Many of Kyrgyzstan’s public organizations have on several occasions raised the idea that the state should create social contracting. But is this necessary in current conditions?
The effectiveness of CSOs engagement in implementing programs or projects aimed at addressing problems in the social sphere using budget funds is explained by the fact that these organizations, while working with risk groups and closed communities, are able to render unique services. These services successfully complement the state system of measures in various spheres.
We decided to find out from CSOs representing different areas of activity why indeed this is important and necessary.
There exists a stereotype with respect to social contracting that it is a mechanism of supporting CSOs. This is not true as social contracting is an economic and legal form of state plans and programs implementation focused on meeting social needs of citizens,” noted the director of Public Fund “Civic Participation” Erkina Ubysheva.
For example, an analysis of social contracting effectiveness by the Ministry of Social Development of the Kyrgyz Republic has shown the following results: a cost minimization of 30%, and up to 25% of unrecorded consumers were identified in strengthening of target orientation. In addition, administrative cost savings up to 50% in rendering integrated services were noted, and a 10% growth of satisfaction with services.
Thus, we can say confidently that social contracting leads to results including: improvement of the effectiveness and quality of state social programs, development of innovation mechanisms, and citizen engagement in tackling problems of socially vulnerable groups and segments of the population. It also leads to improvement of the efficient use of budget funds, reduction of protectionism and corruption opportunities,” stated Ms. Ubysheva.
In late September, a high-level National Conference New HIV and TB Challenges was initiated by the Ministry of Health. Event participants tried to find answers to many pressing issues. First and foremost, participants were interested in the social contracting problem, and engagement of CSOs working in the sphere of HIV and TB using budget funds.
Whatever the attitude of some people toward civil society organizations is, the state will not cope with rendering services on its own, especially in terms of such vulnerable groups as HIV and DUs. They must be found, tested and kept track of so that they receive treatment. They must be motivated and able to find a common language. I always say that doctors do not have to deal with this. We invest too much time and money in doctors. Studying medicine alone takes 8 years. And it will look very strange if doctors will go to villages and fields seeking DUs. It is here that CSOs will play an essential role. But how will they interact with the state? This year, a very advanced law on social contracting has been enacted. But it needs to begin working. There are a number of regulatory documents that have to be enacted, and again budgetary money must be allocated for it,” commented Aibar Sultangaziyev, director of the Partnership Network Association, head of the Consortium of Organizations of the Partnership for Equitable Access to HIV Care Continuum Regional Program.
For example, one of the budget items provides for increasing the funds allocated in 2018 for HIV/TB response, but this amount is not comparable to those that were allocated earlier by IMF and in no way can it resolve the goals set.
Thus, we have set a goal of raising public awareness about this problem by joint efforts, including our Ministry of Health. Social contracting has not been used in the healthcare system so far,” Sultangaziyev summarized.
One more example of state and public organizations’ cooperation is last year’s Elderly People as Bearers of the Historical and Cultural Heritage of KR project implemented by the Resource Center for Elderly People (RCEP), as ordered by the KR Ministry of Social Development and Labor.
Our main goal was to contribute to improving the social and legal position of the elderly generation in our country. As a result, initiative groups of elderly people who take care of themselves announced their creative activity on the national level at The Golden Age Inspiration festival of elderly people’s creative activity. “They don’t need too much, the most important things they need include care and support from the state and society,” commented Gulmira Esengeldiyeva, executive director of RCEP.
More than 500 grandmothers and grandfathers received access to high quality socio-cultural services, and 200 social workers acquired practical skills to render social services using social technologies to vulnerable elderly people.
Speaking of social contracting in Kyrgyzstan, in my viewpoint, it is necessary to increase the state budget for projects that will result in system changes. Of course, small projects are effective and important, but the state has to pass over to a new level of cooperation with the CSO sector,” noted Gulmira Esengeldiyeva.