Summer School Focuses on Social Cohesion as an Outcome of Community Development
“Social cohesion examines the strengths and weaknesses of society through aspects of daily life, such as social connectedness, and relationships. The Summer School introduced participants to social cohesion concepts, impact evaluation analysis, applying social cohesion as an outcome of community driven development, and producing an index using survey data with statistical software STATA,” said trainer Dr Kanat Tilekeyev from the University’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration (IPPA).
The 23 participants were from development agencies, non-governmental organisations, and higher education and research institutions in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
“Social cohesion is important area of study in Central Asia. We are transitioning from planning to market economies alongside deteriorating human capital and, altered social and cultural norms,” said Akbar Subkhonov a participant from Tajikistan. “This may have weakened social cohesion among people and the School was an excellent opportunity to learn and discuss this."
Key sessions were delivered by a team of regional and international experts, including Professor Kathryn Anderson, Vanderbilt University, Dr Damir Esenaliev, SIPRI, Dr Mandi M. Larsen, Jacobs University Bremen, and Dr Kanat Tilekeyev, UCA.
"The Summer School focused on the concept and, metrics of social cohesion developed by the Social Cohesion Radar team in Germany. The students who were engaged and active learners, now have the necessary tools to measure social cohesion in the context of their interests," said Dr Larsen.
This is the third joint summer School offered by UCA and SIPRI. The first, on Labour Markets in Central Asia, took place in 2014. The second, on Impact Evaluation Methods in Central Asia, was organised in 2015. Each session was attended by more than 20 Central Asian researchers, young professors, doctoral students and civil servants.
"This iteration is a continuation of our successful series of capacity development training and we made it practical by teaching participants how the concept of social cohesion can be measured with an index," said SIPRI’s Dr Esenaliev.
The two-week training was funded by the World Bank and the Aga Khan Foundation as a part of the Social Cohesion through Community-based Development project implemented in Kyrgyzstan from 2014 to 2017. It is implemented by Mountain Societies Development Support Programme in Kyrgyzstan, with SIPRI and UCA focusing on research and evaluation.
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. Established in 1966, SIPRI provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public.
University of Central Asia’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration
The University of Central Asia’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration provides in-depth analysis of Central Asian economic policies and quality professional development opportunities for civil servants in the region.