Centralasiengrupperna Annual Report 2015

Page 1

centralasiengrupperna ANNUAL REPORT 2015

centralasiengrupperna ANNUAL REPORT 2015

INDEX 6,7 Reflections from last year








ABOUT centralasiengrupperna Centralasiengrupperna is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization which is party politically and religiously unaffiliated. Our goal is to promote a democratic Central Asia with a strong, active and inclusive civil society where human rights are respected and social justice is attained. We strive for these goals through long-term solidarity work, educational initiatives, exchange programs and advocacy work within the following thematic areas: 1. Democratic youth initiatives, 2. Gender, 3. Conflict management and 4. Culture. The focus of Centralasiengrupperna is the region of Central Asia which refers to the five post-Soviet republics Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In addition to the activities in Central Asia we also run several projects in Sweden.

ORGANIZATION IBAN SE26 8000 0831 3952 4073 5240 BIC SWEDSESS Swish 1233698479 Organizational number: 802467-0195 Phone number: +46 736 46 7661 Email: info@centralasien.org Website: www.centralasien.org

OFFICE IN SWEDEN Centralasiengrupperna c/o Kontrapunkt, Västanforsgatan 21 214 50 MalmÜ OFFICE IN CENTRAL ASIA Djinna street 59 723500 Osh, Kyrgyzstan


Reflections from last year Dear Member! Thank you for the past year – an important year in the development of Centralasiengrupperna. 2015 gave us the time to build upon the goals previously reached, but also to reflect on where we are heading and our identity as an organization. After a few years of experimentation, we have realized the need of shaping a clearer identity with strong values and a greater measure of self-awareness. In other words: to consolidate the organization. In practice, our thematic orientations and priorities, working methods and partnerships have become more well-defined and articulated during 2015. Intensified work with documentation has created awareness, a sense of belonging, clearer communication and also served as a platform for improving our activities. Another aspect of the consolidation is that routines and traditions have started to crystallize within Centralasiengrupperna, exemplified by the activist exchanges in Sweden and Kyrgyzstan during the spring and summer – a consistent feature for the last five years –

and the Centralasiendagarna conference. We want to avoid the pitfall of becoming an event and project-oriented movement, but instead strive for creating our own long-term pulse, resonances and rhythms, a dance which new people can easily join, and, in the long run, contribute with creating new ideas. These participatory processes were increased during 2015, with many new seeds being sown. The initiative Vardagens civilkurage, launched during the summer, is not only an independent local project in Skåne, where youth can train and hone their skills in moral/civil courage, but also an important resource in the development of the pedagogy and methodology for our work on conflict transformation in Central Asia. Central Asia as a region is steadily moving in a more authoritarian direction, where the organization of the civil society and human rights are gradually being curtailed. Kyrgyzstan – the country where we have been active for the longest time and keep a close watch on – is frequently rife with xenophobia and an-

ti-democratic reform proposals in the parliament. This is happening in parallel with a hardening climate towards minority groups in the society; the situation for several of our partners is becoming increasingly difficult for each day that passes. Based on these deteriorating conditions for solidarity work in the region, security issues have assumed a higher priority on our agenda. It is against this backdrop that it becomes extra important that the Centralasiengrupperna continues to build an organization which is not only inclusive and democratic, but also proactive, emphatic and resilient.

Malmรถ, 4th of April 2016

Gustaf Sรถrnmo Founder and Chairperson Centralasiengrupperna 7





















almaty ⁂

⁂ BisHkek





⁂ TasHkent

UZ Khojand ⁂

DusHanbe ⁂ ⁂ Kulyab






� 1,2

THE WORK Of THE BOARD During 2015, the board of Centralasiengrupperna had a total of 6 minuted board meetings at different venues in Sweden. In addition to these meetings, the board had a strategy day in Malmö in the autumn with the purpose to decide organizational and thematic priorities for 2016. The board has also convened in smaller constellations and in different working groups during the year, to work with ongoing projects and to launch new initiatives. 4 out of 5 members of the board have visited Centralasiengrupperna projects and partners in the region at least once during the year. The board has prioritized work with in-depth context analysis and research, democratic organizational forms, sustainable financing and methodological development within our different thematic areas. In practice, this has inter alia meant the start-up of new working groups and committees, updated anti-corruption and security policies, new graphic materials and increased interactions with decision-makers and politicians. We have changed

our bank to JAK Medlemsbank as a natural step in the implementation of our ethical policy, and have also acquired direct debit services. ANNUAL MEETING The annual meeting took place on the 15th of March 2015 on Västanforsgatan 21 in Malmö. At this meeting, board member Ingegerd Gréen resigned from the board and Necmettin Meletli took on the role as substitute. MEMBERS On the 31st of December 2015 Centralasiengrupperna had 116 members. The board of 2015 consisted of: Gustaf Sörnmo, chairperson Johan Blomqvist, vice chairperson Filippa Almlund, secretary Martin Holm, treasurer Alexandra Cruz, board member Necmettin Meletli, substitute Signatories has been Gustaf Sörnmo and Martin Holm. Auditors has been Katja Dirsell and Alexander Karlsson. The nomination committee consisted of Tobias Müller.

