Ten teams of “Peace Messengers” from Kyrgyzstan’s Jalal-Abad region took part in a simulation exercise on August 26 with the aim of testing their capabilities in crisis response and in acting jointly with public authorities on settling conflict and maintaining stability in their areas of responsibility.
The simulation exercise was part of a project by the OSCE Centre in Bishkek on developing the capacity of the public-private network of Yntymak Jarchylary, or “Peace Messengers”. It was implemented by local NGOs the Public Association “IRET”, the Public Foundation “Aimira”, and the Public Association of rural women “Alga”, in close co-operation with local and central authorities following agreements signed with them.
The office of the Plenipotentiary Representative of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic in Jalal-Abad province served as the headquarters for this exercise. It controlled and commanded about 200 Peace Messengers, who practiced mechanisms of effective engagement and co-ordination in preventing conflict from spilling into a large-scale crisis and mitigating its consequences.
“The OSCE Centre in Bishkek stands ready to continue supporting the Government of Kyrgyzstan in its commitments to achieve a sustainable peace and harmony in society,” said John MacGregor, Deputy Head of the OSCE Centre in Bishkek. “This province-wide exercise is aimed at solidifying in practice the skills and knowledge the Peace Messengers have acquired in the course of the project. Plus, we hope they will be able to enhance their interaction and co-ordination skills among the teams and with the authorities alike.”
The public-private network of Yntymak Jarchylary was established in 2011 with the support of the OSCE Centre in Bishkek. It had originally consisted of 25 teams in Osh city, in Osh and Jalal-Abad Provinces, and was further expanded in 2012 to involve nine additional teams in Chuy Province.
They are seen as a “bridge” in a variety of aspects, not only between different ethnic and age groups but also between the public and government authorities. They assist parties engaged in a conflict in finding a mutually-acceptable solution and also act as an early warning mechanism.