pr. Mira 80, kv. #14
The Women's Support Center was established in February 1996 to assist women in need, especially the elderly, single mothers and mothers with many children. The center states that "the discontinuation of the Soviet welfare programs has particularly affected Kyrgyz women, who experience sky-rocketing unemployment and increasing impoverishment due to the economic crisis." The goal of the Women's Support Center is to promote women's entrepreneurship, to provide women with information and legal consultations, to improve their employment opportunities, and to encourage their self-employment.
In its first six months of operation, the Center conducted a survey in Talas oblast and determined that the average unemployment rate among women in the Talas oblast is 80% and reaches 95% in some remote rural areas. The Center came up with a proposal to establish a "Women's Bank," based on the programs implemented by the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh and U.S. Financial International Community Assistance (FINCA), which is currently working in Chuyi and Osh oblasts of Kyrgyzstan. The bank will provide women with small loans at a low interest rate to establish their small businesses and enterprises. Loans will be available to women throughout Kyrgyzstan with an emphasis on the Talas and Naryn oblasts which currently do not receive international support. The Center plans to conduct training programs on small business management, project documentation, accounting, and marketing.
The Center also focuses on educating women on issues of women's health, pregnancy and maternal care by translating, publishing and distributing WHO and UN brochures on nutrition for pregnant women, basic hygiene and family support during pregnancy. In the future, the Center intends to:
- conduct research on social problems faced by impoverished women;
- seek tenders to train women in the production and marketing of their own products;
- teach women how to write business plans and maintain project documentation;
- support projects on environmental protection and women's health issues;
- support and maintain folklore and national traditions.
Last updated: November 1998
A print version of much of the information contained in this Central Asian Third Sector Organizations section can be found in Civil Society in Central Asia (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999).