UN Online Volunteers support a local initiative combating violence against women in Kyrgyzstan
UN Online Volunteers have been supporting the NGO Global Civil Initiatives (GCI), founded by former UN Volunteers in Kyrgyzstan and working to build fair and just societies, with the development of a project targeting a group of women in the Issyk-Kul area of Kyrgyzstan who are vulnerable to violence and discrimination. The online volunteers have researched and shared approaches of how governments, international and civil society organizations as well as local communities in diverse countries are addressing the violence women are exposed to at home, school, work or in the street.
The project addresses the prevention of violence from multiple angles, including identifying and documenting cases, providing immediate rescue, counselling, medical and rehabilitation support to victims of extreme violence, discrimination and trauma. It also aims to empower the women in the project area with knowledge about their human and legal rights, to build their leadership qualities and to train them on organizing awareness-raising workshops at the grassroots level. Currently, online volunteers are contributing to the project’s livelihood skills development, which will enable the women to take up entrepreneurial activities.
Elnura Omurkulova-Ozierska, for example, who holds an M.A. in Politics and International Relations and in Politics and Security in Central Asia, translated two documents from English into Russian aimed at attracting partnerships for projects supporting women’s self-employment in organic farming and eco-friendly enterprises. A citizen of Kyrgyzstan currently residing in Poland, she was interested in supporting GCI to contribute to the development of her country. She also helped GCI establish a relationship with the regional government of Issyk-Kul, which GCI hopes will facilitate the project’s implementation, by sharing her personal contacts obtained when she was Junior Public Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic. “Only a month ago I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. During my maternity leave I looked for opportunities to be professionally active and make a positive impact. At the end of last year I registered as an online volunteer and enthusiastically took on my new tasks.”
Arthur Nielsen Demain from the Philippines is developing an innovative fundraising strategy for women’s organic farming project using social media, online fundraising platforms and partnerships to generate funds that will complement the more traditional resource mobilization approach. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy and currently works for an NGO in the Philippines that focuses on mental health issues. His previous professional experience as Resources Mobilization Officer for a local NGO promoting sustainable agricultural practices through organic farming made him an ideal candidate for the women’s project in Kyrgyzstan. “I love the fact that online volunteerism gives me the chance to make a meaningful impact to the lives of people anywhere in the world from the comfort of my own bedroom,” he says.
“Based on the best practices and approaches shared by the online volunteers, we have developed a comprehensive project to assist victims of gender-based violence. Our experience of working with online volunteers was very rewarding,” GCI says.
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