Republic of Kazakhstan, Final Project Report: October 1, 1997-September 30, 2002

Publication Date: 
30 Nov 2002

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INTRODUCTION

IFES established a regional office in Almaty, Kazakhstan in November 1994 to foster a longterm commitment in providing democracy assistance to Kazakhstan and the rest of Central Asia. In addition to election monitoring projects, IFES has produced analyses of the election law, held conferences on election redistricting, conducted voter education events, hosted a region-wide conference on election administration and conducted numerous liaison missions with the Central Election Commission (CEC). IFES has also organized national and regional seminars promoting strategies for citizen involvement in building civil society, including stimulating support for the creation of local coalitions of NGOs. Election observation reports were produced in 1994, 1995, 1997 and 1999.

In 1995 and 1996, IFES conducted nationwide public opinion surveys of attitudes toward democracy, civil society, institution building, and multi-party elections. Results of the surveys encouraged IFES to create and hold a series of national and regional NGO training seminars in such areas as leadership, communication, and civic participation in the spring of 1996. In October 1997, IFES collaborated with the CEC and the local station Khabar to produce the first ever televised candidate debate in Kazakhstan for a by-election. In December 1998, IFES worked with local partners to increase the amount of information available to the electorate on the election process by producing a series of electronic, 'informational public service announcements and providing translated civic education materials from the Administration and Cost of Elections (ACE) project.

In 1999, IFES also focused on creating an active interest in elections and civic participation. IFES collaborated with international and local partners to conduct a successful domestic observer training series in which more than 2,500 observers received accreditation for observing the first and second round Majilis and Maslikhat elections. Election monitors provided a valuable counterbalance on election day that led to greater transparency and accountability on the part of election officials at all levels.

IFES is currently working to promote educational development in Kazakhstan through a curriculum development project designed to improve instruction and information on democracy in Kazakhstan's secondary school. In 1999, IFES produced a Civic Education textbook, along with a teacher's manual and supplementary materials, for its curriculum on democracy and citizenship that was supported by the Ministry of Education. The curriculum, beginning with a student mock election project, was initiated in 34 pilot schools across Kazakhstan in time for the Fall 1999-Winter 2000. In Spring 2000, a teacher's review session was held, as well as a student Olympiad of students from the pilot schools. The resulting discussions concluded with the support of the Ministry of Education and a pledge to expand the project to include 500+ schools beginning with the Fall 2000. A series of adaptations and enhancements of the text were completed in the summer of 2000, followed by the printing of 15,000 copies of the textbook in the Kazakh and Russian languages. The textbooks and accompanying teacher's manual was distributed to participating schools by the commencement of the 2000-2001 school year.

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