Our Perspective

“I’m Not Afraid to Tell”: How Kazakh women are breaking the silence on gender-based violence

28 Jul 2016

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By Dina Teltayeva Over the past few months, I’ve witnessed as women in Kazakhstan break their silence on sexual violence. A campaign titled #ЯнеБоюсьСказать (I’m not afraid to tell) и НеМолчи (Don’t keep Quiet) has led to many women sharing their stories. One of them is Dina Tansari (pictured), a well-known TV producer. “…I was unconscious. They left me in front of my flat, rang the bell, and ran away. In the morning I couldn’t remember anything, except for my mum’s screams when she found me…,” she wrote on her Facebook wall.   Dina has spoken up after two decades of torturing silence. When she was twenty, her own classmates drugged her at a wedding party and gang-raped her. Her mother rented an out-of-town flat for Dina when she found out about the incident because she couldn’t bear the shame that her daughter had brought to the family. She was left alone with her tragedy. #IamNotAfraidtoTell was started by Ukrainian journalist Anastasiya Melnichenko. The speed with which it has spread throughout the Russian-speaking social media is shocking in itself. After reading many of these stories, I decided to take a closer look at the official statistics on violence against women in Kazakhstan. The latest information available  Read More

On the fact-finding mission to the regions of Kazakhstan: Uncovering hidden knowledge and forging friendship with the local executive authorities

25 Jul 2016

image PICTURE. PROJECT ARCHIVE. Seminar in Karaganda.

By Bakhytzhan Kurmanov Within the period of just 2 weeks, the joint delegation of the UNDP and the Ministry of National Economy alongside a professional business trainer and other officials visited more than 8 cities in all parts of Kazakhstan. The delegation had to rely on air, rail and land transport to get to some remote cities in the harsh conditions of Kazakh continental winter. Airports were shut down, roads got constrained and trains occasionally missed the schedule. Despite tight deadlines and blocked roads, the organizer’s team had just 14 days to cover all Kazakhstan’s regions to deliver its ultimate mission of explaining the new model of the assessment system. However, the goal of the trip was not to give ordinary presentations or organize public lectures to show the best practices to regional officials, but to uncover problems and establish effective relationships with the people who were implementing the assessment system of efficiency of state bodies at regional and local level. From Aktau and Pavlodar to Taldykorgan and Shymkent officials of local executive bodies (akimaty) actively participated in the interactive and frank dialogue that facilitated cooperative discovery of hidden potential and problems of the existing model of the assessment system.  First, the  Read More

Drip, drop. Can innovations save water in Kazakhstan?

15 Jul 2016

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Frankly speaking, I had never given much thought to how and where my water comes from until I moved to Astana. The quality of water in Astana is far worse than in Almaty, where I came from, and suddenly water became an issue in my life. For instance, although tap water here is considered suitable for drinking, many residents prefer to buy bottled water or install filters. The outlook for Kazakhstan shows that the country might experience a 50% water shortage by 2040. Outdated facilities, a focus on modernization rather than saving, lack of water specialists capable of taking accurate stock of water use and consumption, and poor coordination among ministries responsible for water management all contribute to this risk. According to the Nature journal, as of October 2014, Central Asia in general is considered a large water-waster relative to the size of its economies and populations. In Kazakhstan, this is due to two factors: over-reliance of the economy on extensive agriculture that applies traditional methods and heavy industry such as mining, both of which demand extremely high amounts of water. The country is increasing incentives to save water in all economic sectors, especially agriculture, which accounts for 66% of water loss. This includes  Read More

NEW WORLD PROJECT

03 May 2016

There was a time when our region was green, crop production and pastures were well supplied by the sufficient amount of water. The river Syrdarya was full of water and more than 2500 community were settled on that time. Everyone was happy and had enough food for the household. For the last 25 years, the water in the delta region of Syrdaya river has completely dried out, the water channels were filled up by clays and no water now in our regions, the majority of the community are left out the region and few households remained and continued to live in such unbearable socio ecological conditions. Unfortunately my family was one of those few families, who had to stay because we had no place to go. It was hard to my dad to take care of our family, he used to bring pure water from 30 km far using a horse and rarely by car if his friends were able to support. We had about 9 ha of productive irrigated land which my dad had to squeeze down his farming land into 0,8 ha because of shortage of irrigation water. It has to be mentioned that the quality of water was  Read More

Is it expensive to build energy efficient houses in Kazakhstan?

22 Feb 2016

image New energy-efficient building at 106/6 Yermekova Street, Karaganda

By Saya Kakim, Communications Specialist A common belief is that building energy-efficient houses can be costly. I wondered if it was really so and decided to do my own research. Given that in almost all of Kazakhstan climate is severely continental, with cold winters and hot summers, people choose their homes based not only on the conventional factors, such as location and size, but they also consider  whether their prospective homes are warm enough during winters.  With urban multi-apartment buildings having no individual control over heating for each flat, energy efficient houses generally offer more comfortable living conditions. Energy efficiency of a building could be improved by the use of thermal insulation, modern window frames and doors that prevent heat losses, as well as heat consumption controllers, such as thermostatic valves for radiators. It is a common belief that construction of energy efficient buildings involves a variety of additional costs, which add up quickly and can significantly affect the price of a home in terms of cost per square meter. Is this statement true? Let’s look at key measures that enhance energy efficiency of houses and what effect they have on a price of a square meter. A pilot project implemented by  Read More

Fostering women’s economic participation in Kazakhstan and Mongolia through knowledge sharing

