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New survey on concept of volunteering in Kazakhstan
by Simona Gallese

22 April 2008

Almaty, Kazakhstan: Early results of a survey by United Nations Volunteers in Kazakhstan suggest that the concept of volunteerism is evolving in the country, and can be an effective tool for civil society development. 

Undertaken through a joint initiative by the UN and the Ministry of Information and Culture, the survey gives a snapshot of the current state of the country’s volunteering infrastructure. Identifying the main challenges that hinder the development of volunteerism in the country, it covers perceptions of the concept of volunteering, its regulatory framework, Government incentives, private sector support, volunteer motivations, and the benefits of volunteerism.

According to the survey, Government support would help Kazakhstan to create an environment conducive to local volunteerism. Cooperation with international organizations such as the UN would be useful in promoting various types of volunteer schemes, it found. Based on global 'best practices', these might include volunteer exchange programmes in which Kazakh citizens have the opportunity to share their experiences abroad.

The survey also recommends that stakeholders work closely with the Government to develop an overall integrated strategy for the promotion of volunteerism. This includes the coordination, funding and use of volunteers in government programmes. Finally, it encourages raising public awareness of the benefits of volunteerism, through working with the media and organizing high-profile volunteer events.

The concept is, in fact, already developing in Kazakhstan. The majority of the survey respondents understood it as the desire to contribute to the development of society and the country, and to help other people in need. The Ministry of Culture and Information of Kazakhstan recently announced three different public tenders on promoting development of volunteering in 2008 within the framework of its Social Procurement Law.

The survey was designed to give answers to important questions relating to Kazakhstan's general volunteerism scene. The target is to discover the general understanding of the concept of volunteerism, and to better understand what government policies, legislations, regulations and incentives are already in place to encourage more local volunteerism.

UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)