Some argue that the legacy of Communism in Kyrgyzstan has resulted in an emerging civil society that is fragmented and lacking cohesion. NGOs continue to operate with an inherited top-down management style, where decisions are made by a few, and leaders are characterised as being autocratic, dominant and undemocratic in leadership style that does little to assist co-operation.
At the core of women and development has been the concept of women’s empowerment, a transformatory concept based upon processes of conscientisation, democracy, solidarity and participation. This study has taken participation as a fundamental process towards empowerment. IT assesses present participatory processes and practices within six women’s NGOs in Kyrgyzstan as a means to understanding how the proliferation of women’s NGOs may be contributing to women’s empowerment. In support of this, the study has attempted a participatory process, both as a learning method and as an underlying methodological principle.