18 Feb 2016

By Dina Teltayeva, Communications Associate in Kazakhstan Stepanka Pechakova, UN Youth Volunteer in Communications, Outreach and Youth in Mongolia ‘My recent visit to Mongolia has inspired me to do this fashion show,’ Tarbiya Aidymbayeva says, looking excitedly at curtains separating the backstage from the runway, with a few minutes left before the start of the show. Tarbiya started her own company 17 years ago. Her work centers on making national costumes and on reviving traditional arts. ‘I try to minimize computerized imaging. Authenticity is the key to comfortable and astounding outfits,’ she says showing high-end floor-skimming dresses adorned with Kazakh ethnic ornaments and elaborate headwear alternate with more formal knee-length cocktail dresses. Tarbiya was one of 18 Kazakh women who took part in a study visit to Mongolia, organized by UNDP in Kazakhstan and in Mongolia in October 2015. During the visits in Ulaanbaatar region women entrepreneurs, civil societies’ leaders, and representatives of the Kazakh National Commission for Women Affairs, Ministry of National Economy, the Agency for Civil Service Affairs and Combating Corruption, the Fund for Financial Support of Agriculture, visited women-led businesses ranging from textile and leather production to food processing. Mongolia and Kazakhstan have a lot in common, including similar  Read More

Feast or famine in rural Kazakhstan

01 Feb 2016

image A new crop: Testing out drought resistant watermelons in Kyzylorda

by Dina Teltayeva Rice grows best in moist conditions. It can’t grow in arid areas unless the field is properly irrigated. This is why 90 percent of the land in the dry region of Kyzylorda, is kept irrigated. The only problem is that this area has also always been Kazakhstan’s biggest rice producer and provider for the other Central Asian countries, with the bulk of its economy relying on it. The question I had – as I stood in a field in Kyzylorda for the first time in my life, talking to farmers about new drought-resistant methods – was this: Why would anyone choose this drought-prone land to grow water-intensive rice? A legacy of the past – says UNDP land management expert Firuz Ibragimov. In the Soviet Union a decision was made to determine which crops could be grown best and where. Kyzylorda was chosen for growing rice based on the analysis of soil and climate and proximity to the Syrdarya River. At that time the region was abundant with water and there was no need to build artificial water reservoirs in Kazakhstan. According to Ibragimov: “Presently, however, a lot of Central Asian countries, now independent, have created plenty of water reservoirs for water  Read More

Greening water sector of Kazakhstan is the only solution for sustainable economy.

22 Dec 2015

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Economic recession has brought attention of many policy makers to take a closer look into a Green Economy model. Kazakhstan is among the countries that have adopted a concept of transition to a Green economy model as a strategy to move towards a more sustainable economy.  Now what is Green economy? The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) defines green economy as “one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.” So, green economy generates growth, creates employment and reduces poverty, whilst protecting natural resources. Shifting to green economy requires careful use of natural resources, especially water that differs from other resources. Water is more fundamental for all forms of life, ecosystems, social and economic development of all nations. Water is considered as a renewable resource but its deposits are limited. Due to climate change, urbanization, industrialization and population growth, the amount of water globally is decreasing. Unfortunately, Kazakhstan is not an exception. Deputy Chairman of the Water resources committee of Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan said that every year water flow volume in Kazakhstan is decreasing. The country faces shortage of both fresh water, and water used for industrial and agricultural purposes,  Read More

First Parking Day in Almaty: How else can one use parking space?

05 Oct 2015

image Нажмите на фотографию, чтобы просмотреть остальные фотографии с республиканской конференции

Supported by Akimat of Almaty, the UNDP/GEF CAST project has held the first festival of urban «parking space» included in the framework of the «Car Free Day». Its was to demonstrate the inefficiency of the use of space when it's occupied by a parked vehicle, and presented alternatives for the use of parking space. The campaign has turned into a bright, creative and inspiring event. Almaty designers, artists and young architects used parking spots to organise so-called «parklets» - mini-zones for recreation - where citizens could take rest and see for themselves how the urban space can be changed in just one day. Participant and Public Coordinator of campaign, landscape architect of the GOROD projects' laboratory, Katerina Novoselova said: «The purpose of the Parking Day is to show that the city is a common space for all of us and how the vast territories occupied by vehicles could turn into parks, cafes and recreation areas for our citizens. This campaign is a small drop in people's consciousness, an attempt to demonstrate to the citizens that our city is communal and we're able to fill it with useful content. It was a great pleasure for me to work with UNDP/GEF project in  Read More

How UNDP improves social partnership in East Kazakhstan?

24 Jun 2015

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Mira Beisenova, Communication specialist, UN Joint programme in East Kazakhstan  “Lack of experience and knowledge of effective business planning, poor networking, lack of start-up capital or pledged assets. Those are obstacles in development of rural entrepreneurship. An NGO can acts as an effective catalyst of the existing entrepreneurship state and non-state programmes. UNDP contributed a lot to capacity building of the local NGOs in East Kazakhstan…”, said Shynar Sultan, SME support consultant of the UN Joint programme in East Kazakhstan. Our local partner in rural entrepreneurship development – public fund "Development of Youth Entrepreneurship" is our local partner in rural entrepreneurship development in East Kazakhstan. It serves as a bridge between all stakeholders: UNDP, Government of Kazakhstan and entrepreneurs, new and old. Especially vulnerable groups of the region appreciated organizational, advisory and financial support provided.  UNDP assigned 133,000 USD and helped to fundraise 770,000 USD in a partnership with this NGO from other sources. After 4 years of close collaboration we can see its results through 24 projects realized together. Let us share one of the successful project stories within the "Green Business" initiative. “Healthy food. Made in Kazakhstan” East Kazakhstan is famous for the production of honey. Almost every village has  Read More