The Advocacy and Education Program (AaEP as you may have heard) aims to raise awareness and sensitivity among decision makers, engage and mobilize LGBT communities and civil society to change the situation in the country with a single goal - improving the lives of LGBT people in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia.
There are several areas in the AaEP program aimed at achieving this goal:
Human rights protection is an activity aimed at restoring violated rights. This includes documenting cases of human rights violations for further response. This means that if your rights have been violated or you have faced injustice because of SOGI (sexual orientation and/or gender identity) you need to document this so that the Advocacy and Education Program can respond to cases of discrimination/violations that have occurred, through organizational (MaEP) and partner resources.
Through advocacy, we can have the evidence base to support changes on the state level by documenting cases of human rights violations in our country.
Advocacy is a kind of ongoing "fieldwork" that allows us to observe and know what is happening in reality and how it differs from how it should be and what is stated in government documents/laws/national plans and programs.
Advocacy is an action or activity aimed at changing the human rights (LGBT people's rights) situation at the legislative or public level in accordance with international human rights standards. The process involves identifying problems, analyzing them, and developing appropriate actions and measures when violations or non-compliance occurs. In this case, it involves promoting human rights (LGBT people's rights) to achieve equal rights for all.
In this area AaEP together with the Community Mobilization and Strengthening program and with the help of research, monitoring and documentation of cases of LGBT rights violations in Kyrgyzstan, prepares reports that are submitted to international organizations/bodies to further promote human rights at the national level. All of this is done to ensure that LGBT people can live in a safer country without the threat of violence or discrimination and are protected by the government as citizens.
Advocacy is a continuous activity that can be influenced by various processes, such as socio-political changes in the region/world - elections, revolutions, changes in political relations, sanctions, etc. - where our country is linked to other countries or bodies that have influence on it. Different generations of activists may be engaged in the same advocacy direction replacing each other over time.
The last but not least direction of AaEP is educational activities.
This work is carried out by AaEP to ensure that the government, specialists in various fields (media, medical professionals, law enforcement agencies, etc.) and partner organizations are aware of LGBT people, their rights and needs, to develop partnerships and work together to improve the lives of LGBT communities in Kyrgyzstan. Separately, it should be noted that within this area there is this website - an alternative information platform serving as an opportunity to learn about LGBT people in general, the situation of LGBT communities in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia, diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities, latest news of the organization, etc.
AaEP actively continues to work not only with LGBT community, but also with professional communities: journalists/media, medical professionals, lawyers, and people who make decisions in different areas and bodies that affect the lives of LGBT people.
It should also be noted that in the process of AaEP work friendly professionals engage in advocacy processes to help change the situation of LGBT communities in Kyrgyzstan for the better and provide professional services and assistance to LGBT people without stigma or discrimination.
To summarize, the Advocacy and Education Program is a long-term effort. Its goals can be achieved through combined efforts of not only the LGBT community but also professional communities and government.