Five years ago TCO invited a number of non-government organizations (NGOs) to submit proposals on community projects that could be implemented in Atyrau Oblast. As a result, TCO reviewed proposals and selected projects, with a goal of improving the capacity of Atyrau Oblast in the areas of health, education and environmental protection.
The following information details TCO’s nine community projects that were implemented in 2013, with a total value of $1,300,000
Eurasia Fund of Central Asia (EFCA)
Increasing community participation in social development
The Atyrau and Zhylyoi Community Engagement Program aims to promote citizen initiative in addressing local issues. The program is designed to increase the capacity of local organizations in their ability to meet community needs in the areas of youth, health and education.
EFCA project “Our Public Spaces” aims to involve the population in the improvement of its public recreation spots, which are supported by local NGOs. The results of an independent needs assessment of the Zhylyoi and Atyrau communities showed that a main concern is the non-satisfactory condition or absence of landscaped public areas for youth and children.
A consultation session on proposal writing was held for 14 initiative groups interested in improving public spaces. An expert council, which included representatives of stakeholder groups, selected the top five of the groups to receive financing. Project winners received training in grant management and financial reporting.
Among the five projects selected for financing in Kulsary (3) and Atyrau (2), two were from local NGOs, two from residents of multi-story apartment buildings, and one from a local school. During the course of grant implementation, the EFCA project team conducted on-going monitoring of the projects and provided consultation to initiative groups, as needed.
In total, the projects attracted over than 400 local residents, 11 local businesses and 3 government departments, and the in-kind contribution amount reached 8400 USD. A training workshop was held for specialized government agencies, local maslikhats and local activists. EFCA led visiting showcases to other regions of Kazakhstan to share best practices.
The major result of the project is the strengthening of friendship amongst neighbors, happy children playing on new playgrounds, and an established list identifying future improvements.
Kazakhstan Association of Family Physicians
Joint Program on Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) prevention
Kazakhstan Association of Family Physicians (KAFP) established this program with input from TCO, to reduce the number of CVD cases, which is a main cause of death in Kazakhstan.
Initial and urgent medical aid was the primary source used to identify people in the CVD risk group. KAFPs approach is based on preventing hypertension appearance and control. KAFP employed highly effective measures, including arranging specialized training for 202 practicing doctors in 34 clinical training modules on hypertension: 108 doctors and medical assistants completed remote trainings in the clinic and 12 doctors completed urgent aid trainings.
KAFP facilitated the establishment of a targeted health awareness program for the community: 360 TV advertisements about improving health were aired in Kazakh and Russian and prevention awareness training was arranged for 157 hypertension measures. 139 of them managed to normalize their arterial pressures; 87 patients changed their life styles; and 8 patients with 25 years of smoking experience gave up smoking. Additionally, diet recommendations were distributed to patients through SMS messages and 200,000 booklets were handed out.
Through this program, KAFP arranged blood pressure testing campaigns in trade centers, shops, clinics, offices and company buildings to increase people’s awareness, reveal hypertension rates among the community, and train people to test their arterial pressure.
Zeinolla Kabdolov Fund
Kazakh Language Development Program
TCO is continuing to promote the development of the Kazakh language. The company is cooperating closely with Zeinolla Kabdolov Fund on the I Speak Kazakh Project, which entails the following:
- Produce a unique and the first e-book of Atyrau writers – a set of prose pieces, compatible with iPads and Android gadgets; and
- Produce a series of video game podcasts; online mini contests and project awareness campaign.
The uniqueness of the e-book is that it is published in both languages. The text of the e-book is a kind of dictionary-translator, because it represents original text so has an embedded interactive dictionary, which allows one to see the Russian-Kazakh-Russian translation while reading the text.
Game video clips allow studying Kazakh in daily life. The project is very helpful to other nationalities in improving their Kazakh. The project product is available through the following links: http://kazakhshasaira.jimdo.com/, http://www.kabdolov.ru
TECH AGE TEACHERS
International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) established the Tech Age Teachers Project, which provides opportunities for Atyrau and Zhylyoi school teachers to develop their IT skills and use them in their work. Tech Age Teachers has four objectives:
- Turn the Internet into a main component of educational process both in schools and libraries;
- Help teachers and youth gain skills they need in a developing economy which will assist in their future employment;
- Improve leadership skills and understanding of community needs; and
- Keep cultural heritage and involve the youth in the process of local community development.
Under the project, 629 Atyrau and Zhylyoi teachers were trained, 120 blogs were created, 131 websites and several forums were launched. Students, who participated in Tech Age Teachers, acquired skills that assist with getting engaged in community life and help to resolve issues via IT tools like forums, blogs and websites.
