Ensuring a “Safe City” at Heart of Almaty Roundtable

10 February 2010

Almaty city authorities gathered with researchers, NGOs and international organizations 29 January to discuss safety issues in Almaty’s neighborhood public markets. The roundtable was held as part of the “Safe City” project launched in 2009 under the direction of the Public Foundation “Crisis Center "Girlfriends (Podrugi)" in partnership with UNESCO Almaty and the UNIFEM Regional Office for the CIS.

Some 30 participants in the roundtable included representatives from the Almaty city mayor’s office, inspector’s offices and the city migration police.

The roundtable focused on the results of a public opinion poll of 400 women and girls engaged in trade at four of Almaty’s open markets. Those polled included international labour migrants as well as local workers. The Center for Public Opinion Research (CIOM), Almaty conducted the research.

The poll measured a wide range of safety issues, including crime, safety and health hazards, sanitation and access to information and services. Ms. Gulzhan Alimbekova, CIOM Director, presented a summary of the research financed by UNESCO and UNIFEM.

The majority of survey respondents indicated that the markets have an average level of safety risk. However, when asked specific questions about their personal safety, a large number cited risks especially in the area of sanitation and health.

Lack of adequate sanitation and basic health facilities characterized all of the markets surveyed; in the Zhetysu and Turksib neighborhoods of Almaty in particular, women felt more vulnerable to crime due to poor lighting and street conditions.

Most striking in the survey, a full 25% of respondents lacked any information whatsoever about how to protect against risk of disease, whether air, food borne or sexually-transmitted. For most women and girls surveyed, relatives or fellow traders served as the primary source of information on safety and health issues on the job.

During the lively discussion, Bagdad Gazizovna Tatizhanova, Head of the Almaty City Department of Women and Family Affairs conveyed that the mayor’s office will launch a series of activities directed at mitigating safety risks revealed in the research, as part of the second phase of the Safe City Almaty program.

The research report will be published later this year.

For further information, contact: Nadezhda Stepanovna Gladyr, Director, NGO “Girlfriends”.

Permanent link: http://en.unesco.kz/ensuring-a-safe-city-at-heart-of-almaty-roundtable