Akmaral Sman – Women Deliver

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Akmaral Sman

  • Age: 29
  •    |   She/her/hers


Country of Origin:

Country of Residence:

Expertise Areas:

Diversity and inclusion should be our main participatory approach when it comes to shaping policies, planning, and budgeting. To ensure that everyone is empowered, educated, and financed, we must start from grassroots transformation.

- Akmaral Sman


Akmaral Sman was born and raised in Kazakhstan. She received a Master of Public Administration from Queen Mary University of London School of Business and Management in 2018. As a Regional Gender and Livelihood Expert at FAO UN, Akmaral is responsible for mainstreaming gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) across project activities, monitoring and evaluation of GESI outcomes and outputs, modeling economic empowerment approach for the rural population, and capacity building of the state, nonprofit, and business institutions on GESI in natural resources management. Additionally, Akmaral is an Advisor and Trainer at Y-PEER Network and volunteer and Founder at GIVER Org for Women’s Empowerment.

What ignited your pursuit for gender equality?

Giving access to voice the needs of girls and women left behind, for most of those women who have an education but are unable to fully enjoy their skills and knowledge in the labor market. For vocal women unable to shatter the glass ceiling and for those doing domestic work yet being subject to domestic violence, I am passionate to stand next to women to lift them up.

Please share your biggest wins as an advocate for gender equality.

As a former Gender Specialist at UNDP in Kazakhstan, I was accountable for the gender equality certification process. I had to develop the capacity of over 100 staff on GEWE. I have innovated and supported a few approaches, such as Telegram Bot on gender equality, describing SDGs via fashion, and theatre of oppressed. By those, approaches, my team and I increased our office's capacity and performance on gender equality from 30 to 70 percent in one calendar year. The country office got awarded and recognized for such performance by UNHQ.

Outside of your gender equality advocacy work, what do you enjoy doing?

Reading books, traveling, and collecting old coins from the countries I have visited and the people I have met.

Languages Spoken:

  • English (Advanced/Native)
  • Kazakh (Advanced/Native)
  • Russian (Advanced/Native)
  • Bulgarian (Intermediate)

Speaks On:

  • economic empowerment of women in rural areas
  • mainstreaming gender equality in organizations
  • analyzing effective mechanisms to tackling GBV