2 � A few hours south of Osh is the magnificent Alay valley, bordering to China and Tajikistan. The board went there for a day of strategy work in June and stayed in a yurt. 3 � Sida Partnership Forum in Härnösand, where we have taken part of several trainings during the year. 5 � Our new office at Kontrapunkt is considerably more spacious than our previous office and has two floors.






6,7 � Kontrapunkt Kontrapunkt is a cultural and social center in Malmö, which functions as a platform for the unestablished cultural life and a hub for strengthening local grassroot movements in Malmö. When many refugees arrived to Malmö during the autumn, Kontrapunkt was extremely expedient in converting the local

activities in order to address the acute needs. During the 135 days that the center was open over 17000 people that had fled war and persecution was given shelter, food, clothes, transport and support. Naturally, we are very happy and proud to be part of the amazing Kontrapunkt family!




ORGANIZATION � 3-7 Organization and office

During 2015 Centralasiengrupperna continued to develop a democratic organizational form which is sufficiently robust to carry out extensive projects and at the same time welcoming and open for new project, initiatives and partnerships. In addition to the board and the office team in Malmö, Centralasiengrupperna currently consist of 4 core groups (advocacy/information, communication, events and methodological development), and a number of thematically oriented working groups and project groups. For the time being we have decided not to organize us through geographically based local groups; the aforementioned groups are not tied to particular locations. In general, our main geographical working areas are in Malmö/Lund and Stockholm. Our group in Göteborg is currently inactive. In March we moved to a new office at Kontrapunkt in Malmö, as the previous office on Claesgatan 8 became too small. During 2015 9 people have worked with us; in the role of office employees, project managers, EVS volunteers and interns. The office has been led by Gustaf Sörnmo and consisted of Viktor Ro-

manov, Bermet Zhumakadyr kyzy, Regina Saribzhanova, Frida Ekerlund, Jens Molander, Tatiana Egorova, Filippa Almlund and Atousa Onsi. The office duties include grant writing, project management, evaluations, organizing lectures, workshops, and other local events, together with administration and economy. By the end of the year we had the equivalent of 3 full time employment positions and a few minor project employments. Centralasiengrupperna also has an office in Central Asia, situated in Osh, southern Kyrgyzstan. The house is shared with our partner organization Novi Ritm. In the beginning of the year, the office was situated on Asrankulova 27, but was in September moved to Djinna 59. In total, Centralasiengrupperna employs 8 people in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan within different projects, of which 3 people are based in the regional office in Osh. Internal trainings The board and the office team has taken part of several training occasions throughout the year, held with the intention to strengthen organizational capacity, promote specif-

ic competencies and develop new training methodologies, quality assurance and evaluation. We have inter alia taken part of SIDA courses in Härnösand in Outcome Mapping and Result-Based Management. We have also participated in courses on psycho-social health and preventive work against burnouts within civil society; these courses were held in Spain. Organizational networks in Sweden and Europe An effort begun in 2014 revolves around building a network of organizations in Europe where all members have experience from working in the Central Asia in similar thematic areas. This European organizational network has no earlier precedence, which is why we have assumed the role of establishing it from scratch. Insofar, the network is young and informal in its structure and consists of a few smaller and medium-sized organizations in Sweden, Russia, Switzerland, Poland, Denmark and Germany. The network has grown in 2015, but due to insufficient time and resources more work is needed to consolidate the network and pursue joint projects.





PARTNERS Currently Centralasiengrupperna is actively collaborating with a dozen of organizations in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, where the following 4 are our main partners: � 8 novi ritm

is a youth organization which was founded in 2013 and is managed by youth, for youth. The organization is mainly active in the city of Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan, where it operates a combined office and an activity house. This house serves as a platform where youth from different backgrounds and contexts can explore and discuss different societal issues, develop and realize their own ideas and projects. The vision of the organization is a society in which young people work together to create an equal, fair and sustainable world. This is done through organizing workgroups, thematic events and campaigns, lectures, workshops etc. � 9 Bishkek feminist

Initiatives (BfI) is Kyrgyzstan’s first feminist activist platform, based in the country’s capital. BFI wants to draw attention

to feminist values and actively counter all forms of oppression and discrimination through campaigns and activism, cultural expression, peaceful civil disobedience and solidarity between movements within the civil society. Today, BFI acts as a hub for the feminist movement in Central Asia – with a large network of feminist groups, organizations and initiatives – which drives several key initiatives to disseminate knowledge about feminist working strategies and issues as well as to support local initiatives. � 10 Girl Activists

of Kyrgyzstan (GAK) GAK was founded in 2013 and supported by BFI. The group is entirely run by girls who are 13-17 years old. For instance, GAK arranges camps for young activists where issues such as sexual and reproductive health and rights, norm critique, nonviolence, and education are dealt with. GAK is also involved in different national and international forums in order to raise questions regarding girl’s rights in Kyrgyzstan and is actively using social media to raise awareness about girls and young women’s situation. The longterm goal is to grow and build a network of girls’ activities in Bish-

kek, Kyrgyzstan and eventually, the whole of Central Asia. � 11 CypherChaikhana

CypherChaikhana works to strengthen the freedom of speech within Central Asian communities based on Article 19 in the UN declaration of Human Rights. The term “cypher” derives from the cypherpunk-tradition which advocates activism based on encryption, while the reference to “chaikhana” (traditional Central Asian teahouses) highlights the organization’s objective to work for the creation of arenas promoting an open, respectful and rigorous conversation, critical thinking and creative atmosphere. The organization has, among other things, launched the media portal NewEurasia Citizen Media which also functions as an educational resource for journalists and bloggers in the region.


