The overarching aim of the ARIS and any project managed by it is to contribute to the alleviation of rural poverty. It seeks to achieve this by pursuing three specific objectives:
- strengthening the access to and provision of essential community infrastructure services;
- supporting the development of private enterprises at the village level; and
- improving governance at the local level.
The ARIS does this at the grassroots level, by supporting income and employment generating investments in village infrastructure and in group-managed small and medium enterprises, and by helping communities and local authorities work together to achieve key development objectives at the local level.
This approach is supportive of the country's policy of devolution of responsibilities. It aims to strengthen local governments (aiyl keneshs and aiyl okmotus) and community-based grassroots institutions — making them more inclusive, accountable and effective at meeting villagers' self-identified development needs.
The ARIS is responsible for the management of the Village Investment Project, in accordance with the guidelines and procedures set out in the Operational Manual and in the Legal and Project Agreements. The main role of the ARIS is to assist and support communities and local authorities to work together in building capacity and sustainable processes and institutions to achieve key development objectives at the village and aiyl okmotu levels.
The ARIS channels grant financing to community groups in accordance with the provisions of the Legal and Project Agreements with the International Development Association (IDA) and other donors, and with the Framework Agreements signed between the ARIS, LICs and Aiyl Keneshs, and with Tripartite Agreements signed between MPGs, LICs and the ARIS. It ensures that environmental and social safeguards measures are followed during the micro-project cycle.
The ARIS is not directly involved in micro-project selection, preparation and implementation, including the approval or rejection of micro-project proposals. These are the responsibility of the MPGs, VICs and LICs.
Execution of the Village Investment Project (VIP) by the ARIS is guided by the following fundamental principals:
Autonomy. The ARIS, an autonomous agency established by the Kyrgyz Republic, has the authority to execute the project consistent with the laws and regulations of the Kyrgyz Republic and with the legal and project agreements between the Kyrgyz Republic and IDA.
Impartiality. The ARIS practices no form of discrimination or preferential treatment in its relations with anyone, including aiyl okmotus and sub-contractors, and applies the decision-making criteria and selection procedures. In order to avoid potential conflicts of interest, ARIS staff cannot hold any commercial interest or position of responsibility in any public or private institution that engages in commercial relations with the ARIS.
Inclusiveness. The project's processes and mechanisms actively seek to include women and vulnerable groups within communities, so as to ensure they benefit from capacity building and micro-project grant funding.
Governance. The continuing eligibility of communities to receive grants and other support under the project depends on their compliance with rules and procedures aimed at promoting accountability, transparency and other elements of good governance. Consistent failure to adhere to these will result in loss of eligibility for project support.
Transparency. The ARIS will develop and implement transparent and manageable procedures that are simple, streamlined and easily understood by the clients. The ARIS will strive to maintain flexibility to respond to new development opportunities and changing circumstances. Substantial modification of the agreed operating procedures will require approval by the ARIS Supervisory Board and the prior explicit approval of IDA before implementation.
Cost-Effectiveness. The ARIS must conduct all its activities in a cost-effective manner. It will seek to maximize the local benefits achieved through efficient deployment of staff resources and operate within agreed budget parameters.
Decentralization. The ARIS, in implementing the Project, supports the policy and efforts of the government of the Kyrgyz Republic to devolve responsibilities to communities and the authorities that serve them — local self-governments and bodies of territorial public self-government. By strengthening local capacity to select, design, and implement viable investments, the ARIS will enable local communities and institutions to drive their own development process and reduce their dependence on higher levels of government.
Sustainability of micro-projects. The maintenance requirements and recurrent costs of micro-projects shall be taken into consideration by the ARIS and by the groups and institutions supported by the ARIS during micro-project identification, design and appraisal. For all micro-projects, provisions shall be made for subsequent operation and maintenance costs. If fees can not be collected to operate and maintain the works, other financial sources or commitments in kind must be secured and used to maintain the infrastructure.
Environmental Consciousness. The ARIS is required to take into account the impact of prospective micro-projects on the physical, biological and social environment of the concerned villages and communities and to incorporate appropriate mitigation measures into micro-project design.
Approaches to Achieve the Goals
- Providing technical and financial assistance to communities, community-based organizations and local governments to work together efficiently;
- Providing investment support to rural infrastructure improvement;Supporting small group-managed enterprises.
The founders of the Agency are:
- the Administration of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic;
- the Union of Legal Entities “Association of Local Self-Governments of Villages and Settlements of the Kyrgyz Republic”
- the Public Association “Counterpart-Sheriktesh”