Partnership for Innovations Program Concludes, Strengthening Civil Society in Central Asia

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At the end of the Web Academy Hackathon that was held for the first time in Uzbekistan
At the end of the Web Academy Hackathon that was held for the first time in Uzbekistan
ARGO

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

On March 31, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) successfully completed its regional Partnership for Innovations program, implemented by Civil Society Development Association (ARGO) in collaboration with partners from across Central Asia and Azerbaijan.

The program ran from 2016-2021 in Central Asia and strengthened the capacity of civil society organizations to foster effective engagement with local and national government agencies to promote positive change and improve citizens’ access to services throughout the region.

SMALL GRANTS PROGRAM

Through its small grants program, the Partnership for Innovations program contributed to successful linkages between non-governmental organizations (NGOs), promotion and adoption of social innovations, exchange of knowledge and skills for inclusive and participatory engagement, and a vision for civil society development in Central Asia. A total of 101 grants worth $773,254 USD were awarded to support NGO advocacy initiatives promoting public interests through constructive dialogue with government agencies and inclusive participation in the legislative process.

Thanks to capacity building through the regional small grants program, civil society leaders not only established dialogue with national and local authorities, but also successfully advocated for the implementation of a strong legislative framework. This has had a significant impact on the lives of local residents in target countries (approximately 600,000 people), due in no small part to their successful advocacy for the right to fair housing, improved quality of life for the elderly, the elimination of products containing mercury, access to green technologies, and support for sustainable development.

Kaisha Atakhanova, Chief of Party for the Partnership for Innovations program, notes that the impacts of the program will continue to resonate in the region. “For us NGO leaders and civic activists from Central Asia, ‘Partnership for Innovations’ was not just a program, but something much bigger. Thanks to USAID, we were able to improve the lives of program beneficiaries in the countries of Central Asia, support more advocacy and social initiatives, and advance the interests of vulnerable groups and local communities. The program also proved its effectiveness in Uzbekistan, where pilot NGOs and public councils developed new competencies and are demonstrating sustainable results,” said Atakhanova.

NGO WEB ACADEMY, ONLINE PLATFORM, AND INTERACTIVE MAP

Partnership for Innovations included the launch of an NGO web academy, a practical and accessible online learning tool for civil society representatives. The convenient tool supported knowledge and skill-building for NGOs in both urban and rural communities, serving to fill the opportunity gaps which have historically led to uneven civil society development. ARGO developed 49 distance-learning courses that have also been translated into Central Asia’s national languages. To date, a total of 1,912 students have registered for the NGO web academy since its official launch in June 2018, including from Uzbekistan.

In addition to the web academy, a regional online platform was created as part of the Partnership for Innovations program. The platform publishes analytical material, policy information, educational resources, news about the sector, essays, and other resources to support information exchange and continued professional development of civic leaders and activists. The platform has primarily attracted a younger generation of civic activists. In the four years since the platform’s launch, it has received over 1 million visitors.

The Partnership for Innovations team also created an interactive online map using Google Maps. The program map includes the locations of all grant recipients, their contact information, photos, and project summaries. The map provides a visualization for the scale of the small grants program.

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USAID is the world’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. For more information, visit the USAID Central Asia website: https://www.usaid.gov/central-asia-regional and Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/USAIDCentralAsia.

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Last updated: June 22, 2021

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