Transparent and inclusive governance through innovation and collaboration for civil society
In recent years, Uzbekistan witnessed a movement of citizens and NGOs, in state and public governance. In particular, state programmes and legislative acts are undergoing public discussions. platforms collecting citizens’ opinions, appeals, initiatives and proposalshave been launched. Government agencies now include Public Councils, and a Public Chamber has been established under the President.
Establishing an effective feedback mechanism between authorities and citizens, public control and citizens’involvement in the decision-making process contribute to public authorities’ accountability towards the population, ensures transparency and accountability of their activities. Despite innovative approaches and methods being more and more part of these processes, NGOs face complexities and limitations.
Nationwide movement “Yuksalish” and ACTED, , are implementing the project ’Transparent and inclusive governance through innovation and collaboration between civil society and local authorities’ in Uzbekistan with EU support.
The objective of the project is to enable civil society organisations (CSOs) to engage as actors of governance and development in Uzbekistan. The project aims to enhance the capacity of civil society and local authorities in Xorazm, Qashqadaryo and Fergana provinces through networking, innovation and the creation of Public Councils.
ACTED Project Manager Shakhnoza Djabbarova explains «A preliminary study of the situation in the field showed that in a number of regions NGOs and citizens have difficulties in interacting with local authorities. In particular, in the Fergana region it is more difficult for Local Authorities (LAs) to provide consultations and respond to the needs of the citizens, which hinders the level of trust in authorities. Therefore, it was decided to focus on those three regions, to build the capacity of civil society and local authorities, while at the same time fostering their cooperation through Public Councils. NGOs have a great potential to support citizens and also to cooperate with LAs, engaging themselves as important governance actors. They are able to more successfully protect the interests of citizens, because NGO activists find effective forms of interaction with the public..." says Shakhnoza Djabbarova.
Through this project, Yuksalish and ACTED aim to provide the Uzbek civil society with the instruments for becoming an important governance actor.
The gained knowledge, skills and experience allow the participants to establish mutual and constuctive dialogue, to hold public hearings and more effectively use public control mechanisms- Yuksalish Project Manager Aziz Baratov
«Among important tasks of Nationwide movement “Yuksalish” is the mobilisation of efforts of government agencies’, non-governmental non-profit organizations and other institutions of the civil society as well as citizens to implement reforms in all spheres of society...The purpose of the activities is to increase the capacity of Civil Society Organisations and Local Authorities, to introduce inclusive governance and public control processes at the local level through Public Councils, as well as to encourage constructive participation of the civil society in the decision-making process..." Yuksalish Project Manager Aziz Baratov.
Between 7 May and 25 May 2020 , Yuksalish and ACTED held a competitive selection of pilot NGOs from Khorezm, Qashqadarya and Fergana regions. A total of around 50 applications were received and examined by an expert commission including representatives of international organisations, specialists from public structures and parliamentarians. 15 pilot NGOs working in the development of civil society and promoting cooperation between NGOs and local authorities were chosen to participate. Additionally, the commission recommended 4more “reserve” NGOs in need of capacity building. These organisations are involved in project activities with pilot NGOs.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most activities are carried out using innovative technologies in online format. Expert-consultants assessed the capacity of 15 pilot CSOs, using the ACTED flagship GOCA tool (Grassroots Organizational Capacity Assessment), that was adapted to the context of Uzbek NGOs. GOCA is conducted to observe the activities of organisations, their structures, internal and external communication to then identify their needs and plan further action.
Based on the needs identified during the CSO capacity assessment, experts developed organisational development training modules. Trainers and consultants will work with each CSO to develop their organisational capacity using the “coaching” method.
GOCA is a convenient tool that provides an opportunity to assess the potential of an organisation in a short time.- Marat Rakhimov expert-consultant, who carried out capacity assessment of 5 pilot NGOs from Fergana region
Online trainings were conducted in the Khorezm region, Fergana region and Qashqadarya region. During the training, experts focused on the following topics: strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation, fundraising, organisational sustainability and external relations.
To increase their potential and as a preparation for training, all pilot NGOs undergo online courses on the above mentioned topics on the Yuksalish Web-Academy website.
As a result of the training, NGOs were able to fill the gaps identified through the GOCA tool. They acquired skills and knowledge that can provide them the opportunity to develop and increase their potential, to learn how to fill their gaps and use their opportunities, to improve planning, to control their activities, their structures, as well as internal and external relations for their effective development and ensured sustainability.
The topics and content of the trainings are well thought out. We discussed exactly those issues that are aimed at the development of our organisations.- Halima Karimova, Head of NGO "Ezgu Niyat", Fergana region
Thanks to the project, Yuksalish and ACTED expect to strengthen the capacity of 15 CSOs in Khorezm, Qashqadarya and Fergana regions to fulfill their role as independent actors in development, as well as to strengthen capacity of 3 regional Khokimiyats (local authorities) to act as effective, responsive, transparent and accountable institutions.
The project team envisages the introduction of inclusive processes of governance and public control at the local level through Public Councils, encouraging meaningful and structured participation of the civil society in the decision-making process.