Democratic youth initiatives 12

The countries in Central Asia are, in general, hierarchical societies where the influence of the citizens and the civil society is curtailed in the political system. As a result of an age-hierarchical social structure, the voice of the youth is rarely heard and a youth-based perspective is almost never considered in the decisions that affect the life of youth and their futures. Furthermore, the Central Asian societies are characterized by other structural obstacles, where ethnic belonging, class and social status determine one’s possibilities to make decisions about one’s own life. Kyrgyzstan, for example, which is

� 12-18 Solidarity projects with Novi Ritm

Together with Novi Ritm we carried out our first major Forum Syd financed project during 20142015. The goal of the project was to increase the knowledge amongst youth within thematic areas such as conflict management, democracy and human rights, gender and equality issues as well as environmental issues. This was done by strengthening the administrative, organizational and methodological capacity of Novi Ritm, with the purpose to build

often portrayed as a democratic oasis in comparison with its neighboring countries, has several factors which severely limit an active and meaningful participation of youth in the civil society. As a consequence of limited knowledge, lacking influence and a corrupt state, there is a pervasive sense amongst youth about the lack of opportunities and the inability to change one’s own situation, to claim human and democratic rights. Even if there are many youth organizations in the country, these often reflect the same hierarchical, discriminative and exclusionary structures that dominate the society as a whole. To be a volunteer or activist in these contexts is

often reduced to passive participation in activities, while meaningful engagement, based on the situation and needs of the youth is absent. Through supporting youth organizations and individual activists in different ways, Centralasiengrupperna seeks to change these patterns and structures.

a platform where the ideas and initiatives of the youth are at the core of all activities. The youth initiatives, conceived during the course of the project, eventually became thematic working groups which disseminated the acquired knowledge and experiences through outreach programs in schools, universities and youth recreation centers, or by organizing events, campaigns, workshops and lectures.

cial issues. Through the facilitation of Novi Ritm’s coordinators, the youth were supported to develop and manage their own projects. This led to the initiation of eight new working groups: the girls group, the conflict group, the study circle/the book club, Kids’ club, the environmental group, the movie group, the English café and the HIV/AIDS-group. Each group is led by young leaders and has had one or more representatives in Novi Ritm’s board. During the course of the project these groups consisted of 31 youth in total who conducted ongoing activities, outreach efforts, trainings and lec-

In Novi Ritm’s activity house in Osh, a meeting place was created for youth from diverse backgrounds – but with the common interest for so-





tures, events and campaigns. In total, the Forum Syd project reached 354 youth (258 girls and 96 boys) in the ages 15-28 years old. During the course of the project, many lessons have been learned. Organizational lessons have mainly consisted of improved policies, administrative routines, economic management and bookkeeping. By assuming an equality perspective, the project has learned several methodological lessons – knowledge which has permeated the activities from a needs-based analysis and planning, project management, to monitoring and evaluation. As an example, the project has developed methods for participants to create their own problem formulation, gender analysis, norm critical workshops and interactive methods which includes film and cartooning, training in non-violence and democratic meeting-techniques. Pilot study on child abuse We conducted a pilot study on child abuse in southern Kyrgyzstan during the summer. The goal of the study was to better understand the under-



lying causes and to identify possible solutions. The pilot study was led by Viktor Romanov and Bermet Zhumakadyr kyzy who met in Osh with 9 children’s rights NGOs in both the northern and southern parts of the country, and teachers from 9 different primary schools (Uzbek, Kyrgyz, and Russian). Comprehensive interviews were conducted with each representative from organizations and schools – in the former case, the purpose was to take part of expert knowledge, whereas, in the latter case, the purpose was to approximate the awareness and competencies in the schools. The pilot study gave evidence that there is a substantial need for interventions and inputs in the southern parts of the country, which is a region that has been marginalized in terms of preventing child abuse in comparisons with the efforts that have been taken in the northern regions. We deem that there are good possibilities for Centralasiengrupperna to implement future projects in collaboration with local organizations, both in regard to the development of the skills of key actors (i.e. teachers, social educators and relevant authorities) and raising awareness among children, parents and the society as a whole.

Causes of child abuse Four main causes to child abuse was identified during the pilot study: 1. Labour migration of parents 2. Inability/disinterest of the government to work preemptively with the issue 3. Economic and social insecurity within families, and 4. Unknowing citizens. Within the expert community in Kyrgyzstan there is a broad consensus that the leading cause of child abuse is the lack of awareness among the population of Kyrgyzstan about what consequences abuse has in the life of a child.

