The “Empowerment Now!” Project was implemented from 2012-2014.

This project was implemented by ALE “Civil Society Development Association (ARGO)” in cooperation with three partner organizations: public association “Namys”, public association “Shyrak” and public association “ASRIV,” with the financial support of USAID. ARGO initiatives on setting a dialogue with the government and advocacy campaign influenced legislation on supporting vulnerable population groups.
Project’s goals:

  • Improve the social and economic conditions of people with disabilities, especially women and children, through educational campaigns on public awareness raising;
  • Improve the organizational and developmental capacity of local network of organizations including people with disabilities; enhance their effectiveness in providing services to people with disabilities and support their rights along with gender equality of women and children with disabilities.

The “Empowerment Now!” Program was aimed at improving the social and economic conditions of people with disabilities in Kazakhstan. As a result of ARGO’s work, the organizational and advocacy capacity of local and national level disability-focused CSOs has increased. National research identifying disability related issues was conducted. The project’s information and educational campaign on raising awareness among Kazakhstani citizens about the lives of people with disabilities covered over 3.7 million people. Significant work was carried out to develop partnerships with local executive and central authorities. The main outcome of the “Empowerment Now!” Program was the round table conducted by ARGO jointly with the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection. There, it was stated for the first time that real steps would be undertaken in Kazakhstan in order to adopt the International Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. The Republic of Kazakhstan had waited six years for this ratification and subsequent legislation.

ARGO initiated and supported the Ministry of Justice of Tajikistan in conducting the first conference where a dialogue between Tajikistan’s civil society and the government took place. A representative of the Ministry of Justice of Tajikistan participated in Kazakhstan’s Sixth Civic Forum within a delegation of ARGO. This experience inspired her to conduct a similar forum in her country.

Organized by the Ministry of Justice of Tajikistan and supported by ARGO, the “Sustainable NGOs as a Factor of Civil Society Development of the Republic of Tajikistan” conference was held in Dushanbe. The conference resulted in 20 recommendations from public organizations, and two of them were adopted:
1) Introduction of a single reporting form for SCOs;
2) Mandatory meetings between local authorities and SCOs to be held on a monthly basis, and a meeting between the country’s government and SCOs to be held annually.