Fighting Poverty in Kazakhstan: In the Service of Children and Youth
How can local service organizations best serve children suffering from poverty in Kazakhstan, a vast country where many of the poorest live in remote areas far from health and education services? One thing is for certain; poverty has a crushing effect on human capital and benefits no one in the most vulnerable members of these communities. But, questions of how the most vulnerable can be reached are not easily answered.
With a view to finding local solutions to this local problem, the BOTA Foundation of Kazakhstan, the country’s largest independent child welfare foundation, hosted a national conference on “Increasing the Effectiveness of Social Service Delivery to Vulnerable Children and Youth.” The conference, held in May 2010, represented the first occasion in which Kazakhstan’s preeminent and emerging non-profit organizations and non-commercial service providers assembled to discuss obstacles to reaching vulnerable children and youth; exchange best practices for overcoming these obstacles and to develop new strategies and partnerships for most effectively serving these communities.
Keynote presentations were made by officials from the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection and the Committee for the Protection of Children’s Rights. More than 60 leaders from organizations providing social services to preschool-age children, children and youth with disabilities and young Kazakhstanis at social risk were in attendance. Presentations were also made by child-welfare experts from Kazakhstan, Russia and the US
The event culminated with break-out discussions which afforded service providers with the opportunity to collaborate on specific areas of interest. Their discussions were distilled into policy recommendations for the improvement of social service delivery which will be collected and presented to the appropriate governmental ministries, donors and the wider NGO community.
Click here for the full conference report and recommendations.