12,13 � Novi Ritm organized a day of lectures and workshops connected with the annual event “UNITED Against Racism”. 14,15 � Novi Ritm held a two-day lecture- and workshop series with guests from organizations such as UNHCR, OECD and OHCHR. 16 � Training for 28 schoolchildren in conflict management and how they can work in their schools to prevent conflicts. 17 � The girls in Novi Ritm working with comic strips about harassment within the project “Stop Street Harassment” which was done with support from Safer World. The project aims to spread information about sexual harassment and involved both local youth and police. 18 � Baktygul Babakulova and Ainagul Amatbekova receive an award for Novi Ritm’s project about street harassment.


Women and Girls rights

Women’s and girls' rights are curtailed in all Central Asian countries. It is not obvious that women are treated equal or have self-determination over their lives. Instead, families are generally governed by genderhierarchical structures. This is made manifest in, inter alia, a widespread violence towards women and distinct gender roles which characterizes and structures the everyday life. In spite of several countries having ratified CEDAW and the Beijing declaration, women are still being discriminated both in the private and public spheres. It is not uncommon that young girls are talked into marrying someone they don’t know, or even worse, being kidnapped and subsequently forced to marry their kidnappers. Many who marry at a young age is excluded from opportunities in later stages of their lives, such as the opportunity to continue with their studies or to work.







In Kyrgyzstan, where Centralasiengrupperna have several years of experience working with activists for women’s rights, violence towards women are not only increasing but its acceptance is increasing to such an extent that it becomes normalized in the eyes of the general public. 30-80% of the women in the country have been subjected to some form of violence. The uncertainty of this estimate is explained by a large proportion of unrecorded cases. Domestic violence is often viewed as family business and only 3% of all cases reported to the police result in convictions. Despite improved legislation and tougher punishments for crimes such as bride kidnappings, there are still at least 12000 kidnappings per year, out of which only 700 are reported to the police. Even in the political sphere there are significant inequalities. Kyrgyzstan has a quota for the number of women in the parliament (30%), however, when a woman resigns she is replaced by the next name on the list, which generally is a man. This situation further reinforces the weak political will and the patriarchal values in the local communities and the decision-makers disinterest in improving the rights of women. � 21,22,23,24

Novi Ritm’s girl group Within the framework of our development cooperation with Novi Ritm, their girl group has conducted activities to change gender norms, decrease gender-related violence and strengthen women’s and girls’ rights. This has been done by, among other things, creating spaces for girls and young women in the

ages 15-25 to meet and exploring what it means to be a young woman in Kyrgyzstan, organizing and preparing for different actions and also planning and making outreach activities to empower young women in the region. In the project, the Novi Ritm girls group has held 7 group trainings in schools and universities about women’s rights and men’s violence against women. To this end, the group developed educational materials that focus on norms, equality, gender-based violence and women’s rights. One of the initiatives that were arranged by the Novi Ritm’s girls group was Youth UNiTE – a 3-day event which was a part of UN Women's global 16-day campaign to stop the violence towards girls and women. During the event, participants learned about women’s rights from a legal perspective and Islamic perspective, and also took part in discussions about gender norms and stereotypes.

20 � A collage that the youth in Girl Activists of Kyrgyzstan made for the International Girls Day. GAK received the #WITHandFORgirls awards for its work with young girls. We congratulate them! 21,22,23,24 � Workshop relating to the UNiTE-campaign where the Novi Ritm girls group explores what it is to be a young woman in Kyrgyzstan today, gender stereotypes and equality. The purpose with workshop was to express the views on the relationship between men and women through collages. Gendered violence and how we imagine an equal society.

� 19,20

Partnerships in northern Kyrgyzstan Centralasiengrupperna has continued and deepened the partnerships with the organizations of Bishkek Feminist Initiatives and Girl Activists of Kyrgyzstan, through support to their long-term work, specific campaigns and exchange programs. There are several plans for larger collaborative projects during 2016. We would like to congratulate GAK who was awarded #WITHandFORgirls awards during the year!


INTERVIEW: AIDA AKHMEDOVA Aida Akhmedova works as activity coordinator at Novi Ritm, and is one of the individuals who gets things done. After being an EVS volunteer at Centralasiengrupperna in Sweden during a year, she became, upon return to Kyrgyzstan, involved in Novi Ritm to work specifically with issues pertaining to gender and equality. Aida has always been interested in civil society work and in Sweden she came in contact with non-hierarchical organizational structures by being active in different groups and organizations where the distance between ideas and action is short. These lessons are currently an important component in the work of Novi Ritm and the work that Aida does. “Novi Ritm works with young people with the goal to change the way of thinking. What we try to do is to create a space where young persons can come and talk about issues that relate to human rights, women’s rights, democracy, the environment and more. There is definitely a need among young people in Osh to come together and talk, because usually you live with your group, in your community, and you don’t talk to others – you are not really expected to do that. I think that Novi Ritm is more about finding people who think like you do, to get together and to know each other: ‘Is that your opinion? Mine too; maybe we can do something together!’”.


