[English] Promoting gender equality and equal access to education in Kyrgyzstan with our local partner Novi Ritm

For several years, Centralasiengrupperna has closely cooperated with our partner organization Novi Ritm in Southern Kyrgyzstan to promote active and meaningful participation of young people in the civil society sector. CAG has supported Novi Ritm in the implementation of activities that aim to increase the capacities of young people to influence their own lives and the lives of the communities they come from.

One of the goals of the running project with Novi Ritm is to create equal education opportunities for young people and to inform local youth about their civil rights. 

This blogpost is dedicated to the most recent activities at Novi Ritm that involved a wide range of young people from different regions and backgrounds. The activities focused on providing young people from rural communities of Kyrgyzstan with non-formal education opportunities and on informing the local youth on gender-related topics.  

Context: The society of Kyrgyzstan is characterized by ageism and patriarchal norms. These norms are more prominent in certain areas of Kyrgyzstan, especially in the south of the country and in rural areas. This has a direct impact on young people’s access to opportunities and information. Generally speaking, young people from rural communities and small towns in Kyrgyzstan usually do not have access to non-formal education, which is essential to meet the diverse learning needs of young people. The formal school system often fails to provide the students with enough knowledge on how they can fulfill and exercise their civil rights. This leads to an information gap about such topics as gender equality and women’s rights.

To create equal education opportunities and to promote gender equality among the young people, Novi Ritm organized non-formal educational activities for schoolchildren from the regions of Osh, Batken and Jalal Abad.

In particular, Novi Ritm held a series of intensive training sessions for schoolchildren to increase their gender sensitivity. During the sessions, the topics of gender-based violence and other forms discrimination were discussed. Additionally, Novi Ritm organized open classes dedicated to activism as a tool to prevent gender violence and discrimination, and an exhibition on women’s and girl’s rights.


Trainings for schoolchildren on gender sensitivity, Mayluu-Suu


Trainings for schoolchildren on gender sensitivity, Kara-Suu

According to Novi Ritm, working with youth from the rural areas of Kyrgyzstan is very inspiring: they strive for opportunities to make a positive change in their communities. To showcase, teachers and schoolchildren in Kara-Suu were actively engaged in and affected by the discussions about gender-related violence. After the training, they organized a peaceful protest to speak out against gender-based violence in Kyrgyzstan and to contribute to changing society’s perception on patriarchal norms. 

Novi Ritm has also organized several trainings for school and university teachers on gender-related issues. Conservative and traditional outlooks on gender roles are especially prominent among the older part of the population, which is why Novi Ritm finds it crucial to work with teachers.

Teachers have a substantial impact on shaping students’ attitudes towards gender roles. Therefore, improving teachers’ gender sensitivity contributes to reducing the overall level of gender-based violence and discrimination in schools in Kyrgyzstan.


Trainings for school and university teachers on gender-based violence

Novi Ritm’s initiatives aim to address gender inequality and gender-based violence, as well as also to expand access to non-formal education for girls and empower girls through education. For example, every year on the International Day of the Girl Child Novi Ritm holds events for girls that promote the importance of education. 

Additionally, Novi Ritm launched a mentorship program this year, which enables the transfer of knowledge and experiences of the young people previously involved in the activities of Novi Ritm to the volunteers that are new to the organization. Novi Ritm adopts a rotational system to ensure that a wide range of people can get involved in its work. The organization believes that the transfer of knowledge between the new and experienced volunteers contributes to social changes in South Kyrgyzstan and makes the youth more active in the society.

Here is what Aiza Sabirova, one of the mentors of Novi Ritm, says about her experience of participating in the mentorship program:

“During the short period of being a mentor, I’ve already managed to get a lot of meaningful experience. The communication with the volunteers has been very effective, and I’ve met a lot of like-minded people. Thanks to them, I have a huge motivation and ideas that we would like to implement together in the near future. I can already see the results of our work: we are arranging a charity theme party, all funds from which will go to people in need.”


You can read more about Novi Ritm and follow their projects via the links below: