents in learning how to interact with their children. According to the feedback, such parent groups should be spread more widely.

On June 12-13 seminar-trainings titled "Agrobiz.kz - a new opportunity for interaction and development of agribusiness entities" were held in Arys and Saryagash towns of South Kazakhstan oblast.

The first Kazakhstani agro-portal www.agrobiz.kz was presented to the participants of the training-seminar. This agro-portal was developed within the framework of the "Good Governance Initiative Fund" project with the financial support of USAID.

The possibilities of using the agro-portal as a resource for free ads and for attracting potential buyers of their products aroused keen interest among farmers and representatives of agrarian enterprises. Representatives of district and rural akimats, agricultural departments of Saryagash and Arys rayons were interested in the portal's ability to effectively communicate with farmers saving time and financial resources. In Saryagash rayon, 71 people took part in the training-seminar (38 of them representatives of district and rural akimats, 33 representatives of farms and agricultural enterprises).

The number of participants in the Arys district was 41 people (18 - representatives of state bodies, 23 - representatives of farms and agricultural enterprises).

"Local websites are needed to support local production," - said the head of the agricultural department of the Saryagash rayon, N. Talipov. 

"We considered various mechanisms for selling our products in the northern and central regions of the country no later than our neighbors from Uzbekistan. The functions of agrobiz.kz took into account all our problems and thoughts. Now, we have the opportunity to promote our products through the Internet, and whether to use this opportunity for business is up to us”,- he added.

"There are more than 1,400 farmers in the Arys rayon. However, we can't be constantly in touch with them. First of all, we want to provide the inhabitants of the city with the products of our farmers, and I think that the work of agrobiz.kz needs to be promoted among the citizens. To support the farmers is to consume their products instead of foreign ones", - said deputy akim of the town of Arys, Sapar Daribai.

On June 14 the information fund FIPRO within the framework of the Eurasia Foundation project "Service Quality - Zone of Public Control" implemented with the financial support of USAID held a focus group with service providers in Pavlodar.

The focus group included 13 representatives of the administration of akim of Pavlodar oblast, of Pavlodar city, and departments of Pavlodar oblast.

From the beginning, the participants started a lively discussion on the questions posed to the focus group.

In addition to examples of hidden public services given by the participants, issue of the prospects of their regulation was raised.

The participants were not always optimistic: "The regulation of public services does not always lead to positive results. This is due to the fact that the legal registration of a public service entails a complication of the process. It becomes inconvenient as to the service provider (process becomes more complicated, reporting is necessary, addition of registration procedures, etc.), and to the service recipient (the process of receiving a service is complicated and delayed) ". Therefore, the problem lies not only in the identification of hidden public services and their regulation but also in the qualitative processing and improvement of the processes for providing them.

Among the proposals to improve state services were improvement of the standards and regulations, including the unification of some disparate public services into one; consolidation of efforts of developers and service providers in improving the delivery of public services; technical improvement of e-akimat.

Currently, FIPRO is conducting a survey of the population. The results will make it possible to compile a complete picture of what needs to be done with respect to hidden public services and in improving the quality of public services in general.

On June 23-24 in Almaty a technical meeting took place during which the results of a sociological study "Studying equal access to public services for people with disabilities in remote settlements of  Shelek region" conducted by the Almaty Center for the Study of Public Opinion were presented. Then two-day training was held for professionals providing public services.

The research was focused on the study of the accessibility of state services for people with disabilities, living in the remote localities of Shelek dictrict. The aim of the research was to work out recommendations for development of institutional effective management and systematic correlation between organizations of civil society and state bodies.

The participants of the meeting were informed about the ratification of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and transfer from social protection to the creation of equal possibilities. Besides, speakers highlighted the main principles of providing state services for disabled as well as collaboration with state bodies to improve service quality using as an example the work of the department “Service Center for Population” (a branch office in Almaty oblast) and of the Corporate Fund “Erekshe tandau Shelek”.

Within the framework of the training seminar for professionals providing public services, such problems as work ethics, specifics of working with people with disabilities, and proper ways of serving clients with disabilities were presented.

Similar workshop was organized on June 15-16 in Taldykorgan (Almaty oblast).

Project CF “Erekshe Tandau Shelek” is realized within the program of Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia "Good Governance Initiative Fund” under financial support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). 

Almaty – USAID project "Good Governance Initiative Fund" implemented by the Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia, will host trainings on advanced level advocacy for NGO grantees of the project as well as on social marketing and communications on June 19-22 in Almaty.

The trainings are organized to further develop the potential of the GGIF recipient organizations, and are the logical continuation of the seminars held in the framework of the project in February 2017.

The main aim of the training on advocacy is to increase the effectiveness of grant projects in order to ensure the achievement of a long-term goal of each project.

During the training, the following issues will be discussed: advocacy strategy, mapping of influence; analysis of and interaction with supporters, opponents, neutral parties; risk analysis; planning of alternative scenarios of advocacy strategy; methods and instruments of interaction with government bodies and decision-makers; analysis and lobbying of draft bills; assessment of effectiveness and efficiency of advocacy campaigns.

