Enhancing disability - inclusiveness of social protection system in Kyrgyzstan

Photo: ILO/Vladimir Pirogov


The COVID-19 pandemic hit vulnerable groups such as youth, women and people with disabilities (PwDs) the hardest and the social protection system was not ready to rapidly respond to their needs as it lacked needs-assessment tools. The situation has been exacerbated by the fact that in 2020 like no other Central Asia country, the Kyrgyz Republic had an 8.6% contraction of its economy and was hit the hardest in terms of lost output and jobs in general. The minimum monthly wage set at 21 USD has not been updated for decades and is in stark contrast to the average monthly nominal wage at 214 USD. Social protection benefits are pegged to the monthly minimum subsistence level (MSL) set at 62 USD.

While social protection in Kyrgyzstan covers a broad range of risks and receives government funding, effective coverage remains low, leaving many without access to social protection. The overall public social protection spending at 10.3% of GDP (excluding health) – the highest among the countries in Central Asia - is not meeting the requirements of effective coverage and adequacy, particularly for certain groups of the population, such as those unemployed, children and mothers of new-borns and PwDs.

PwDs in Kyrgyzstan were among the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. The disruption in the delivery of the essential support and services and exclusion from the health information and mainstream health provision were among the most widespread limitations. Although monthly social benefits (MSB) to PwDs continued to be paid during the lockdown periods, disruptions in their delivery were observed. Disability benefits at 41 USD per month are far below the MSL.

Hence, social services and labour market policies for vulnerable groups, including for PwDs, comprise a small share of social expenditures. As per different estimates, 80-85% of people with disabilities of working age do not have a job and are excluded from the labour market as infrastructure and existing conditions are not adjusted to their needs.

In 2019 the Kyrgyz Republic ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in order to improve their standard of living, promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all PwDs, and promote respect for their inherent dignity, as well as mainstreaming and investment into active labour market programs.

Disability inclusion is high on the Government’s agenda. Disability inclusion is prioritised in the National Development Strategy of the Kyrgyz Republic until 2040 and the National Development Programme until 2026. The Government is working on the development of the National Programme “Inclusive Country” for 2021-2024 to enhance disability inclusiveness of the environment, institutions and services.

These shortcomings have led the Government to adopt several interventions with an aim to strengthen the overall social protection system; to make social protection schemes comprehensive and efficient, boost their adequacy and sustainability, and explore ways for progressive extension and improved financing.

Project overview

The project will support the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic to design, cost, implement and monitor effective disability-inclusive social protection schemes and services, thus improving the overall system and enabling full participation of people with disabilities (PwDs) in the community, increasing their skills and access to employment opportunities and labour market.

Key interventions:
  • Improve public finance management of social protection schemes for PwDs and enhance the capacity of the staff of the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Migration to develop evidence-based proposals and investment case for budget revision to the Ministry of Finance;
  • Assess types of services required by PwDs for labour market inclusion;
  • Design and cost key services that integrate social protection and employment schemes and measures for PwDs;
  • Build the capacity of social protection departments and public employment offices to deliver new service models;
  • Build the capacity of organisations of PwDs and social partners to monitor the implementation of disability-inclusive social protection and labour market service models.
Key activities by Outputs:







Output 1:


Design and cost of social protection benefits enabling access to employment promotion measures, based on needs assessment of persons with disabilities for labour market inclusion, are endorsed by tripartite constituents and organizations of people with disabilities

Identify needs of persons with disabilities for supporting the design of social protection benefits enabling inclusion into ALMPs and labour market

Prepare and facilitate a dialogue to agree on recommendations for improving social protection for people with disabilities

Identification of financial resources to finance extended/new schemes and services for working age persons with disabilities

Prepare a simulation of the cost of the different scenarios


Output 2:


Public finance management of social protection schemes for persons with disabilities is improved

Review social protection budget overall performance, adequacy and efficiency and recommendations for increasing investments in social protection

Review budget and sources of funding, adequacy and coverage performance of social protection schemes for persons with disabilities (with a particular focus on schemes supporting labour market inclusion)

Prepare and discuss with stakeholders the recommendations for improving financing of disability inclusive social protection in line with the international principles on social protection

Identify financing options to finance extended/new schemes and services for working age persons with disabilities

Build capacity of staff (in the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Migration) for budget planning and monitoring, including practical manual for budget planning


Output 3:


Institutional capacity for the implementation of the adjusted benefits and proposed measures are strengthened

Build capacity of organisations of persons with disabilities and social partners for public hearings and oversight of social protection budget

Develop guide for job placement of persons with disabilities for counsellors in public employment services

Build capacity of counsellors (Training of Trainers) in social protection offices and public employment services to use the guide for job placement of persons with disabilities

The project is a part of the ILO/EU Global Programme “Improving Synergies between Social Protection and Public Finance Management” and is funded by the European Union.