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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09ASHGABAT557
2009-05-01 13:23:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Ashgabat
Cable title:  

TURKMENISTAN: "TRUST" NGO HELPING FILL SOCIAL SERVICE GAP

Tags:   PHUM  KDEM  SOCI  TX 
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASHGABAT 000557 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, DRL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KDEM SOCI TX
SUBJECT: TURKMENISTAN: "TRUST" NGO HELPING FILL SOCIAL SERVICE GAP

ASHGABAT 00000557 001.2 OF 002




1. (U) Sensitive but Unclassified. Not for Internet distribution.



2. (SBU) SUMMARY: Embassy Political Assistant met with NGO
Chairperson Lyudmila Petuhova to learn about the NGO Ynam's
("Trust") activity. The NGO provides legal, psychological and
reproductive health consultation services and fills a gap that
government social services cannot fill. It also runs a library,
provides limited Internet access to the public, and conducts
awareness programs on trafficking in persons, domestic violence,
family issues and discrimination. As such, the NGO has found its
own niche, but it relies solely on funding from the international
donor community, and must work hard to ensure its own continuity.
END SUMMARY.

PROVIDING LEGAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SUPPORT



3. (SBU) The Council Chairperson of the "Ynam" Club, Lyudmila
Petuhova talked with Embassy Political Assistant on April 28 about
the organization's background and activities. Ynam was founded and
registered in 1997 and re-registered in 2004. It has worked to
provide social and legal support to the country's residents. The
club offers a variety of mental health, legal and reproductive
health awareness programs, operates a resource library and provides
limited Internet access to the public. Psychological and legal
assistance is provided free of charge via telephone hotline or
in-office consultations. The club also conducts programs that
educate the public regarding trafficking in persons, domestic
violence, discrimination and a wide range of other social issues.

STRUCTURE



4. (SBU) There are seven staff members and about 35 volunteers,
including three psychologists and eleven lawyers. Decisions about
the organization's activities are made at general meetings that take
place at least once a year. The Club Council or Chairperson
determines the organization's priorities. Ynam's funding comes from
International Organizations, Western embassies and local businesses.
Not long ago, the British Embassy purchased a facility for the NGO
and provided it with office furniture and equipment, while the U.S.
Embassy and the UNHCR have sponsored their participation in various
conferences and training events abroad in the past.

ADDRESSING THE TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS ISSUE



5. (SBU) Ynam conducts awareness seminars to prevent trafficking in
persons (TIP) for the public and for those who plan to travel
abroad. They offer guidance on what documents travelers should have
and also provide useful contact information for getting help abroad
if they believe they are at risk of being trafficked. Ynam
established an international network of NGOs abroad who can assist

TIP victims. In 1998, the NGO assisted a woman from Turkmenistan
who had become a victim of trafficking in Abu Dhabi, by facilitating
her return to Turkmenistan. Several Ynam representatives attended a
training seminar on TIP in Washington in 2004 as part of a Visitors
Program, and also traveled to Great Britain to share their
experience with the British NGO Citizens Advice Bureau in 2000.

TELEPHONE HOTLINE PROVIDES EXTRA SUPPORT



6. (SBU) The NGO initiated its "Trust" Telephone Hotline
consultation program in 1999. The Ministry of Communications
provided the NGO with the telephone number 450911, because the last
three digits are reminiscent of the American 911 system. Similar to
911, the NGO is prepared to counsel callers on a range of legal,
psychological, and social issues. Hotline consultations are
anonymous and confidential. On average, Ynam has received about
2,500 telephone calls per year from predominantly female callers.
If callers want further consultation, they are then invited to visit
the NGO and meet with a representative.

LIBRARY AND INTERNET ACCESS FOR A HUNGRY PUBLIC



7. (SBU) The NGO also runs a lending library that contains resources

ASHGABAT 00000557 002.2 OF 002


relevant to their mission, as well as a wide range of fiction and
academic literature, periodicals, reference books and children's
literature open to the public. Since May 2008, Ynam has been able
to provide limited free Internet access to the public at four
computer stations. The organization aspires to expand the number of
Internet stations it has, and is seeking out a source of funding. It
also plans to buy additional stock for the library and wants to
begin paying honoraria to its specialists.

CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPING--ALBEIT SLOWLY



8. (SBU) As Petuhova noted, Ynam is funded solely through
sponsorship. Not long ago, when the organization considered
charging modest fees to cover the cost of some of its services, the
Ministry of Justice representative warned Petuhova that if the
organization were to generate any income, then it would have to be
closed and re-register as a commercial entity. That said, as a
fully registered public organization, Ynam has enjoyed full
cooperation from the government. When asked her opinion about the
development of civil society in Turkmenistan, Petuhova observed that
there it is developing and growing, slowly but surely. "NGOs are
slowly growing in number, and it is a good sign," she said. With
the aim of promoting NGO development, Over the last few years, Ynam
conducted a nationwide seminar on resolving internal organizational
conflicts and a seminar on the principles of consulting. NGO
representatives from all the provinces participated, and the
programs were a great success.



9. (SBU) COMMENT: Considering the restrictions that bar NGOs from
earning any income for operations, Ynam's directors have their work
cut out for them in eliciting regular financial support from the
international donor community to ensure continuity with the
important services the organization provides, especially the legal
and psychological consultations and the hotline. Such services fill
a gap in social services here that the government is unlikely to
address anytime soon. Groups such as Ynam should continue to
receive support and be nurtured by the international community. END
COMMENT.

MILES