With the support of the European Union, DVV International, together with its partners, has started the project “Democracy and religion - dialogue between equal and moderate voices - DREAM” in March 2017.
Kyrgyzstan is a Islam-influenced secular state in which a multitude of religions from all over the world live together. Since the independence of the country in 1991, a legal framework has been created so that citizens can exercise and spread their religion freely. At the same time, tensions between religions can be observed. In recent years, the representatives of different religions have become increasingly politicised and radicalised. To make matters worse, cooperation between the state and religious organisations is inefficient, and the system of religious education is deficient and insufficiently state-controlled.
To meet these challenges, DREAM aims to promote solidarity and democracy in Kyrgyz society. The main target group is the youth. About 1,300 young people with different religious affiliations from rural and urban areas in all seven regions of the country are involved in the project’s activities. They should be enabled to prevent radicalisation, to counter extremist ideologies, and to reduce the existing religious tensions.
A series of discussion platforms, such as national roundtables, youth forums and conferences on religious freedom and diversity, are being set up. They offer the opportunity to discuss questions about state religious policy, youth policy, the current situation of religious communities, and the relations between state and religious structures. The Kyrgyz youth councils, as well as the local crime prevention centres, are to be strengthened through their various competencies and in their capacity for dialogue. Finally, Kyrgyz media representatives are to be trained and sensitised to ensure balanced reporting on religious issues.
The two-year project is being implemented together with Bishkek’s “Institute for Youth Development”, the non-governmental organisation “Youth of Osh” from the city of Osh and the “CRISP” (Crisis Simulation for Peace e.V.) association from Berlin. The project, with a total budget of 860,000 Euros is 80% financed by the European Commission under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) and 20% by DVV International and CRISP.