We also change accepted social rules, the unwritten ones – where you have to go through a lot of processes to realize your ideas. And this usually only happens if you talk a lot, if you are a boy and, in some cases, if you are very outgoing.” “This is a theme which I discussed a lot with my friends when I came back from Sweden; I discussed it with my parents, in school, with different people. It is hard for women here to understand that they can be equal to men. Boys are always – not always, but almost – supported by their parents, and are expected to advance, to make money. To be a person. But for girls it is always almost like: ’but you are a girl, you are not supposed to do that’. Some men believe that if women become equal, then they will do the same things men does, and that men will become subordinate to women. So many men are scared of this, which of course isn’t true! Equality means that both men and women do things together; that they respect one another, and not that anyone has to be subordinate. If equality is attained, then it will be easier for both men and women in general. Women will be more appreciated, and men will have more time for other things; take care of their health, I don’t know, engage in their hobbies and other stuff.”



25,26 � Collages on the topics of gender equality and violence against women realized by the participants in Novi Ritm's Girls Group, coordinated by Aida.


Centralasiengrupperna have in a broad sense been working with conflict management as a thematic area since 2010 – from interpersonal conflicts to structural oppression. Our activities have predominantly been tied to southern Kyrgyzstan, which is a region where different conflicts exist. The city of Osh was in 2010 the epicenter of a widespread political and ethnical conflict where violent clashes between

Kyrgyz and Uzbeks led to hundreds of casualties. These events are still present in the collective memory, and many have lost family, friends or homes. Even today, some urban areas in Osh have not been reconstructed and the city has become more segregated, where groups increasingly avoid each other and where prejudices and hate thrives.

Conflict management In southern Kyrgyzstan there are also reoccurring border disputes with the neighboring countries Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, marginalization of minorities (not only ethnical, but also religious and sexual), structural discrimination in the labor market, religious extremism, nationalist hate groups, segregating media which spreads xenophobic propaganda, just to mention a few different cases of conflict. Centralasiengrupperna have decided to work closely with local organizations in Osh, both through financial support for their outreach work in preventing these issues, but also through education, non-violence training, and organizational development in order to create more inclusive, democratic organizations which do not reproduce conflict and fragmentation. In this respect, we differentiate ourselves from the majority of international donors and organizations which flocked to southern Kyrgyzstan in the wake of the con-

flicts of 2010, but quickly left the region when the grant opportunities decreased and the most palpable manifestations of the conflict disappeared.

collaboration has mainly consisted of the sharing of resources in the form of facilities, methods and networks. � 28-32

Vardagens Civilkurage � 27

Novi Ritm’s work with conflict management and nonviolence One of Novi Ritm’s working groups has during the autumn and winter of 2015 been working with conflict management by gathering and developing material and conducting trainings, both within the group and to an external audience. Among other things, the group has held a three day exercise for 28 youths from different schools in Osh. During 2015, Novi Ritm also started collaborating with Generations For Peace – an organization working with different methods of conflict management. The

Having worked with themes related to conflict for several years in a fairly wide and eclectic manner, we decided last year to mobilize resources so that we could develop our own methodology and, in time, conduct more systematic and qualitative actions related to conflict prevention. A comprehensive grant application was written to Allmäna Arvsfonden in order to have the opportunity to explore the topic in depth. We were very happy to receive positive feedback on our project idea, and in May of 2015 we initiated the three-year project “Vardagens Civilkurage”! The project targets youth and young adults in Sweden between the ages of 15-25, and offers practical

29,30,31 � What is a dojo? The word “dojo” is Japanese and roughly translates to “the place for study” or “a place where the path is practiced”. Dojo is commonly used in arts, meditation and martial arts. In the same way as, for example Ikebana, Aikido, or Zen meditation is traditionally exercised in the dojos of Japan; we attempt to approach the idea of training in civil courage, nonviolence and conflict

intervention as something we have to work with continuously so that it “sticks”. Our dojo becomes the space for practice, to explore and refine intervention techniques which, on a micro level can create amore equal and democratic society, displacing violence, oppression and discrimination. Another aspect of the term, which we have taken to heart, is that the dojo activities focus on physical training and learning in the form of reflexes, behaviors, forms of interaction,


training in civil courage and conflict intervention. Participants get the opportunity to train their skills in intervening in situations which are characterized by oppression, violence and discrimination. This is done through our training platform in Malmö, ”the dojo”, and via handson situations in schools, collages, student committees and associations in, for example, Lund, Trelleborg and Helsingborg. In addition, the project incorporates study circles, seminars, mini-actions and TOTs. In total, 258 young participants have been trained during the autumn. Beyond the project activities in Sweden, Vardagens Civilkurage functions as a resource for methodological development within Centralasiengrupperna as well as for trainings within ongoing and future projects/partnerships in Central Asia. The project currently has three employees: project managers Jens Molander and Frida Ekerlund and project coordinator Gustaf Sörnmo.


reaction patterns, dialogue techniques, postures, movements and directions. This focus is often lacking within the civil society, which instead approach these issues from a primarily theoretical perspective with a focus on raising awareness, valuation exercises and the dissemination of information.



