Kyrgyzstan Political Processes Program: IRI

Youth activists attend a public hearing organized by IRI in Jalal-abad oblast
Youth activists attend a public hearing organized by IRI in Jalal-abad oblast

April 1, 2012 – September 30, 2016

Implementing Partner:
International Republican Institute (IRI)

Total budget (for Consortium): $7,845,732

Key Partners:
Parliament, Political parties, Osh city council

Activity Locations:

Activity Goals

The Kyrgyzstan Political Processes Program is a four-year program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID).  This program is implemented by all three members of the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS):

  • International Republic Institute (IRI)
  • National Democratic Institute (NDI)
  • International Foundation for Elections Support (IFES)

IRI works to consolidate the Kyrgyz Republic’s democratic path by supporting the development of a multi-party political system with strong, national parties, developing the next generation of leaders by equipping youth and women with the skills to actively engage in the political process and improving local government transparency and responsiveness.

Activity Major Focus Areas

IRI focuses on strengthening political party capacity to address key areas of citizen concern, particularly by encouraging the development of issue-based platforms and campaigns and improving political party organization and management with a special focus on regional offices.

During elections, IRI strengthens electoral processes by working closely with parties and civil society to provide candidate and campaign workshops as well as extensive, nationwide election observer training for political party members. IRI also conducts national voter education campaigns in order to better inform both rural and urban citizenry across multiple demographics.

IRI provides active youth with training on leadership and civic education and encourages them to undertake community projects that utilize these skills.  IRI also works closely with women in political parties to empower them to take a more active part in decision-making processes on the regional and national level.

Through our democratic governance work, IRI brings together government officials and citizens to address community issues.  Working with the Osh City Council, IRI is helping build the capacity of councilmembers to actively participate in oversight, debate and law-making, which improves democratic processes and enables this key institution to be more independent and accountable.

Activity Accomplishments

IRI’s Youth Parliament program engaged youth activists throughout the country to participate in political discussion.  During the 15-month project, conducted from September 2013 to November 2014, participants attended mock-parliamentary sessions and held regional public hearings to discuss priority issues, garner public opinion and compose policy recommendations which were submitted to national and local government bodies.  A number of the Youth Parliament’s policy recommendations were considered by municipal governments – including in Jalalabad, where the city hall and oblast administration discussed three recommendations for improving youth employment, and passed one piece of official legislation on the local school system.  During the program, participants also conducted a national survey interviewing nearly 1,400 respondents on problems within the education system, and utilized the data in composing policy recommendations for education reforms. In recent months, IRI facilitated a debate camp and tournament for youth members of political parties, culminating in a nationally-televised debate between the party finalists.

In recent years, IRI’s work with women resulted in the formation of a nationwide women’s political network – the Zhenskaya Demokraticheskaya Set.  The Network supports women’s issues and advocates for an increased role for women in decision-making processes in the political and social spheres. Through the Network, IRI aims to increase the number of women candidates in local and national elections.  As a result of IRI’s support, the Network has gained more than 4,000 members nationwide, with over 30 of whom have been invited by their respective party leadership to participate as candidates in the 2015 parliamentary elections.

In Osh, IRI aims to develop the skills and knowledge of city council members and increase council engagement with citizens.  Following an exchange to Mongolia to witness local-level administrative reforms, the Osh City Council began to enact reforms to further engagement with citizens, primarily through the establishment of a city council website with a mechanism designed to accept and respond to citizen input.  With support from IRI, the Osh City Council recently formed a new division tasked with strengthening interactive communication between local citizens and government.