Training in social marketing and communications aims at achieving sustainable results for grant projects through getting support and drawing attention of the target audience and general public to the problems and solutions raised by the projects.

In addition to advocacy, following issues will be discussed: marketing strategy; audience analysis, marketing research, formulation of messages, the development of marketing materials, choice of methods and channels of distribution, marketing plan, evaluation of the effectiveness of marketing strategy; promotion using the Internet (including social networks); interaction with the media; selling stories, photos, videos; integrated marketing communications (IMC).

Furthermore, individual trainings will be provided to the participants of both training sessions within six weeks of the completion of the training. Anush Begloyan, visiting expert from Armenia will conduct the training on advocacy. The training on social marketing and communications will be conducted by Vladimir Vayner from Russia.

Trainings location: Atakent park hotel, 42 Timiryazev street, Almaty. Trainings begin at 9 am.

GGIF Projects 2017

Published in Pages Friday, 02 June 2017 08:00



Grant recipient

Project Title

Project goal


“A Model of Integrated Social Services - Replicating Experience”

Increasing efficiency of management system of special social services at the national level through the developing and introduction to the MHSD of amendments to the regulations in this area, including the standard provision of social services, as well as improving the provision of special social services procedures (SSS), through the implementation of integrated SSA (ISSS).Adoption by the GoK the standard of ISSS



Grant recipient

Project Title

Project goal

PF “Community Foundation of Enbekshikazakh District’s”

"Farmers of Kazakhstan"

To improve engagement between government agencies and the farming community, financial institutions, market sector and the population, through the automation of information exchange, SMS-billing, and a unified database of 2500 rural districts and more than 50 000 farms on a national scale.

PF "Informational Support of Civil Society Development"

"Quality of Services – Public Monitoring Zone"


To improve the quality of public service provision by identifying ‘hidden’ public services – those services not specifically regulated by law.


PF "Women's Leadership Fund"

 "TEENS – Affordable and High Quality Support"

To prevent suicide among adolescents and youth, using citizens’ participation mechanisms to strengthen government programs

CF "Erekshe Tandau - Shelek"

"Public Services –Available to All" 


To improve access to public services for PWD in rural areas, through increased awareness about legal rights, systemic engagement between civil society organizations and government bodies, and through improved legal literacy among PWD.

PF "Tandau Foundation"

"Accessible Pavlodar"

To increase access to facilities and services for people with disabilities in Pavlodar, through lobbying and active promotion of physical modifications within the city.


PF "Aman-saulyk"

"Scaling of Substitution Maintenance Therapy for the treatment of drug addiction and HIV prevention in Kazakhstan"

Improving access to Drug addiction Treatment and HIV Prevention among Intravenous Drug Users (IDU) in the Republic of Kazakhstan

Project "Service Quality - Zone of Public Control" of the Private foundation for society development informational support within the framework of the USAID and Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia "Good Governance Initiative Fund" hosted a focus group meeting with employees of government agencies to identify hidden public services on May 30 in Almaty.

The event pursued two goals: to get information about examples, criteria, signs of hidden services from public servants - service providers; to hear out any suggestions for identifying hidden public services form the public servants.

The focus group was attended by 15 people.

Topics for discussion were: the concept of hidden public services, the need to identify hidden public services; distinctive features (criteria) of hidden public services; mechanism for identifying hidden public services.

In the course of the meeting, the participants shared their understanding of hidden public services, gave possible examples of such public services, talked about why it was so important to identify hidden public services, and what would happen if they were not identified. The topic of the development of a methodology for identifying hidden public services caused the liveliest discussion among the participants.

According to Sergey Pizikov, project director, 6 focus groups in three regions of Kazakhstan (Almaty, East Kazakhstan and Pavlodar oblasts) are planned to be held with employees of state agencies that provide services. The focus group should consist of 10-12 participants not managers, who are directly involved in the process of providing state services.


GGIF announces Photo Contest Winner

Published in News Wednesday, 31 May 2017 16:29

In early May USAID program Good Governance Initiative Fund announced a Photo Contest among its grantees. Since that time we received a bunch of pictures reflecting GGIF projects in action. According to the contest terms, the winner was to be announced on May 31, 2017. And we did that on that very day.

Currently GGIF has 7 projects underway. 6 out of that number participated in the competition. To be frank, not all images met the contest requirements. We threw away pictures showing people at the table, or somebody was making presentation, or writing something on the board. We needed photos showing project outcomes, its beneficiaries.

Contest panel unanimously selected the winner - Aydos Amanbay, Public Foundation “Foundation for local communities of Enbekshikazakh district. Three pictures sent by him to the contest were announced to be the best. The images focused farmers of Enbekshikazakh district of Almaty oblast getting to know how business portal www.agrobiz.kz works. Portal was created with the aim to improve engagement between government agencies and the farming community, financial institutions, market sector and the population, through the automation of information exchange, SMS-billing, and a unified database of 2500 rural districts and more than 50 000 farms on a national scale.

Audience Choice Award went to the picture of a boy with a colt (photographer is Aydos Amanbay).