From where I stand: “We’re promoting women’s participation in community development and peace-building”

Davbekova Ashyrgul, 49, is the leader of a self-help group in a village on the disputed Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border. Her group promotes participation of women in community development and peace-building processes.


Davbekova Ashyrguyl at the medical service center in Ortoboz, Aktatyr municipality. Photo: UN Women/Tilebaldieva Kiyal
Davbekova Ashyrguyl at the medical service center in Ortoboz, Aktatyr municipality. Photo: UN Women/Tilebaldieva Kiyal

“Our self-help group, “Onuguu” [means ‘development’ in Kyrgyz], have recently launched a medical service center, which is specialized in providing massage, ultra-high frequency scanning, physical therapy, such as iontophoresis, paraffin treatment and light bath [a type of thermal treatment]. Currently, four women work at the medical service center, two of them have medical education, and two of them are currently receiving a training on how to use massage beds and iontophoresis.

Our village Ortoboz is located right on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. It is at the center of cross-border disputes, which create an unfavorable environment in our village.

Unfortunately, in our society there are many stereotypes on what women should do. Women are afraid to show their leadership qualities and do not participate in decision-making processes. We’re actively promoting participation of women in local community development and peace-building processes, setting ourselves as an example.

Through participating in the project “Cross-border cooperation for sustainable peace and development”, I have increased my knowledge on business-planning, financial literacy and role of women in peace-building. Our self-help group established partnership with the local self-government, which supported our initiative to open a medical service center, provided the venue and made a renovation.

Now, in our group, we have women of Kyrgyz and Tajik ethnicities. The medical center, which is our joint initiative, offers health care services to over 3,000 vulnerable women and men in our villages, and increases trust between our communities and local authorities.”

SDG 5: Gender equality
Good health and well-being
SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

Davbekova Ashyrgul works as a birth attendant at the village medical and obstetric centre. UN Women in Kyrgyzstan has supported the establishment of her self-help group’s new medical centre in the framework of the joint project “Cross-border cooperation for sustainable peace and development”, funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund, implemented with WFP, UNDP, FAO and UNICEF. The work of Ashyrgul and her group contributes to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, which promotes peaceful and inclusive societies, SDG 5, which aims to achieve gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls and SDG 3 on ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing.