Within the framework of the International Trade Centre (ITC) Global Textile and Clothing Programme (GTEX) on the Kyrgyz Republic, funded by the Government of Switzerland, sectoral associations of the textiles and clothing industry were supported to develop strategic plans for the next three years. Implementation of the planned activities started in September 2018.

Indira Kadyrkanova, Manager of the programme, noted that the activities were aimed at increasing the capacity of trade support institutions. She mentioned that “in order to start working with the associations, it was necessary to assess their existing capabilities and to understand their goals”.

A group of experts on institutional strengthening visited Kyrgyzstan to assess relevant associations. One of the main problems identified by the experts was the lack of clear vision, as well as goals and objectives among the associations. As a result of the assessment, a series of trainings and consultations were launched with the aim to help the associations develop strategies.

Further training were conducted by Management Development Consulting (MDC) for the three associations in the textiles and clothing sector: the Association of Fashion Designers of Kyrgyzstan, the Association of Light Industry Enterprises (Legprom) and the Association of Craftsmen (Daairy) to help strengthen the capacity of the associations and to define and formulate organizational strategic goals and work plans.

Subsequent capacity-building activities allowed the associations to assess and develop internal resources, partnership opportunities, management, portfolios, customer needs and transparency of organizational goals.

Olga Kan, General Director of MDC, stressed that before the start of the trainings, none of the associations had a fully-fledged strategy. However, after the capacity-building activities, the associations were able to understand how to develop and implement a strategic plan. As a result, the associations would be able to increase their sustainability, potential and income, as well as provide new services.

“Our work was carried out in several stages and within a period of several months we had the final strategies developed, which included: the company’s history, organizational structure, services, and environmental analysis, based on all this, the company’s mission was designed, set goals and objectives, prescribed a calendar of events, worked out a budget ”explained Olga Kan.

The Association of Craftsmen (Daairy)  was established in 2010 and until recently worked on the basis of a strategy that was developed eight years ago. Zhypar Raimkulova, Executive Director of Daairy, mentioned that it was important to understand the development direction of the association, its competitive advantages, any plans for new services and any products it has to offer. She noted that since the handicraft products produced in Kyrgyzstan have a high export potential, it is imperative for the association to promote these products and increase the potential of the artisans. She expressed that there is a rich market of artisans in Kyrgyzstan and the competition is very high. Therefore, it is important for the association to foresee its future and work in order to achieve its goals. She felt that the support from ITC was timely since they were already planning to develop a new strategy for the association. With the knowledge gained thanks to the technical assistance through the ITC project they will be able to refine the strategy in the future by themselves, without any external assistance.