Community discussions at the exhibition “My Voice” on the way to conflict resolution

On 26, 28 and 30 September in 2011, RDF held joing community discussions and mobile pohot exhibitions in the district of AK-Tatyr in Batken region and the district of Toolos and Nookat in Osh region as part of the project on “Promotion of peace and tolerance through creativity”.

In spring 2011, women and youth of the districts of Ak-Sai and Ak-Tatyr in Batken region, and the district of Toolos and the city of Nookat in Osh region were trained to take part in a research using the innovative method, “photo-voice”. This project gave them the opportunity to express their personal opinions about the conflicts, their causes and ways to solve them through photographs, and RDF collected and archived these pictures to display at the exhibitions

During the community meetings, discussions were held on problems of communities identified during the photo research, such as inter-ethnic conflicts, lack of drinking and irrigation water, insufficient electricity supply, unemployment, etc. The participants also discussed the results of the small-grant programmes implemented according to the results of the photo research in order to reduce ethnic tensions and strengthen peaceful relations. The meetings were attended by representatives of local authorities, the heads of local communities, city and district administrators, leaders and activists of Ak-Tatyr, Ak-Sai, Toolos and Nookat villages, revered community elders, women, youth and children, project participants, as well as representatives of the donor organization and the media.

Discussions and photo exhibitions were organised in public, open areas, where anyone could take part in the event and publicly express their opinion, ideas and suggestions. This photo-exhibition/discussion initiatives not only identified problems and conflicts of communities, but also brought new ideas and ways to peacefully resolve ethnic conflicts and build good-neighbourly relations.

This project was implemented by Rural Development Fund with the support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Transition Initiatives Program.