27 � A common prerequisite for the prevention of conflicts within the civil society or at work is organizational routines and structures. Here, we are preparing a course about democratic meeting techniques, which is a method for distributing power within workgroups, both to gain efficiency and to promote equality in the groups. 32 � Every Tuesday, we are organizing a dojo in Malmö. Here, Frida Ekerlund is facilitating an exercise about how to intervene when someone uses suppression behaviour like demeaning and ignoring.



Cartoons that were created by young feminist activists during the workshops of Dotterbolaget in Bishkek and Osh.

A D I L O S W H T I W TRU S Ainuska






Y T I R A S ' N E M O W E L G G U Baktygul


Dildora och Makhabat



The lack of cultural exchange between the post-Soviet Central Asia and Sweden/ Europe is a sad fact which we have wanted to change with for a long time. Last year we created the embryo of a Central Asian cultural platform through increased networking amongst cultural actors in the regions and also some pilot project. Our goal is to work actively and broadly with this theme in the future, based on collaborations with actors,

musicians, filmmakers, cartoonists, and so on. We are especially interested in cultural projects and artistic collaborations which relate to our other thematic working areas and where culture can be used as a tool to promote the struggle for democratic freedoms and rights. Central Asia is also a region where many traditional forms of cultural expressions are lost or forgotten; this is something we want to counteract.


� 33

Cartoon workshops in Kyrgyzstan In May, we arranged an artist residence in Bishkek for the feminist cartoonists collective “Dotterbolaget”. The artists Karolina Bång, Karin Casimir Lindholm, My Eklund and Sara Granér spent a month in the capital of Kyrgyzstan to engage in workshops, discussions and collaborations with a handful of different local feminist and LGBTIQ groups. A short visit was also made to the city of Osh, where a two-day cartoon workshop was held with a focus on gender stereotypes and violence towards women. Cartooning as a way of expressing criticism towards social structures and authorities appealed to several of the participating organizations, which after the conclusion of the project inte-

grated the method in different activities and wokrking groups. We hope to continue and expand this initiative in 2016 and beyond. “Akyn-aCtivism” During the year, a new partnership was initiated with the organization CypherChaikhana, which shares an approach to cultural initiatives in Central Asia which resembles ours. A common goal is to launch a project which involves akyns; a profession of traditional Kyrgyz musicians. Historically, the Akyns has functioned as a critical voice against the elites in the Kyrgyz society, and has sung about social injustices and nepotism – but today, the group is dying out. The project is intended to re-establish the Akyns by creating arenas in which they can reach out

to a new audience and raise questions related to democracy, equality and corruption. � 34

forma Together with the association Tamam Lund and the designer Petter Thörne we manage the craftsmanship initiative Forma. During 2015 the group has taken the step from simpler, individual creations to work with larger collaborative tasks and installations. The year contained three larger workshops in designing, as well as the production of the major art works ”Sverige” and “Rött”. Additionally, a four day residency at Wettershus retreat center took place in the summer, where garden furniture was designed and constructed. One of the highlights


was the premiere of the exhibition Utvalt in Skåne. Utvalt was an exhibition which is judged by a jury, in which Forma's art work “Sverige” in competition with 400 applications was one of 26 works that was elected to be exhibited. During the ceremony, we were informed that Forma was one out of three getting the award! 2015 was a year of collective creation – an approach we will continue to develop in 2016. We are planning to incorporate crafts and design-related activities in our projects and collaborations in Central Asia. Other cultural activities

about equality and women’s rights activism in southern Kyrgyzstan. The film about the rock band Ved’s Central Asian tour of 2014 has been put on ice due to difficulties in allocating funding. This is also the case concerning the planned musical exchange with the Sufi band Samo group from Tajikistan. Ved has, however, released some of the music from the tour during the year. For example, the piece Zerafshan Impro – which was recorded in a derelict factory in a remote part of Fanbergen – was released on the vinyl Sex sidor av Psykjunta. Besides this, Centralasiengrupperna has been in contact with artists from Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Chechnya concerning future cultural initiatives.


33 � Novi Ritm has a vernissage with feminist comics, made together with Dotterbolaget during their stay in Kyrgyzstan. 34 � The Forma group made two larger projects during the year: Sverige och Rött.

