University Courses Target Kyrgyz Civil Society Groups

Coordinator of NPM Resource Center, Prof. Irys Beybutova with students of nonprofit management course
Professor Irys Beybutova with students from a nonprofit management course
Collaborative Governance Program
New classes offered on nonprofit management
“I believe that civil society organizations should play the role of bridges between government and society. I want to open my own nonprofit organization and help people.”

August 2015—The Kyrgyz Republic is home to some of the most vibrant and diverse civil society organizations (CSOs) in Central Asia. And education is making those organizations stronger and better-equipped to carry out their mission—serving the needs of the citizens.

The Kyrgyz Government is currently introducing a procurement system to directly fund CSOs as effective public service providers. At the same time, USAID’s Collaborative Governance Program—which works to strengthen the CSOs’ ability to influence public policy and ensure government transparency—has been working to improve CSO expertise through nonprofit management (NPM) education. The education is designed to help CSOs improve the quality of social services, conduct research in support of decision-making, and more effectively advocate for the citizenry.

In 2013, the  Collaborative Governance Program helped establish a 15-member Consortium of Universities. Consortium members developed two university-level NPM courses—Introduction to NPM and NPM in the Modern World—available to over 550 students in the 2014-2015 academic year.

A student survey of the first academic year revealed that 96 percent of students thought the courses were useful, 69 percent would like to proceed to the next level, and 66 percent would like to open their own CSO in the future.

“I believe that CSOs should play the role of bridges between government and society,” said a fourth-year student taking one of the courses. “I want to open my own nonprofit organization and help people. The NPM courses helped me understand how to achieve my personal goals and broaden my vision of CSOs’ role in the society.”  

The Consortium also manages two NPM Resource Centers in Bishkek and Osh supporting the advancement of NPM education and CSOs countrywide. The Resource Center at Kyrgyz National University in Bishkek has already hosted 15 guest lectures, six professional development workshops for university professors to develop NPM syllabi and courses, and four workshops on successful grant proposal writing for over 1,000 representatives of civil society, the private sector and academia.

In 2015, the Collaborative Governance Program is planning to open a third NPM Resource Center and launch a third NPM course—“Financial Management in Nonprofits.” The program, which is implemented by East-West Management Institute in coordination with the Center for Civil Society Studies at the Johns Hopkins University, runs from 2013 to 2018.


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