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Increasing tolerance in selected municipalities to promote social cohesion in Kyrgyzstan

This project supported 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 ran 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 organised 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 provided 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 also piloted a scheme to give small grants to communities, as a result five mini-grant projects were developed and implemented by initiative groups of pilot municipalities aimed at reducing conflict potential, and increasing social tolerance, civic identity and human rights protection .

A dialogue platform was created between local self-government bodies (LSG), religious leaders and civil society, where they identified local social issues and worked together to resolve them within the framework of the Constitution and legislation of Kyrgyz Republic.

This project ran from March 2019 to March 2020.