The Soros Foundation–Kyrgyzstan has emerged as a leader in promoting good governance and civic participation efforts in Kyrgyzstan. It has worked to ensure that elections meet international standards, helped to establish civilian oversight of police, trained judges and lawyers in the application of international norms on civil and political rights, and sought to guarantee fair and transparent regulation of the Kyrgyz media. The foundation’s reform efforts in the education sector have included advocacy for improved standards in higher education.
The foundation has also worked to advance the rights of vulnerable populations, including women, the mentally disabled, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. The foundation has played an important role in preventing efforts to decriminalize polygamy, a practice that would undermine Kyrgyz women’s efforts to achieve full political and social equality. The foundation has also worked to increase women’s political participation and their presence in the media.
The foundation’s public health activities have included helping establish a harm reduction approach to drug use and HIV prevention, and initiating several successful outreach programs targeting populations at high risk of infection, including sex workers and prisoners.