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Transforming Lives

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Regional media experts sharing their views during a panel discussion on current media challenges and opportunities

Local media in Central Asia are hungry for tools and strategies that will allow them to continue to operate and even thrive in a less-than-optimal advertising market and difficult financial conditions. The recession in Russia has led hundreds of thousands of Central Asian labor migrants to return to their homes, causing a severe drop in remittances, which make up a sizable portion of GDP in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in particular. In addition, regional media agencies face a range of other challenges including insufficient strategic and financial planning skills, trouble retaining professional staff due to low salaries, and lack of reliable audience metrics to attract advertisers. Moreover, the 2015 transition from analog to digital broadcasting remains problematic for most media outlets in the region. Many of them cannot afford to purchase the new equipment they need to produce and broadcast digital content, nor to pay the fees charged by the companies that control access to the digital broadcasting spectrum. In some cases, legal and regulatory obstacles may prevent stations from gaining access to broadcasting frequencies.

Gulzat Tuleeva presenting her guesthouse during a regional business meeting in May 2015

Like many other women entrepreneurs in Kyrgyzstan, Gulzat Tuleeva was able to fulfill her dream of starting a business only after her children were old enough. She launched her hotel business in 2013 when she was 36 years old and had four children with the eldest being already 15. Gulzat’s 12 room guesthouse, Adamkaly (Good Luck), is conveniently placed along the main road in Kochkor city, mountainous Naryn province in central Kyrgyzstan. The year-round guests are mostly business travelers from local businesses, banks, and government agencies. From May through October, Gulzat’s guesthouse also caters to local and international tourists.


Coordinator of NPM Resource Center, Prof. Irys Beybutova with students of nonprofit management course

The Kyrgyz Republic has the most vibrant and diverse civil society in Central Asia. The Government is introducing a social procurement system to directly fund civil society organizations (CSOs) as effective public service providers. At the same time, USAID’s Collaborative Governance Program has worked in parallel to improve the expertise of CSOs through nonprofit management (NPM) education.  This initiative responds to the need within the CSO community for better NPM education so that CSOs can improve the quality of social services, conduct research in support of decision-making, and more effectively advocate for citizens’ needs.

Participants at the October conference review the background materials before a discussion.

The State Agency for Geology and Mineral Resources (SAGMR) of the Kyrgyz Republic is responsible for implementing mining policy, regulating geological exploration and licensing procedures, and conducting tenders and auctions. It is also responsible for informing local communities about policy changes and legal regulations. Despite the wide range of responsibilities, the agency lacked the capacity to effectively manage communication with stakeholders which led to conflicts between mining companies and local communities, slowed production rates, and decreased the sector attractiveness for the investors. Research conducted in eight districts of the Kyrgyz Republic in 2012 showed that many people have a negative attitude to mining companies. 

Mohamed Adbel-Rahman (right) answers questions from local apple farmers

Nuridin Erjigitov, an apple farmer in the Nookat rayon in the Osh province located in the South of the Kyrgyz Republic, faces a problem every autumn: he has more apples than he can sell at a good price. Thousands of other small-scale farmers in Nookat rayon, a major apple producer for the Kyrgyz market, also face this same challenge.  They can choose to sell the apples when market prices are low due to high supply, or store the apples and sell later when supply is low and prices are high.  Many small-scale farmers, however, sell when prices are low because they lack access to suitable storage facilities and knowledge of proper postharvest techniques.


Last updated: August 11, 2015

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