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A survey to assess the gendered impacts of COVID-19 on women’s and men’s lives and livelihoods in ten countries/territories across Europe and Central Asia has revealed dire findings.
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Maria Kolesnikova, 32, is the director of MoveGreen, a youth environmental movement in the Kyrgyz Republic. Together with her colleagues, she promotes environmental awareness across the country and advocates for more and bolder environmental-friendly policies. During COVID-19, she has taken her activism online, and for Earth Day, a social media campaign is challenging people to take seven actions for the environment while they stay at home.
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24-year-old Kursanali kyzy Begimai is the leader of a self-help group in a village on the disputed Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border. Running a profitable agro-business and conflict-resolution initiatives, her group is now an example to other community members in the village.
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In rural Kyrgyzstan, the first ever Technovation Coding Caravan for girls has taught more than 600 girls the basics of computer programming. Launched in Talas Province, the caravan reached Issyk-Kul, Naryn, Jalal-Abad, Batken, and Osh provinces this spring.
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Shakhodat Teshebayeva from Khalmion, a village in southern Kyrgyzstan bordering Uzbekistan, is 50 years old and the sole breadwinner of her family. Her income comes from farming, working for 8-10 long hours in the fields every day. She doesn’t shy away from the hard work, but lately, the hard has become impossible, because of the growing water crisis.
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This video story is part of a series titled, “A true story, my story” produced by UN Women Europe and Central Asia Regional Office for the 16 Days of Activism campaign.
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Bakirova Kyzdarkan is one of 124 women who have been elected to local water user councils across Kyrgystan, where water scarcity is threatening the livelihoods of many. She is mobilizing women in her community to advocate for equal access to water, and because of her work, several women now serve on local water management councils.
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Dilera Mavlonova is only 16 years old, but she knows the importance of women’s leadership in water management. After learning advocacy skills through a UN Women programme, she and her peers raised awareness about women’s unequal burden to provide water for their homes in the village of Chek-Abad near the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border, where there is an unfolding water crisis. As a result, 124 women have joined local councils for water management, including in their executive bodies and committees that resolve conflicts over water. Before, there were only 13 women in these councils, and rarely in any decision-making roles.
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The Swedish Government, through its development agency Sida, announced today a US$5 million commitment towards the Joint Programme on Accelerating Progress towards the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women (JP RWEE).
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To advance gender equality and promote safe and peaceful communities, UN Women has been mobilizing youth in seven municipalities across Kyrgyzstan. The project, connects youth with water associations, local governments and a variety of women’s self-help groups from marginalized communities, to empower local communities and enhance equal access to natural resources.
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Ainuru Altybaeva serves as a Member of Parliament in Kyrgyzstan, and has been an activist for women’s empowerment for over 10 years. She was the initiator of a law on toughening penalties for bride kidnapping, and a vocal participant of the national UNiTE to End Violence against Women and Girls women’s movement, coordinated and led by UN Women in Kyrgyzstan. UN Women partnered with Altybaeva on several advocacy initiatives in Kyrgyzstan, including an advocacy campaign in the parliament on adopting the new law on domestic violence. She is the former chair and initiator of the Kyrgyz Parliament’s Women’s Caucus.
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A UN Women supported programme in Kyrgyzstan has empowered 15,000 young people to prevent violence, promote gender equality and build tolerance of diversity in their communities. The initiatives are teaching about respectful relationships and livelihood skills to young people in remote villages.
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In villages across Kyrgyzstan, rural women are taking charge of their lives and livelihoods after completing leadership and skills training programmes. Most of the participants are now running small-scale businesses and some have joined local councils to shape laws and policies.
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Recently adopted law on domestic violence in Kyrgyzstan aims to improve protection measures for survivors, simplifies reporting procedures and introduces behaviour correction for perpetrators.
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Originally from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Luiza Karimova left her son with her family and travelled to Osh, Kyrgyzstan to find work. In Kyrgyzstan, she was sold into sex slavery and trafficked into Dubai. After 18 months, she was arrested and sent to jail. Today, Karimova works with Podruga, an organization based in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, which is supported by UN Women. Podruga works to end violence against women and assists women subjected to sex and drug trafficking.
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In 2016, 28 women were successfully trained to participate in and collaborate on various cross-border issues, including disputes over shared natural resources.
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Aiturgan Djoldoshbekova is participating in a school-based education programme to empower girls, initiate inter-generational dialogues to change attitudes and to end bride kidnapping, early and/or forced marriages. Her mother, Aigul Alybaeva, supports her daughter’s participation in the programme and talks with her about various issues, including violence against women and girls.
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A programme from the National Federation of Female Communities of Kyrgyzstan, supported by a grant from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, has introduced the first-ever curriculum on gender-based violence in Kyrgyz language in schools in rural Kyrgyzstan.
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In Kyrgyzstan on 9 May, representatives of the Executive Boards of UN Women, UNDP, UNFPA, UNOPS, UNICEF and WFP completed a week-long Joint Field Visit to analyse how United Nations’ organizations contribute to national development priorities.
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From flash mobs to bicycle races, street marches to art exhibits, and even illuminating landmarks and buildings in orange light, people around the world banded together during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence by “oranging their neighbourhoods.”