The paper by Kemel Toktomushev from University of Central Asia is published at the Central Asian Survey journal in September 2023. The paradox of social capital in Central Asia lies in the region’s restrictive environment for civil society, despite international efforts to promote it. This paper aims to shift discourse on Central Asian civil society and advocate for more research on the influence of social capital on development outcomes. It emphasizes the need for development initiatives to acknowledge that networks and reciprocity norms beyond NGOs can contribute to fostering positive social capital for regional transformation. Kemel utilizes data from the LiK Study to investigate trust and reciprocity levels and their heterogeneity as part of a mixed-methods research approach. The article can be found here: https://doi.org/10.1080/02634937.2023.2244528.