Grants, awards and access to the social services market. How NGOs are supported in the Commonwealth of Independent States
Support mechanisms for NGOs and the ways in which the social service sector functions in the Commonwealth of Independent States were discussed by participants at a recent meeting of the Community Forum.
Awards and grants
The Kazakhstan Government has been increasing the amount it spends on NGO social projects year on year, says Zhanargul Alyzhanova, Head of the Department for Cooperation between Civil Society Institutions of the Committee for Civil Society at the Kazakh Ministry of Information.
NGOs are able to apply for State grants, as well as agreeing the themes of grant competitions. According to Alyzhanova, NGO suggestions for project themes are due to be finalised during the first half of 2020, after which details of an NGO competition will be announced.
The award of prizes is another way in which NGOs are supported in Kazakhstan, i.e. to organisations whose involvement leads to the resolution of a particular problem. The minimum prize amount in any category is around 12 million roubles and can be won by as many as four NGOs. Projects are assessed by colleagues from the third sector – Government agencies are not involved in the evaluation process.
More than 120 organisations have been given awards over the past two years. Prize money can be spent on institutional development and there are no reporting requirements.
Social services and a State social Government Order
As in Russia, social services are provided by NGOs in Kazakhstan. A number of amendments were made to NGO legislation in June this year and for the first time in 15 years the republic undertook an analysis of the results of a Government Social Order which allows the contribution of an NGO to and the level of recipient satisfaction for services received to be determined. An Expert Council comprising solely NGOs will, according to Zhanargul, improve the quality of social project implementation.
State procurement of NGO social services in Kyrgyzstan is set out in law. However, assessing the quality and effectiveness of these services is rather difficult given the absence of any minimum social standards in the country, said Nurgazy Dzhumaliev, a representative from the Kyrgyz State Agency for Youth, Physical Education and Sport.
In particular, the cost of these services has not been determined nor have accreditation mechanisms been developed. According to Dzhumaliev, the authorities are planning to introduce a control and monitoring system in this area, with social service providers licensed and properly accredited.
Other forms of NGO support
In order for it to be sustainable, an NGO needs organisational and financial support, says Tatyana Evlampieva, an official from the Department of Social Development and Innovation at the Ministry of Economic Development.
In Uzbekistan, support is provided by a number of agencies including the National Youth Association. According to Rano Shodieva, Director of the Association’s Youth and Disabled Children Centre, the organisation also acts as a resource hub. NGOs also help in the implementation of social projects here.
Every region in Kazakhstan has its own civic centres which offer advice as well as providing training seminars. An Ombudsman Office for Cooperation with NGOs has been established at local and national level. In addition, every Government agency has a dedicated official responsible for working with these organisations. Their contact details are available direct from any NGO.
These matters were discussed at the “Community” Forum meeting, organised by the Federation’s Public Chamber, held on 1 November.