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CSI Hosts Regional Forum on Gender Equality

Civil Society Initiative
23 November 2023

UCA’s Graduate School of Development's Civil Society Initiative (CSI), hosted the School for the Advancement of Gender Equality (SAGE) Regional Forum in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The Forum served as a platform for knowledge-sharing, peer-support, innovation, and advocacy on the latest challenges and trends within a gender context in Central Asia. Its primary objective was to facilitate meaningful collaborations among gender equality advocates in the region. The event brought together 40 representatives of state, regional, and civil society organisations, academia, national and regional experts, activists, journalists from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.

During the two-day Forum, SAGE participants were exposed to enriching sessions where key international experts delivered presentations on gender-related topics. The event leaders fostered open dialogues and knowledge creation on various subjects, including the ecosystem for promoting gender leadership, research for gender advocacy, women's participation in politics, and gender issues in the media space.

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Gender equality specialist from Kazakstan (centre) sharing her experience with forum participants.

Aliya Khamidullina, a SAGE graduate and journalist from Tajikistan, highlighted the significance of topics at the forum: “The session on gender in media, particularly approaches to addressing gender-sensitive topics and terminology, was enlightening. It broadened my perspective beyond the experiences of my home country. It made me realise that Central Asia as a region has common challenges.”

Larisa Kuznetsova, a SAGE graduate, director of “Smile KG” civil society organisation, and representative of the Kyrgyz Association for Education (KAE), stated, “As a member of KAE, we plan to develop a gender policy for our organisation. Thanks to the knowledge gained at the forum, we now realise how important it is to have such a policy in place and adhere to it. It plays a crucial role in promoting gender equality, fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace, and ensuring compliance with legal and ethical standards,”

UCA’s CSI, with the support of the Government of Canada-funded Programme, Foundations for Health and Empowerment (F4HE), and Advancing Gender Equality through Civil Society (AGECS), launched SAGE in 2021. The main aim of the AGECS programme is capacity-building in gender equality and gender advocacy, providing a platform for peer support, knowledge sharing, and piloting of innovative projects through small grants programme for civil society organisations, women's groups, community leaders, journalists, and bloggers in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

In 2021, CSI initiated an online SAGE programme aimed at supporting women's rights, gender equality, and enhancing the institutional competencies of women-led organisations in Central Asia. This year, CSI successfully concluded the Second Cycle of SAGE, which encompassed a 15-week Advanced Gender Advocacy Programme followed by small grants awarded to qualified applicants among SAGE graduates from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

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