Starting activities in June 2017, the European Project ODAK: Enbek-Kazakh Alliance for Sustainable Economic and Human Development is carried out in Kazakhstan by Formaper - Agency of Milan Chamber of Commerce (Italy), the ILS LEDA International Network - KIP International School, IEAWO (International Environmental Association of Women of Orient) and FKF (Farmer of Kazakhstan Foundation).
The project aims to enhance the Enbek-Kazakh District abilities of civil society organisations in shaping up promising and sustainable horizons for their local economic development. In particular, the project works to achieve the following strategic objectives
• Valorising the local resources through empowering the value chains networks of apple, milk, soy, and vegetables.
• Establishing a participatory mechanism for organising joint efforts’ actions and supporting the district development
• Improving the service system for local economic development, its effectiveness and efficiency, through better coordinating the existing service providers.
In October 2019, the ODAK project has achieved the following medium-term impact results.
Valorisation of the local resources
The assessment of the economic potential of the Enbek-Kazakh District realized by the value chains’ actors made progress in the elaboration of competitive and sustainable development territorial strategies through the application of the ILS LEDA RESCO methodology.
In particular, the objective was achieved through elaborating participatory development strategies for 4 value (chains apple, milk, soy, vegetables). At this aim four Value Chain Focus Groups were established, including representatives of farmers, service providers, local executive bodies, Akimats (municipal and district), educational institutions, NGOs, scientific institutions and other interested organizations are the members of the four VCFGs: Apple, Milk, Soy, and Vegetables.
• In the Apple Focus Group 22 people participated, including 13 farmers and 5 service providers, the Akim of Baltabay region, and the agrarian university. The FG decided 2 farmers would participate in the September of Astana agriculture Fair.
• In the Soya Focus Group 38 people participated, including 14 farmers and 13 service providers, the district deputy, the head of the department of agriculture of the Enbekshikazakh district, the Akim of the Baltabay region, 5 researchers from the KazNau university.
• In the Milk Focus Group 12 persons participated, including 6 farmers, representatives from the Akimat, 3 service providers, and the university. The Focus Group decided 2 farmers would participate to the September he Astana agriculture Fair.
• In the fruit and vegetable focus group 10 people participated, including 8 farmers, and 2 service providers.
The finalization of the value chain’s strategies brought to the elaboration of the Enbek-Kazak District strategy which was the base for the public-private territorial platform for permanently support the district development and the service system for local economic development.
The ODAK participatory mechanism
The value chain focus represented the first experiment of a participatory entity for the district development, and it facilitated the constitution of the Enbekshi-Kazakh Public-Private Alliance – ODAK, including the value chain focus groups, and more actors, representatives of NGOs, service providers, and scientific and educational institutions.
ODAK was established in a seminar held on November 2018 with the participation of 24 people, and finally legalized in July 2019. It has, as first members, 15 people, representatives of the various sectors. The ODAK’s main objectives are:
• Lobbying and stimulating the alignment of national and local public policy with the interest, needs and strategies of local value chains
• Facilitating fund raising, through project financing, and implementation of public programs
• Formulating and implementing the District Marketing Strategy
In the framework of the ODAK, the first initiative was to launch the implementation of 10 small innovative projects/initiatives either from private enterprises, or can be kind of “spin offs” initiatives of the public entities involved in the Project (universities, institutions, service providers). These initiatives (currently in the phase of start up) will be based on their positive impact on the value chain performances and on the rural population.
During the ODAK Steering Committee realized in November 2018, local actors also agreed on the importance of realizing a Catalogue of Innovations aimed to encourage the contribution of social and economic innovations with territorial impact for the reduction of poverty, exclusion and job creation, starting from the prioritized value chains of the ODAK Alliance. The Universities agreed to coordinate, with the support of Kazak and European action partners, the searching process of these innovation and the elaboration of the catalogue. Furthermore, the agrarian University KazNau is committed to realizing a special training course for our farmers, based on the ODAK project approaches. Finally, KazNAU is committed also to conducting training courses for students in the farms of the region.
The project activities counted with the special participation of the Government Commission Representatives for the Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization to the convention on biological diversity. An agreement was reached that the future district strategies will be elaborated in the framework of the Nagoya Protocol principles.
The service system for local economic development
A One Stop Shops (OSS) aimed to support the implementation of the district and value chains’ strategies in the framework of ODAK, facilitating the coordination among the various existing and new services (to be setup), started operating in March 2019.
A manager was hired to coordinate the activities and 12 service providers were involved and committed to coordinate their efforts in the framework of the OSS. OSS provides comprehensive information and referral to the clients (farmers, job seekers, entrepreneurs and would be entrepreneurs, and vulnerable people in search of a job), on issues such as: opportunities, regulatory frameworks, where to find specific services, how and to whom apply, what are the procedures, etc.
According to the action plan shared by the members, the final phase of the project would strengthen the ODAK’s operational model and its role in the territory, and its capacity of representing a permanent reference for local and external actors for the District inclusive and sustainable development. Priority actions would be the support to innovative projects, the territorial marketing strategy, enhancing the links with regional and national authorities and policies, the direct support to the value chains (capacity building, employment, commercialization) to be provided through the OSS.