Engaging influential indigenous actors in the battle against gender violence

Prominent organizations like UN Women have had a longstanding presence in the country, and numerous significant donors have dedicated years to combating gender-based violence. Nonetheless, the outcomes of the majority of projects and programs aimed at addressing violence against women, which have been carried out thus far, reveal that the existing approaches lack effectiveness. This is primarily due to the insufficient recognition and engagement of vital indigenous actors, particularly Kyrgyz-speaking activists and traditional and nationalist groups.

The legal framework also demonstrates shortcomings, representing the “darker” aspect of traditional society. Indigenous women often experience pressure from family and relatives who implore them to “keep family matters private” and “avoid bringing shame to the family and clan.” Consequently, they frequently find themselves unable to seek recourse through the judicial system. In 2021, out of 10,151 reported cases of domestic violence, a mere 256 (2.5%) proceeded to legal proceedings.

The actions of the project:

  • Applied research to identify influential indigenous actors to impact population groups where violence is more prevalent. These groups frequently comprise men from rural areas with irregular employment, typically aged between 20 and 55 years.
  • Conducting a series of participatory meetings with influential indigenous actors to explore strategies for their active participation in the actions aimed at combating gender-based violence
  • Conceptualizing an activity (ies) jointly with influential indigenous actors. This activity may take various forms, such as a TV show, YouTube series, flash mob, or any other format, to be determined collaboratively with the indigenous actors, respecting the traditional community’s worldview.
  • Implementing the activity (ies) jointly developed with the influential indigenous actors to drive the project’s objectives.