AKF fosters the development of resilient, values-based civil society in Tajikistan

9 months ago Web Desk 0

While the government has pledged support for the development of civil society organizations (CSOs), Tajikistan faces challenges with the legal enabling environment for non-governmental organizations, with implications for the financial sustainability of the non-profit sector, according to the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).


Meanwhile, the decreasing number of young adults engaged within civil society may undermine CSOs’ role in supporting Tajikistan to realize goals within its National Development Strategy. There is need to build the organizational and technical capacity of CSOs to improve their productivity and enhance their impact, while supporting the public’s understanding of civil society’s role in developing and advancing concepts of national unity, social cohesion and civic engagement.


The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) aims to develop resilient, values-based civil societies, which demonstrate greater competency, legitimacy, accountability, and sustainability. Our experience in grassroots poverty alleviation has indicates that community-based civil society structures are the foundations of development. AKF reportedly achieves this by enhancing capacities for collective action, strengthening values-based societies, strengthening transparency and accountability, and improving resources, services and economic assets. Since 1993, AKF has engaged over 1,900 village organizations to empower women, men and youth to meaningfully participate in local decision-making processes.


AKF establishes, strengthens, and partners with community-based civil society organizations (CSOs) representing over 1.4 million rural constituents in governance, education, health, emergency management, water and sanitation, and natural resource management sectors. AKF leverages its organizational capacity assessment and organizational performance index tools to build the capacity of these grassroots civil society entities to build trust, accountability and self-reliance.


In 2017, AKF supported the country’s first-ever Parliamentary Committee focused on the role of civil society in realizing goals outlined in the National Development Strategy of Tajikistan for 2015 – 2030, and related UN Sustainable Development Goals. In 2019, it advanced the hearing recommendations for closer engagement between civil society and government by facilitating the fifth national civil society forum, attended by more than 40 Public Organizations across the country, including representatives from the Presidential Office, National Parliament, Ministry of Justice, Tax Committee, donors and intergovernmental agencies. The resultant joint resolution was shared with the Presidential Office and relevant Ministries to create an enabling environmental for the development of civil society in Tajikistan.


In 2020, AKF and the Committee on the Local Development of the Parliament of Tajikistan reportedly facilitated policy discussions on the Public Self Initiative Bodies Law of the Republic of Tajikistan (PSIB). Challenges, such as the consistency of the PSIB law with the Law on Public Associations, communities’ ownership over community resources, and strengthening mahalla committees by granting them more authority were discussed.


AKF empowers all segments of the community – women, men, youth, and the elderly – to participate meaningfully in local decision-making processes. AKF supports village development planning workshops for communities to identify their key priorities through a participatory process involving the most marginalized members of communities.


AKF supports inclusive social and economic development across the country by linking priorities identified through participatory village development planning processes to district and regional development plans, thereby connecting governance supply and demand while aligning public resources around community priorities and needs. This alignment has enabled the implementation of over 3,600 micro-projects since 2014 in partnership with civil society and local authorities.


Source: Asia Plus