Women and girls play a central role in Saferworld’s work to improve security and safety for communities in Kyrgyzstan. Violent conflict is often borne from the roles that women and men are expected to play in society. This can take the form of marginalisation of women or expectations of men to be ‘masculine’. Traditional values also prevent women and girls from taking a stand and addressing the threats to their own safety. Ensuring that women and girls are included in any discussions around community security helps address the needs of all rather than just the few.
With our partner Foundation for Tolerance International (FTI), we work in 40 communities in a range of provinces of Kyrgyzstan to ensure that efforts to build safer communities take into account the needs of women and men, and that they provide equal opportunity for everyone to live peaceful and secure lives. We make sure that women’s voices are heard at meetings with authorities. Our work with young people and women – who often form committees or groups to collectively address women’s issues locally – seeks to address problems such as street harassment, early marriage, low levels of education for girls, bride kidnapping and domestic violence. We take these issues to the national government, advocating for changes in policy and extra protection for women and girls.