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Karoi residents were awarded with diplomas for participation in the small grants program

13 october 2020
The problem of poaching affects local residents. They believe that one of the methods of combating it is to support the development of small and medium businesses in the Balkhash area.

In early October, the participants of the annual WWF-Russia Small Grants Program in Central Asia were awarded with diplomas, which was organized by the Ecobioproject Public Foundation in Karoi village in Kazakhstan. The program aims to develop environmentally friendly small businesses. In total, 10 million tenge was allocated to support the initiatives of the local population.

From the beginning of 2020, the program had the goal to finance socially significant projects, as well as involving women in the development of entrepreneurship.

A poll conducted last year in the Ile-Balkhash region showed that the interviewed women, when were asked about their personal plans for the near future, declared their readiness to “open their own business” - 40.3%. 36.4 percents of women were going to continue doing housework. Another 16.4% “would like to get an additional profession”, and 9.4% - want to get an additional education, 5.5% declared their desire to engage in socially useful work and civic activity.

Small Grants Program recipients
(c) WWF Russia/ Zauresh Danayeva

Thus, the overwhelming majority of Karoy women - 72.2% - stated their desire to change the traditional way of life for the region in the future and take a more active economic and social position. The Small Grants Program has provided timely support for such endeavors.

“Our goal was to select those projects that have a socially significant effect for the entire population, not just for the entrepreneur,”- Grigory Mazmaniants, Director of the Central Asian Programme of WWF Russia, says. - It is valuable that local residents of Karoy understand this, therefore the submitted applications were mainly in the service sector. Now people have a service far from the big city, which means that the quality of life of the local population will increase".

The commission included Grigory Mazmaniants - director of the WWF Russia Central Asian programme, Zhassar Adilbayev - head of the Ecobioproject, Olga Pereladova - scientific consultant of the WWF Central Asian program, and Lina Waldshmit - head of the tourism and environmental education department of the “Ile-Balkhash”.

In total, 34 applications from the local population were submitted. Based on the demands of the competition, the commission selected 16 applications which best meet the requirements of the project:

opening of a vulcanization point, production of traditional national goods (felt, blankets, bags, souvenirs), computer services, opening of a confectionery shop, melon-growing, beekeeping, dairy products processing, planting of corn and lucerne, opening of a bath complex with a hairdresser, ice cream production, launching a sewing and knitting shops, opening of a mini cafe.

Projects of small and medium businesses in Karoy
(c) WWF Russia/ Zauresh Danayeva

It should be said that unemployment in the region also is one of the most pressing problems - 65.2% of respondents noted this in a poll. Since the start of the Small Grants Program (2018), the situation in Karoy and nearby villages is gradually changing for the better.

57.3% of Karoy residents from 30 to 45 years old (target group of the project) are in favor of creating new jobs that will influence the increase of household income.

The Small Grants Program is the part of the program of the reintroduction of the Caspian tiger, which WWF Russia is implementing with the government of Kazakhstan.

For additional information please contact
Director of the Central Asian Program Office of WWF-Russia