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is a not-for-profit and nongovernmental policy and research organization established in 2003 to conduct research, develop policy recommendations, and implement activities in the field of the rural development.

Rural Development Fund

is a not-for-profit and nongovernmental policy and research organization established in 2003 to conduct research, develop policy recommendations, and implement activities in the field of the rural development.

Rural Development Fund

is a not-for-profit and nongovernmental policy and research organization established in 2003 to conduct research, develop policy recommendations, and implement activities in the field of the rural development.

Rural Development Fund




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Approach to Participatory Management of Natural Resources


Fast Facts


Realization period: 2009-2010


Area: Ak-Sai and Ak-Tatyr aiyl okrugs, Batken oblast


Donor: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)


Partner: Rural Development Institute, Pasture Department of Ministry of Agriculture of Kyrgyz Republic, CAMP Alatoo, ARIS, OSCE Media Resource Center


Contact: general@rdf.in.kg


Natural resources along border areas are subject to multiple users' claims which are usually mediated to differing extent by traditional as well as formal norms and arrangements. However, these regulatory arrangements may prove inadequate or defunct to sustain sustainable use of natural resources as social and economic conditions change over time, leading to the situations as varied as social tension, misunderstood disputes among users and even open conflict over the control of the resources concerned.


Project aim

Project seeked to develop and test the approach to Natural Resource Management (NRM) which helps allay natural resource-related conflict potential in areas where the state borders are still porous and undefined. Project was implemented by Rural Development Fund, Kyrgyz Republic, in partnership with Rural Development Institute, USA, and financially supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).


Project objectives

Firstly, it aimed to strengthen capacity of local communities for sustainable and conflict-free management of natural resources through the participatory development of natural resource management plan and joint learning.

Secondly, the project ensured that all community members have equal access and input to the development of the resource management plan.

Thirdly, extra care was taken to ensure that the project's objectives and activities are transparent throughout of project's lifetime (April 2009 - November 2010), and equally communicated to Kyrgyz and Tajik communities covered by the project through balanced and carefully targeted public awareness and information events.

Finally, the project seeked to scrupulously document the experience as well as lessons learned throughout the project with the view of potentially replicating the approach thus developed in other border areas. 


Project area

The project worked with the communities of Ak-Sai and Ak-Tatyr ayil okrugs, Batken oblast, but also engaged other stakeholders at different levels, including local NGOs and civil society organizations, state structures and donor agencies.


Project partners

ARIS, CAMP Ala-Too, OSCE Media Resource Centre


Main project activities

Upon first entering the border communities, the project undertook participatory community assessment (PCA) to obtain the cross-section of the community structure, its level of homogeneity/heterogeneity, dominant modes of informal or customary decision making, power structure. This is accompanied by efforts to communicate explicitly the project objectives and activities to local communities, as well as to locate (in)formal leader leaders who would enter or be part of the facilitating institution.


As the next step, the community mapping of the local natural resources is to be carried out with the immediate participation of local researchers identified during PCA and recruited from within the communities. The community researchers were trained by RDF on community mapping skills and techniques which will also support the planning capacity of the facilitating institution later on. In addition, the community researchers undertook the collection of data and traditional methods of joint natural resources management, which was fed into the natural resource management plan. In parallel, the information will be gathered to develop various ideas for social enterprise that may potentially enter the natural resources management plan and be supported under micro grants program. Once the foundation is laid, the project initiated the communities-led development of natural resource management plan with the substantial input from the women, elderly and most vulnerable segments of the communities.


The development of the natural resource management plan was followed by the micro grants program. Natural resource management plan also included the provisions on the terms for extending micro-grants to the local communities. Among others, the potential of the ideas to directly contribute or support the implementation of the natural resource management plan will be a central factor in selecting ideas for micro-grants.


As a key element of the entire project, the regular information on the project, its milestones and its findings were provided to the communities as well as other stakeholders. The specific events and activities were specified in the Public Information and Awareness (PIA) Strategy.


Finally, the project closely cooperated with state agencies with the view of developing and then replicating the mechanism to the other natural resources across the border areas.


Expected project results

As the main outcome, the project expects to deliver the preliminarily tested approach to the co-management of the natural resources in the border areas where specific boundaries are still ‘fuzzy' and undefined. The approach thus developed may potentially provide the transition mechanism with regard to the use of natural resources until the issues with borders are clarified and explicitly addressed.

Rural Development Fund

Geologicheskiy str., Office 1

Bishkek, 720005, Kyrgyz Republic

Phone: +996 (312)590828 

Mob. phone: +996 (770)330106 

Email: general@rdf.in.kg

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