Educational camps for future community activists
The Kyrgyz Republic remains the country of origin of migrants, mostly workers. Due to the persistent high level of unemployment and low level of wages, the main “pushing out” motivation for emigration of citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic remains economic motivation. Labor migration, in general, enables migrants to address pressing financial and domestic issues. Improved financial situation increases the prestige of labor migrants in their own families and in the circle of friends, migrants gain experience, can provide education for children. According to official figures, 710 thousand citizens of Kyrgyzstan are in labor migration abroad. 90% of them (640 thousand) work in Russia. One of the negative consequences for labor migrants from Kyrgyzstan is the prohibitions on re-entry into the territory of the Russian Federation. According to the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation, at the end of 2018, more than 65 thousand citizens of Kyrgyzstan were banned on re-entry. Re-entry bans are devastating, undermining the ability of migrants to take advantage of their usual adaptation strategies in situations of legal, economic and social uncertainty. A constant state of need leads to a feeling of loss of influence and self-esteem. Migrants with bans gradually turn away not only from their social networks in migration, but also from their community at home, becoming seriously threatened to find themselves in social isolation from both their family and the community, with a growing sense of alienation. Serious psychosocial consequences, for example, the absence of plans and efforts to find work, are observed among migrants who have experienced long periods of unemployment at home. Unaware of their basic rights, migrants do not hope to receive assistance from official institutions and do not seek support and / or information from government bodies or NGOs. Such unwillingness to communicate with official organizations (state and non-state) makes it difficult for the latter to identify the most urgent needs of vulnerable groups. Alienation from authorities expresses a suspicious attitude to their role, which signals the need to strengthen dialogue between official bodies and migrants in order to develop consistent measures in response to the psychological, economic and social needs of migrants. For a considerable amount of time, the IOM / UN Migration Agency has been protecting and assisting migrants from Kyrgyzstan in their path to implementing their migration strategy. IOM / UN Migration Agency assisted a large number of migrants upon their return to Kyrgyzstan. The issues of attracting migrants to volunteer as activists in promoting human rights, disseminating information about the risks of irregular migration, human trafficking / smuggling, advocating for safe migration by sharing their stories and experiences, initiating socially and economically important actions at the level of their communities remain relevant. As a solution to this issue, the “Roza Otunbayeva Initiative International Public Foundation” in cooperation and support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) / UN Agency for Migration, the Representative Office of the International Fund for Electoral Systems in the Kyrgyz Republic (IFES), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) implemented the “USAID Dignity and Rights” project. Conducting 2 camps for future community activists and a 1day dialogue between local authorities and community activists. As part of the project, two 3-day camps took place for future community activists in Tosor village, Jeti-Oguz rayon of Issyk-Kul oblast and Kara-Alma village in Suzak rayon, Jalal-Abad oblast. Approximately 30 people from all oblasts of the country took part in the camps. Over the course of three days, participants increased their knowledge on volunteering, promoting human rights, the structure of the state and elections, talked with representatives of local governments to protect the interests and solve problems of migrants, received answers to questions of interest, took part in meetings with compatriots who made their contribution to the development of their homeland and at the same time received the skills necessary to solve the problems of their communities. The course of the sessions was accompanied by the showing of videos, team games, reflection exercises, art therapy and other activities aimed at developing teamwork skills and expanding the potential of each participant. The result of the two camps is the involvement of migrants in cooperation with local authorities to solve the problems of migrants in local communities, as well as the volunteer activities of migrants as activists in promoting human rights; dissemination of information on the risks of irregular migration, human trafficking / smuggling; promoting safe migration by sharing stories and experiences; initiating socially and economically important community based actions. A Dialogue took place between representatives of local authorities and activist migrants who had previously studied in summer camps. The dialogue took place in an atmosphere of open conversation and the general mood and focus of the participants on solving the problems of protecting the rights of migrants were felt. During the event, former migrants held themselves confidently and actively participated in the discussion of issues, they expressed their visions and suggestions on the promotion of human rights, the dissemination of information about the risks of irregular migration, human trafficking / smuggling, as well as the initiation of socially and economically important development actions at the communities level. It was noticeable that the knowledge gained in the training camps helped them to possess information and confidently express their point of views. Migrants noted that there was no reintegration work after they returned to their homeland. They showed their willingness to volunteer in their communities and help in promoting the protection of the rights of migrants.
The goal of the project is the successful reintegration of migrants and providing them with necessary skills to solve the problems of their communities, as well as their active participation in promoting the human rights and interests of migrants from Kyrgyzstan.