We have supported three Swedish filmmakers with their documentary 25



35,37 � The participants of our civil courage intensivecourse takes a lunch break in the scenic summer, in the outskirts of Lund. 36 � The exchange during the spring meant several visits to different associations and activist-groups, but also to Lund University. The Faculty for Gender Studies was visited for the purpose of attending a lecture on equality in Sweden. 38,39 � Non-violence training with Per Herngren in Osh. 36




Currently, the possibilities are very limited for the representatives of civil societies in Sweden and Central Asia to meet for exchanging experiences and building transnational alliances, especially for young people. Central Asia is not a prioritized region within the EU youth program, which instead affords other post-soviet regions such as Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Today, we are more or less the only coordinated organization that works with youth exchange programs between the regions. Despite the lack of grant opportunities, we want to expand this aspect of our organization in order to give youth the possibility to meet and learn from one another, and to be able to take part of different educational activities, and also to work bilaterally with different issues relating to social justice. European Voluntary Service (EVS) Centralasiengrupperna has, in total, had 7 EVS volunteers through the EU youth program Erasmus+ during 2015. 2 persons from Kyrgyzstan and 2 from Russia did their service in our main office in Malmö, while 3 persons from Sweden were based

in Kyrgyzstan and Armenia respectively, working with different youth organizations. The volunteers have had a number of different tasks, including arranging study circles, conducting lectures and workshops, managing minor projects, working with organizational development, evaluations and administration. � 36

Activist exchange for Women’s rights defenders In early April, Centralasiengrupperna welcomed seven activists from Girl Activists of Kyrgyzstan and Novi Ritm to Malmö and Stockholm. The exchange included visits and meetings with organizations that work with women’s and girls’ rights, equality, norm critique and masculinity issues. Among other organizations, Men for equality, Flickaplattformen, Kvinna till Kvinna and the institution for gender studies in Lund University were visited. Also, a minor hearing about women’s rights in Central Asia was arranged with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This exchange gave us the opportunity to discuss common initiatives and future collaborations.

� 38,39

Non-violence training in Osh In June, we arranged three different trainings in southern Kyrgyzstan together with the plowshare activist and author Per Herngren. The target group of these trainings were youth in local organizations. The trainings touched mainly upon conflict prevention and techniques for holding democratic meetings. � 35,37

Intensive course on civil courage One of the first comprehensive activities within our new project Vardagens Civilkurage was to organize a five-day intensive course in Torna Hällestad for future trainers. Specific themes were highlighted such as racism, different forms of oppression, age discrimination, transphobia, harassment and bullying etc. Per Herngren acted as facilitator. In total, eight people were trained and certified as trainers in civil courage, and have since then been participating in the training sessions during the autumn of 2015.


Information and advocacy


41 � Centralasiengrupperna were represented at the political fair of Almedalen for the first time in 2015. The image depicts a panel debate about security and development organized by the FBA. 42 � Some of our Central Asian guests during the annual edition of the conference Centralasiendagarna.


Centralasiengrupperna have during the last two years increasingly focused on information work and advocacy. We are striving to be an actor that represents and makes visible the marginalized grassroots and civil society movements in Central Asia, both towards Swedish and European decision-makers and politicians, in order to raise perspectives that are seldom included in higher level political discourses. We have, for example, coordinated meetings with the Swedish ambassador of Central Asia and local organizations that work with democratization and equality, in the wake of the new anti-democratic and homophobic legislation that was recently proposed in Kyrgyzstan. We are also working to shed light on these issues and perspectives to the general public in Sweden and Europe through lectures, study circles and movie screenings. � 42,43

Centralasiendagarna 2015 Our main event of 2015 took place on 22-24th of May in Sweden, when we arranged the open conference Centralasiendagarna for the second consecutive year. The event

was held in Stockholm and consisted of lectures, workshops, panel discussions, movie screenings and an exhibition. The purpose of the conference is to shed light on Central Asia from different peace and security-related perspectives; geopolitical, economical, ecological, gender/ LGBTIQ, migration etc. This year, the program included several points, some of which were: • Panel discussion on human rights in Kyrgyzstan with Medet Tiulegenov, professor from the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) in Bishkek, Dildora Khamidova, from UN Women in Osh, Emil Nasritdinov, associate professor from AUCA, Anja Jahn Gunther, department secretary from the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responsible for Sweden’s diplomatic relations with Central Asia, and Gustaf Sörnmo, chairman of Centralasiengrupperna. • Democratization processes in Kyrgyzstan post 2010 – the political parties, civil society and different modes of political participation with Medet Tiulegenov • The everyday life of Central Asian migrant workers: threats and prospects in Russia with Emil Nasritidnov • The situation for the women of the Fergana valley with Dildora Khamidova • China and Central Asia with Johan


Fresk, editor for the China Report • Ecological security in the area of the Aral Sea and Karakalpakstan with Gunilla Björklund, chairwoman of the Swedish Aral Sea association. We had screenings of the films Desert of Forbidden Art which is about oppositional art in Uzbekistan, The Old Maid which is about forced marriage in Kyrgyzstan and Shadow of the Holy Book which is about the role of multinational corporations in upholding the dictatorship in Turkmenistan. In conjunction with the first film there was a dialogue with the director. � 40

Lectures and study circles We have had ongoing activities in the form of study circles relating to Central Asia, a Russian language café and various movie screenings in different venues of Sweden. Some of the lectures that have been held were Methods for nonviolent action in Kyrgyzstan with Per Herngren, Queer in post-Soviet Asia with Alex Mamytov and Kyrgyzstani feminism and contemporary women’s rights struggles with Aida Akhmedova. Parallel with the



elections in Kyrgyzstan during the autumn of 2015, Centralasiengrupperna organized educational trainings about the political situation in the country for electional observers from Sweden.

the right to asylum). It is a campaign that protests against the transportation responsibility and obstacles to family reunification. It is also against temporary residence permits and all other regulations which serve to inhibit the right to seek asylum, and which is also in conflict with the Convention for the Rights of Children (CRC).