During the project, participants took part in contests “The Best Blogger”, The Best Website”, “The Best Social Project”, and “The Best Video about Atyrau”. Participants developed applications aimed at rendering help to the socially disadvantaged; facilitating a healthier way of life; training others on IT tools; and implementing environmental projects.
Independent Generation of Kazakhstan
Support to socially vulnerable youth
Youth NGO Independent Generation of Kazakhstan and TCO partnered to develop New Life Project. The project has two components: Foster Parents School and post-boarding-school support to orphan graduates.
Foster Parents School (FPS) was launched within the New Life Project aimed at developing a process of adopting orphans. Forty-nine (49) potential adopting parents completed trainings and personal data for the students was compiled, which led to a bank of potential parents being created. The Youth House hosted conflict resolution trainings and provided individual consultations with a psychologist.
Graduates of the Youth House participated in courses on sewing, cooking and conducting a job search, which included compiling CVs. Kazybaev School and the Youth House have specialists to work with orphaned children.
Corporate Volunteerism Program
NGO PYXERA Global and TCO partnered to implement Yntymak (Union) Corporate Volunteerism Program. Yntymak enables volunteers to address the needs of the Atyrau community by helping local NGOs develop their human, technical and logistics capacity. Through Yntymak, TCO staff connects more deeply with the community and expands their professional and leadership skills.
In the Atyrau Oblast, there exists a skills gap between the public and private sectors. Non-profits, universities, business associations and public schools lag in professional and organizational capacities. The Yntymak team conducted a needs assessment among the local community, where Atyrau NGOs work, to gain an in-depth understanding of the needs of NGOs to ensure that volunteer projects are demand-driven.
A number of challenges were identified, which include the following:
- Lack of knowledge on computer software and hardware, internet, website design, social media
- Public relations establishment and support strategies
- Human Resource management
- Strategic planning
- 1C accounting software
Due to these constraints, NGOs are often unable to meet increasingly complex needs in the local community.
TCO employees contributed 1,252 hours on skills-based projects though Yntymak. TCO employees carried out an environmental flash mob, baby fish saving campaign and other activities within the program. Based on evaluations carried out by PYXERA Global on results of activities, it was found that TCO employees who participated in projects through Yntymak had significant learning and professional development experiences. TCO volunteers reported developing teamwork, communication, problem solving, public speaking and cultural awareness skills.
ALSHY Literary-Historical-Cultural Fund
Green Atyrau Project
ALSHY Literary-Historical-Cultural Fund established the Green Atyrau project aimed at increasing community focus on city greening and tidiness. Fifty (50) volunteers were engaged; 1,600 trees were planted; and a number of trainings were carried out for volunteers in the city of Atyrau. Volunteers were given areas to control and maintain. Mini contests for “The Best Gardener”, “The Best Volunteer”, “The Best Friend of Trees”, and “The Best Story about the Project”, were carried out among the city community. Video clips were developed and broadcasted on local TV.
Association of Business Ladies of Kazakhstan
Business training in Atyrau and trainings to support women entrepreneurship in RoK
The Association of Business Ladies of Kazakhstan implemented this project which involved opening a training center and conducting trainings in support of women entrepreneurs in Atyrau. The project’s aim was to ensure education opportunities exist for the development of women entrepreneurs in Kazakhstan.
One-hundred-forty-two (142) unemployed women participated in the project and completed trainings on step-by-step strategic planning processes, entrepreneurship elements and accounting. The participants learned how to develop a marketing plan and gained understanding about special tax rates for small business entities. The trainings were carried out by qualified coaches from Damu Regional Fund, Branch office of Asia Credit JSC and Delta Bank JSC.
The project participants were provided with training materials and participated in excursions to local companies. As a result of this project, 20 women started their own business and 50 women were employed.
Tildaryn Methodical Center of Innovational Technologies of Language Study
Kazakh Language study application for iPad per Tildaryn Methods
This project utilizes an innovative method of language study based on leading international practices, with a regard for the Kazakh mindset and culture. The application helps one acquire a basic speaking level of the Kazakh language in 3 weeks. The method focuses on using more frequent words and grammar patterns.
The application can be installed free of charge through virtual markets of Apple and Google – iStore and Google Play. Free access to the training materials is a significant part of the project. The precise systematization of the materials allows listeners to develop the speaking skills. The basic course consists of grammar patterns and lexical materials selected on the basis of frequency. It includes 15 grammar patterns (which systemize all Kazakh grammar system), 300 frequent words and 150 speech patterns (on 8 topics about human communication with external environment) made in appropriate tabular format.