While some progress has been made in Tajikistan’s police reform process over the last decade, there are still major challenges around issues that are central to people’s security, including the marginalisation and exclusion of women, young people and religious minorities. Over the last year, Saferworld worked with partners, the government, national and local authorities, civil society and affected communities to ensure that the reform process leads to inclusive and responsive security provision using community policing and community security approaches.
With four partners – the Association of Scientific and Technical Intelligentsia of Tajikistan, Marifatnoki, and the Lawyers’ Associations of Pamir and Jahon – we worked with community members and authorities to develop and implement 21 community-led action plans to improve people’s safety and security. Community groups addressed problems including domestic violence, limited access to education for young women and men, intercommunal conflicts, youth crime, corruption among authorities, and tensions between the police and communities.
We also worked with civil society, communities, young people’s groups and women’s groups to challenge harmful gender norms and to prevent gender-based violence – particularly domestic violence against women and girls. This work led to an increase in the number of gender-based violence survivors seeking support, and improved the way local authorities and community organisations provide assistance for women, including by establishing psychosocial and income-generating support centres. Together with our partners, we also challenged society’s negative perceptions of young people, and we empowered young women and men to take a more active role in decision-making, advocacy and outreach around youth-specific security priorities, including addressing the factors that drive young people to join violent groups.
Nationally, we worked with a civil society network of 30 organisations to support dialogue within communities, and between communities and authorities. This network launched and ran its first advocacy and outreach campaigns, reaching an estimated 45,000 people and focusing on security concerns related to the underlying drivers of insecurity and violence within communities. The largest mobile phone network company in Tajikistan shared campaign messages with their users for free.
Together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Saferworld assessed the training needs of police officers. We supported the Police Academy to develop a community policing handbook and to train police officers and cadets on community policing in Tajikistan. We also held two national conferences that brought together 330 security providers and 160 civil society representatives to discuss community policing and community security and to advocate for more people-centred security provision.