Shymkent Women's Resource Center

Shymkent Women's Resource Center

Женский Ресурсный Центр

SWRC promotes women’s advancement in Kazakhstan through civic and legal education, professional training, campaigns to combat trafficking, and the provision of psychological and legal counseling, self-help groups, and a shelter and hotline for female victims of domestic abuse and trafficking.

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Partner Focus Areas

Civic and legal education
Professional training in five specialties
Domestic violence and human trafficking
Economic opportunities for rural women

Partnership Highlights

Partner since 2005
Grassroots leadership training
Central Asia regional collaboration
Russian adaptation of WLP manuals and documentaries
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About SWRC

The Shymkent Women’s Resource Center (SWRC) promotes the rights and security of women through education and training, direct services, and advocacy campaigns. Founded in 1998, SWRC is addressing many of the key issues that are hindering women’s advancement including family laws and inheritance laws, low paying jobs and limited access to credit, and gender discrimination in school, the work place, and other sectors of society. Since SWRC joined the WLP partnership in 2005, SWRC has used WLP’s curricula to conduct dozens of workshops on leadership, ending gender-based violence, engaging women in political action, human rights, and promoting democratic institutions and practices. SWRC’s constituents includes young activists, rural women, women from low-income communities, as well as government officials and policy-makers. SWRC works primarily in Kazakh and Russian.

Kazakhstan TOT 2013
Women from across Central Asia participate in a role play activity during a SWRC leadership training in Kazakhstan.

Recent Accomplishments

  • SWRC took part in a national discussion on the “Concept of Family and Gender Policy in Kazakhstan to 2030,” before the policy’s adoption. The policy proposal was approved in December 2016, and will be in effect until 2030. The new family and gender policy promotes equality in the enjoyment of all economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights, regardless of gender, non-discrimination in state and public life, and the eradication of gender stereotypes in society.
  • SWRC conducted 22 hours of interactive trainings and seminars in secondary schools throughout Shymkent on the harm of gender-stereotyping. In a lively series of participatory sessions, SWRC staff discussed with students how gender stereotypes are formed, and how they negatively impact both men and women.
  • SWRC participated in drafting gender-mainstreaming recommendations for Kazakh institutions of higher learning. The recommendations addressed how to include women’s accomplishments and perspectives in the academic subjects being taught. The recommendations were specific to lessons in the arts, engineering, technology, natural sciences, agriculture, and health studies, among others.
  • SWRC has provided training to 100 girls from low-income families in career-track courses in the beauty profession, including certifications for master stylist and master of manicure and pedicure. 
Kazakhstan 2012 TOT
Participants work in groups using WLP's Leading to Choices manual at a training of trainers in Kazakhstan.

Organizational Programs and Activities

Women's Help Center

  • SWRC operates a shelter and a hotline for abused women and victims of trafficking. Clients are provided with a place of safety, and psychological and legal services. The legal services include formalizing marriage contracts, assistance when women have been victims of domestic violence, and resolving inequitable divorce settlements relating to property division, acquisition of commercial assets, and guardianship of children.

Ensuring Women's Access to Microcredit

  • SWRC provides training sessions for rural, poor, and marginalized women on how to access microcredit loans for their businesses. SWRC’s aim is to reduce women’s poverty by helping them find higher paid work or to start their own businesses. Their clients are assisted in drafting business plans and given guidance about how to take advantage of economic opportunities.
Two activists present their findings at a Training of Trainers workshop in Georgia organized by WLP’s partner in Kazakhstan, SWRC

Themed Leadership Trainings

  • SWRC conducts leadership trainings on domestic violence, human trafficking, career development, and gender equality, with the goal of promoting the rights of women. SWRC’s human rights seminars help participants to strengthen their leadership skills and learn about their rights in situations of domestic violence and human trafficking. SWRC’s career development trainings assist unemployed women and single mothers to gain confidence and skills for finding employment. SWRC’s business counseling seminars teach women how to create or improve their small businesses.

Leadership Training for Government Entities and Civil Servants

  • SWRC conducts gender sensitivity trainings for both women and men working in municipalities. Participants focus on a range of issues from legal education to combatting human trafficking, the role of NGOs and other stakeholders in providing social services, and discrimination and equal rights of persons with disabilities.
WLP's partner in Kazakhstan conducts leadership training for members of the Regional Council of Trade in October of 2017.

Central Asian Regional Training Institutes

SWRC, often in collaboration with WLP’s partner in Kyrgyzstan,Bir Duino, hosts national and regional training institutes for women’s rights activists from across Central Asia (including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan). The trainings aim to build participants’ skills as facilitators, communicators, and advocates through group exercises, collaborative projects, and discussions. The trainings cover topics relating to human rights, democracy, and ending violence against women and focus on transforming views of leadership in the context of the participants’ daily lives. 

The 2009 Law on Domestic Violence had been the subject of roundtable discussions and in process for 10 years. Initially, it was in raw form, but was accepted as a starting point. It still needs improvement. We’re taking it to international discussions [and we are making] progress. 

,President, WLP Kazakhstan/Shymkent Women’s Resource Center (SWRC)

About Kazakhstan

  • Population: 19.4 million
  • Located in Central Asia, bordering Russia in the North and West, China in the East, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan in the South, and the Caspian Sea in the West, Kazakhstan is the world’s ninth largest country.
  • Economy: Ranked 42nd in the world
  • Due to the country's vast natural resources, Kazakhstan has the largest economy in Central Asia.
  • Government: Presidential Republic
  • Legal system: Civil law system influenced by Roman-Germanic law and the Russian Federation
  • Religions: Muslim 70.2%, Christian 26.2% (mainly Russian Orthodox), other 0.2%, atheist 2.8%, unspecified 0.5%
  • Seats held by women in national parliament: 27%
  • Labor force 48.8% female
  • Female literacy: 99.7%
  • Maternal mortality rate: 10 deaths per 100,000 live births
  • Citizenship: At least one parent must be a citizen of Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan NTOT 2012
Participants and facilitators build connections and solidarity at SWRC's leadership workshops.
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