Kazakhstan’s Journey to Social Modernisation

In 2012, BG Kazakhstan in partnership with Civil Alliance of Kazakhstan completed a pilot social investment project titled “Capacity Building of Non-Commercial Organisations (NCO) in Western-Kazakhstan Region aimed at Enhancement of Social Services delivered to Local Communities”.

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The project participants not only gained the knowledge but also developed project proposals that are aimed at addressing the most urgent social needs of the communities where they work.

The idea for this project was born as a result of years of cooperation with community organisations in Western Kazakhstan region. The experience of working together with non-commercial organisations delivering social services for those who are in need helped to understand what is required for the most effective project implementation and for a long term positive change.

The importance of cooperation among public, private and non-commercial organisations was reflected in the Address to the People of Kazakhstan by the President Nursultan Nazarbayev, referring to modernization and social partnership. This project therefore, was designed to develop regional non-commercial organisations working with communities and delivering social services by achieving common understanding of the role of nonprofit organizations in community development, management of social projects and strategies of funding from both private as well as public sources.

BG Kazakhstan as a company that funded this project and Civil Alliance of Kazakhstan that helped to implement it were driven by goals of permanent and sustainable increase of the quality of social services through strengthening capacity of non-commercial organisations working with families, children and vulnerable groups in Western-Kazakhstan region and specifically Burlin District, where BG Kazakhstan is a joint operator of the Karachaganak oil and gas field.

“We are witnessing a progress in development of civil society with our non-commercial organisations getting stronger but still requiring professional knowledge and training. The West-Kazakhstan region is located far from the centre and we often feel left without attention. We are grateful that Civil Alliance of Kazakhstan and BG Kazakhstan initiated this project and spotted our needs here in this region. We welcome and support such training programmes and hope this will continue in the future.”

Zhamal Iskhanova, Head of NGO relations department, Division of Internal Policy, Akimat of Western Kazakhstan region

Capacity building of local non-commercial organisations proved to be an important way of supporting sustainable and effective investment. We have chosen to focus on non-commercial organisations because they better understand the problems faced by the local communities and can be effective partners in delivering solutions.

This social investment project was based on a progressive law adopted by Kazakhstan in 2005, which allows provision of social services to be outsourced to non-governmental organisations. However, the great potential of this delivery mechanism remains unrealised because many such organisations lack the skills to carry out this role effectively and use available resources.

We began our project by conducting a training needs assessment among non-commercial organisations actively working in Uralsk and Aksai, identifying key areas for developing their professional capacities and putting together a comprehensive training programme that includes:

– Project Planning, Implementation and Reporting;
– Engagement with and needs assessment of beneficiaries/target groups;
– Fundraising: donor proposals writing, application for state funding (Procurement of
– Social Services by the State, social entrepreneurship);
– Effective cooperation with local authorities and private sector (stakeholder relations);
– Project monitoring and evaluation.

These thematic areas were delivered over three two-day training courses for specialists of participating organisations. The design of the training modules was based on interactive approach combining theory with practical work in small groups. The courses were delivered to more than 20 representatives from eight non-commercial organisations, with the participation by Karachaganak Petroleum Operating (KPO) company’s community relations department specialists and local authorities.

The first two training courses took place in Uralsk in August and in Aksai in September this year. The final third seminar took place in Uralsk 20-23 November with the results and lessons that were learned discussed and presented to the general public during the press conference. All project participants were provided with a training course pack to use in the future work and awarded with certificates of programme completion.

“The training courses are very useful and needed. It helps to bring a systemic approach to activities of non-commercial organisations. Information and thematic areas help to expand the understanding and to correct approach of project planning and management. The organisers of the project are very friendly and attentive to our needs. The whole process is interesting and well organised. Lead trainer is highly professional and explains everything in a very understandable language.”

Raziya Muldasheva, Director of West-Kazakhstan League of Art and Culture Practitioners

The project participants not only gained the knowledge but also developed project proposals that are aimed at addressing the most urgent social needs of the communities where they work. The current challenge for organisations is to search for co-funding using the skills and knowledge received during the project and to prove that effective project ideas supported by the real needs of the communities can be rewarded by attraction of various donors including state funding, private and international resources.

We hope this initiative helped non-commercial organizations participating in the project to increase their role in the social development of their local communities through improved work with target beneficiaries, better cooperation with private sector companies and local authorities.

Zhanar Zhakeyeva is Social Performance Advisor at BG Kazakhstan. Aigul Batalova is Project Coordinator at Civil Alliance of Kazakhstan.

Expert Commentary

“We are witnessing a progress in development of civil society with our non-commercial organisations getting stronger but still requiring professional knowledge and training. The West-Kazakhstan region is located far from the centre and we often feel left without attention. We are grateful that Civil Alliance of Kazakhstan and BG Kazakhstan initiated this project and spotted our needs here in this region. We welcome and support such training programmes and hope this will continue in the future.”

Zhamal Iskhanova, Head of NGO relations department, Division of Internal Policy, Akimat of Western Kazakhstan region

“The training courses are very useful and needed. It helps to bring a systemic approach to activities of non-commercial organisations. Information and thematic areas help to expand the understanding and to correct approach of project planning and management. The organisers of the project are very friendly and attentive to our needs. The whole process is interesting and well organised. Lead trainer is highly professional and explains everything in a very understandable language.”

Raziya Muldasheva, Director of West-Kazakhstan League of Art and Culture Practitioners

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