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Increasing tolerance in selected municipalities to promote social cohesion in Kyrgyzstan

This project aims to support civic participation and peaceful dialogue between communities, religious groups and local authorities in Kyrgyzstan.

Freedom of religion and religious organisations are enshrined in the constitution and laws of Kyrgyzstan. But there can be tensions between religious organisations and authorities over the roles of each in society.

Focusing on six municipalities in Chui, Issyk-Kul, Naryn and Osh oblasts (regions), we will run focus groups between community members, religious leaders and local government officials to discuss the spheres of influence of the state and religious organisations, and ways to peacefully maintain the role of the state as the main social and political authority.

We will organise public debates and discussions on the role of religion in a secular state, where religious leaders and local government officials can hear from civil society members representing a range of views and experiences, including different ethnicities, religions and genders.

We will provide training for religious leaders in mediation, conflict analysis and resolution, gender issues, and the social and legal role of religion and religious organisations in the country.

In Chui and Osh, we will also pilot a scheme to give small grants to communities to enable them to maintain dialogue with religious organisations and to develop programmes to increase tolerance and mutual understanding and help prevent conflicts.

This project runs from March 2019 to March 2020.