09ASTANA812, KAZAKHSTAN: RESULTS OF BOTA FOUNDATION BOARD MEETING

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA812 2009-05-07 10:25 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO8501
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RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNEH RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHPW
RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #0812/01 1271025
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 071025Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5379
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 1559
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0936
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1639
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0621
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2310
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2638
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 1121
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 1037
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ALMATY 1492

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000812 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EUR/ACE, F 
STATE PLEASE PASS TO USAID 
JUSTICE FOR DANIEL CLAMAN AND BRUCE SWARTZ 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID SOCI KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN:  RESULTS OF BOTA FOUNDATION BOARD MEETING 
 
ASTANA 00000812  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified.  Not for public Internet. 
 
2. (U) This cable contains an Action Request.  See para 13. 
 
3. (SBU) SUMMARY:  The BOTA Foundation held a meeting of its Board 
of Trustees in Almaty on April 29-30.  All the items on the fully 
packed agenda were reviewed, with many wide-reaching and important 
decisions taken regarding operations of the Board.  The Foundation's 
implementers (IREX and Save the Children) presented well structured 
recommendations, and the Board of Trustees adequately debated and 
approved them.  The next Board meeting will be scheduled for July or 
August.  Action by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to seek release 
of funding is requested.  END SUMMARY. 
 
BOARD MEMBERSHIP 
 
4. (U) The Board of Trustees was represented by its five Founders 
(Yevgeniy Zhovtis -- Chair and only present on the second day; 
Zhamilya Naugmanova -- Acting Chair; Sergey Zlotnikov; Khakim 
Sadvakasov; and Akmira Sadykova) and two government representatives 
(Pietro Vetrio -- Swiss Government Representative; and John Morgan 
-- U.S. Government Representative).  BOTA Foundation staff (led by 
Executive Director Chris Cavanaugh) was well represented, including 
several observers from the implementers' home offices.  John Innes 
(World Bank observer) joined by DVC on the first day. 
 
5. (U) The meeting began with presentations on the Conditional Cash 
Transfer, Social Services, and Tuition Assistance Programs, as well 
as an overview of the monitoring and evaluation activities proposed 
by the BOTA staff.  On the second day, the presentations and 
discussions covered administrative, financial, and communications 
issues. 
 
CASH FOR THE MOST NEEDY WOMEN AND CHILDREN 
 
6. (U) The purpose of the Conditional Cash Transfer Program, in 
addition to improving the health and well-being of poor mothers and 
children through direct financial support, is to create increased 
demand for social services for people living in poverty.  With 
increased awareness of appropriate standards of care and service, 
the poor will begin to look to their government to provide continued 
access to vital social services.  The focus will be on pregnant and 
lactating women, school attendance (particularly pre-school), and 
children with disabilities.  The initial program grants will provide 
funding to target women who take action to mitigate the impact of 
anemia.  The Board evaluated data and agreed to conduct programs in 
the Kyzylorda and Akmola Oblasts.  This decision enables the BOTA 
staff to finalize their operational plans, contingent upon the 
release of funds (by the U.S. courts). 
 
7. (U) The Social Service Program is the least developed element 
being pursued by BOTA.  The Board voted to increase the flexibility 
of this Program and the BOTA staff was directed to define the grant 
structure by the next Board meeting, expected to be held in July or 
August. 
 
STRONG DEMAND FOR EDUCATION ASSISTANCE AMONG POOR 
 
8. (U) The Tuition Assistance Program has proven to be a major 
success.  With a relatively low budget (and thanks to the dedicated 
work of BOTA staff), the Program has been announced and the 
Foundation has received over 1,500 applications for the 100 
anticipated scholarships to be awarded.  When the application data 
has been entered into a database, 300 candidates with the lowest 
income levels will be selected for interviews.  The list of 300 will 
be determined through a proxy means test, which considers household 
assets, household consumption, and household profiling.  A selection 
committee of 15 independent experts will be formed.  This committee 
will further screen the applicants through personal interviews 
(preferred approach) or structured telephone interviews (where 
travel cannot be easily accomplished).  The Board was satisfied with 
the quality and diligence of the BOTA staff in running this 
 
ASTANA 00000812  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
Program. 
 
9. (U) Although the BOTA staff had prepared a substantive proposal 
for monitoring and evaluation, all agreed that any effort to 
evaluate impact would require substantially more than one year's 
efforts.  The logical framework approved by the Board was thorough 
a
nd well structured.  Noting the range of issues, the Board 
nevertheless applauded the staff's efforts and encouraged them to 
continue refining the process. 
 
10. (U) A thorough discussion of administration, finance, and 
communications issues was conducted on the second day of the Board 
meeting.  The Board approved a staff structure of up to 64 staff and 
tentatively approved a salary structure.  Board concerns about 
expatriate staff costs and the local salary structure illustrated 
the Board's due diligence and concerns on how to answer any public 
questions about the "cost of doing business."  The Board approved 
efforts by the staff to pursue simplified procurement procedures 
with the World Bank.  The staff have produced responses to 
frequently asked questions about BOTA to facilitate any public 
statements by the BOTA Board and staff. 
 
NEXT STEPS 
 
11. (U) The Board concurred with a number of plans for the 
near-term.  First, a press conference will be called after World 
Bank and Board approvals of the annual workplan, which is likely to 
occur in June or July.  Some minor refinements of the BOTA 
Operations Manual were approved.  Also, the BOTA Staff were directed 
to submit monthly financial reports to the Board for review.  And 
finally, due to the sensitive nature of upcoming operational 
decisions, the Board agreed to move meetings to a quarterly basis 
and to restrict meetings to one day in length. 
 
12. (SBU) COMMENT:  As with any Board, the complexities of its 
disparate members' interactions can impede efficient operations. 
For example, Board discussions were occasionally hampered by 
comments from Sergey Zlotnikov that were not on point.  The Chair, 
however, repeatedly guided the discussion back on track.  In any 
event, Zlotnikov ultimately voted with the consensus of the other 
Board members.  Another issue impacting participation of Board 
members is their availability.  Akmira Sasdykova was unable 
participate on the second day.  Additionally, Khakim Sadvakasov said 
he has difficulty getting approval from his supervisor to 
participate in the Board meetings.  The Board agreed to provide an 
endorsement letter (signed by the Board Chair and the BOTA Executive 
Director) requesting his participation -- with the anticipation that 
this would alleviate this problem.  Even with these issues, the 
Board is acting responsibly and with due deliberation on its 
actions.  END COMMENT. 
 
13. (U) ACTION REQUEST:  Though these crucial deliberations are 
completed, BOTA remains limited in operations until the release of 
its funding.  The Board was informed that the Government of 
Kazakhstan had met its reporting requirements, and that DOJ must now 
provide its timely approval of these reports and get approval from 
the U.S. courts to authorize the first tranche of funding.  We 
request that DOJ expedite that approval. 
 
MILAS

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