The SP&PFM Programme organized stakeholder consultations for applying design thinking when developing new service models for the inclusion of adult persons with disabilities in communities and the labour market. The consultations involved three focus group discussions with members of associations of people with disabilities and the business community and with executive authorities represented by the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Migration. They were asked to identify and evaluate the scope of social services, access to employment programmes and jobs for people with disabilities. The findings and recommendations will be submitted to the Government.

The focus groups involved 12 participants in total and were conducted online : (i) on 14 October 2022 with representatives of the Union of People with Disabilities-Equality, the Association of Disabled People of Kyrgyzstan, the Kyrgyz Federation of the Blind and the Republican Independent Association of Disabled Women of the Kyrgyz Republic; (ii) on 20 October with representatives of the JIA Business Association, the International Business Council and the American Chamber of Commerce;  and (iii) on 26 October 2022 with representatives of the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Migration.

The participants focused on the national landscape concerning the inclusion of persons with disabilities regarding skills development, inclusion in the labour market and access to social protection. During the discussions, participants noted that some people may not be aware of the many difficulties persons with disabilities experience in everyday life and common daily activities. Even policy barriers frequently relate to a lack of awareness or enforcement of laws and regulations that require programmes and activities to be accessible to people with disabilities.

“More needs to be done to increase the commitment and capacity from companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises,” explained Egemberdiev Amantur, a lawyer and member of the American Chamber of Commerce. “The private sector can independently take initiatives and adapt organizational strategies at their own level to promote the rights and interests of people with disabilities and thus be a real role model and inspire others.”

According to Mambetakunov Kalyk, President of the Association of Disabled People of Kyrgyzstan, “Persons with disabilities also vary in all demographic characteristics and differences, leading to different needs and challenges for their social services and labour market inclusion.”

And Alexander Hauschild, a Protellus’s expert, pointed out that the classification of disability in the Kyrgyz Republic derives from former Soviet Union governance. “Persons with disabilities are medically assessed and categorized,” he said. “The categorization severely limits their access to the labour market and implies that they require care and charity, with persons with disabilities in groups I and II [categorized] as unable to work and experiencing negative attitudes from the population, including employers. Based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, persons with disabilities are rights-holders and entitled to, among many others, the right to education, work and independent living,” he reminded the participants. He also noted that the lack of awareness on the demand side of the labour market is a bottleneck for the inclusion of persons with disabilities. “Employment offices must make awareness training concerning disability inclusion mandatory for businesses,” he argued.

The SP&PFM Programme supports the policy framework on disability issues in the Kyrgyz Republic by providing inputs on appropriate international social protection and labour standards, for example, for the revision of the Labour Code and the law on disability issues, as well as for the country’s overall social protection strategy.

Read more about the SP&PFM in Kyrgyz Republic: here