Local independent TV stations in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan are providing citizens with a platform to showcase their successes and call attention to problems they encounter in their communities.
An episode called “Rural Inventors” of the program “Pro Agro,” produced by Alau TV in Kostanay, Kazakhstan, focused on Victor Bondarenko, an amateur designer from a village outside the provincial capital. One of his inventions is a biofuel converter, which uses manure to produce heat. He also invented a generator that draws electric power from water and wind. Several potential investors and buyers contacted Bondarenko after the episode aired, offering financial support for mass production of his inventions.
In Tajikistan, two local businesswomen were the focus of an episode of “Women’s Fate,” produced by the station Mavdji Ozod. The program explores the challenges faced by women in the southwestern Khatlon region, which borders Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.
The women had each started her own business – a farm supply and a clothing manufacturer – and were experiencing similar difficulties when dealing with local government officials. They complained about repetitive inspections and high tax rates.
Malohat Zaripova, the seamstress, had to close and reopen her small business four times due to these problems. She had written a letter asking the Tajik president to simplify or provide tax benefits for female small business owners. After the broadcast of the episode, local tax officials invited Zaripova to the local tax department and promised to help her reopen her business and receive tax benefits according to the new tax law that went into effect on January 1.
“Pro Agro” and “Women’s Fate,” as well as other programs concerning local issues, are supported by production grants from Internews.