Strategic networks During 2015, Centralasiengrupperna have become a member in the East network of Forum Syd. The network is primarily coordinating organizations active in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldavia, Ukraine, and Russia. The network arranges seminars and conferences in order to facilitate the exchange and collaboration between different organizations. Our Swedish organizational network has also been broadened with partners such as Tupilak, Civil Rights Defenders and Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society in Stockholm. We have increased our visibility by participating in the Human Rights days in Göteborg, Almedalen and similar fairs. Campaigns We are active in the national campaign “Folkkampanj för Asylrätt” (that is, the Peoples campaign for

� 44 Visibility in the media

Centralasiengrupperna have been featured in several media outlets during 2015, both in relation to our arrangements in Sweden and in the capacity of an expert voice in current events in Central Asia. We have, for example, been featured in nation-wide newspapers such as Dagens Nyheter, but also in regional and local newspapers like Sydsvenskan, City Malmö, as well as national and local radio. We are members in Globalportalen, which is managed by Forum Syd and is a portal for several developmental organizations. Here, we have been able to make our core issues more visible to both a national and international audience. In December of 2015 we were featured as the organization of the week and were interviewed. 29


Cihan Arikan Jessica Bragd Benedetta Crippa Katja Dirsell Gustav Eklund Tchavdar Georgiev Ingegerd Gréen Per Herngren Alexander Karlsson Dildora Khamidova Sofie Malm Necmettin Meletli Tobias Müller Emil Nasritdinov Atousa Onsi Åke Petersson Amanda Pope Sanjar Rakhmatov Regina Saribzhanova Christopher Schwartz

Bill Schiller Leif Sörnmo Olga Ten Petter Thörne Medet Tiulegenov Bermet Zhumakadyr kyzy Bio Rio Dotterbolaget Folkuniversitetet Garaget Malmö Kontrapunkt Malmö Pride Mats Wahlberg & co Panora RFSL Newcomers Svenska Aralsjösällskapet Tamam Östgruppen Underverket


ECONOMIC REPORT Information about the operations Full information is to be found in separate Management Report of Centralasiengrupperna. Income statemenT

2015-01-01 /2015-12-31

2014-01-01 /2014-12-31

2 254 551 2 254 551

1 505 316 1 505 316

Development projects

-889 955

-124 774

Exchanges and trainings

-131 569

-182 897

Volunteering and activist residences

-274 470

-285 229

Information and advocacy

-208 241

-209 345

Cultural projects

-198 892

-519 720

-39 577

-17 088

-1Â 742 704 511 847

-1 339 053 166 263



-248 -248

0 7

Results after financial posts

511 599

166 270

Results before tax

511 599

166 270

Results of the year

511 599

166 270

Grants Operating costs

Other external costs Operating profit Results from financial posts Other incomes from interests and similar posts Interest expenses and similar posts

All amounts in SEK.



52 983

4 320

Cash and bank balance

1 313 588

492 860

Sum current assets

1 366 571

497 180

Sum assets

1 366 571

497 180

400 866

234 596

Sum equity

511 599 912 465 912 465

166 270 400 866 400 866

Current liabilities Other liabilities Accrued expenses and deferred income

70 607 383 499

18 214 78 100

Sum current liabilities

454 106

96 314

1 366 571

497 180

Pledged assets



Contingent liabilities



Balance sheet Assets Current assets

Current receivables Other receivables

Equity and liabilities Equity Non-restricted equity Balanced profit or loss Result of the year

Sum equity and liabilities


Centralasiengrupperna Annual Report 2015 Curated by Gustaf Sörnmo Text Gustaf Sörnmo, Johan Blomqvist, Viktor Romanov, Petter Thörne, Frida Ekerlund, Jessica Bragd Graphic design Benedetta Crippa Photography Benedetta Crippa, Petter Thörne, Gustaf Sörnmo, Jens Molander, Filippa Almlund among others

On the cover: a view of the Petroglyphs Museum in Cholpon-Ata, near lake Issyk-Kul – photography by Benedetta Crippa


centralasiengrupperna HEADQUARTERS


Main office in Sweden c/o Kontrapunkt Västanforsgatan 21 21450 MalmÜ

+46 736 46 7661 info@centralasien.org centralasien.org

Office in Central Asia c/o Novi Ritm Djinna street 59 723500 Osh Kyrgyzstan

IBAN SE26 8000 0831 3952 4073 5240 BIC SWEDSESS Swish 1233698479 SOCIAL MEDIA instagram.com/centralasiengrupperna flickr.com/photos/centralasiengrupperna facebook.com/centralasiengrupperna

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.