Information about the programs of Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan

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Information about the programs of Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan

Information about the programs of Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan

Information about the programs of Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan

More than 100 volunteers have served in Kyrgyzstan since Peace Corps was invited by the Kyrgyz government. The first Volunteers began their service here in 1993. One of the most important aspects of our mission here is to promote friendship and understanding. The Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan home page is a recent development in the hopes of sharing information about things that Volunteers are doing in Kyrgyzstan. This area is intended to provide answers to questions you may have about Peace Corps Volunteers and current projects that they are working on. For more information about the history of Peace Corps as an organization, and the history of Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan please visit the Peace Corps home page in Washington, DC. A link button has been provided on the menu screen.

How do Peace Corps Volunteers prepare for their assignments In the Kyrgyz Republic?

Volunteers in all Peace Corps countries must participate in an intensive three- month training program immediately upon arriving in country. In Kyrgyzstan, new trainees usually arrive in early June. Peace Corps trainees participate in technical training workshops, study Kyrgyz and/or Russian languages and learn about Kyrgyz culture through special courses and by spending 10 weeks living with a nearby family. When trainees successfully complete this program they are sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers. Volunteers then move into their new host communities and begin work. Periodically during the two- year service which follows, the Peace Corps office in Bishkek organizes language and technical training workshops for Volunteers, and when possible also offers local teachers who work with a Volunteer an opportunity to participate in various training events.

Who are these Volunteers?

Peace Corps Volunteers in Kyrgyzstan have ranged in age from 21 to 65, with most being in their 20's and 30's. Reflecting the traditionally wide mixture of American heritages, Volunteers represent a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds and have hometowns in all parts of the US. These Volunteers not only offer technical skills in the areas of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and Small Enterprise Development (SED), they also serve as U.S. cultural ambassadors.

Where do Peace Corps Kyrgyz Republic Volunteers live?

Volunteers live and work in all six oblasts of the country, in large towns and small villages, in urban and in remote rural areas. They work in schools, institutes, universities, municipal organizations, non-governmental organizations and small enterprises. Volunteers continue to study the Kyrgyz and Russian languages after training. They help their communities learn more about what Americans are really like and learn even more about Kyrgyz culture. When Volunteers return home to the United States they begin sharing their experiences and knowledge of Kyrgyzstan with other Americans.

Volunteers and their Counterparts

Volunteers and their Kyrgyz counterparts work together closely throughout the Volunteer's two-year service. These cooperative relationships lead to the exchange of ideas, methods and experiences between Volunteers and their colleagues. Both interpersonal and professional exchanges play a critical role in the development process, helping to produce a more qualified, confident and professional work force.

Peace Corps Education Project

In what kinds of institutions do Peace Corps Volunteer teachers of English as a Foreign language work?

Peace Corps Volunteers work in all regions of Kyrgyzstan at the secondary school level as well as in institutions of higher education and other non-formal education settings. Peace Corps and the government of Kyrgyzstan cooperatively developed a plan to meet the country's goal of improving English language competency in a unique way. Many Volunteers are placed in regions far from the capital where the need for qualified teachers is great and where the long-term presence of native English speakers is rare. Unlike other international workers, Peace Corps Volunteers make a two-year commitment and many live and work in smaller, more remote towns and villages rather than the more populous urban areas.

What kind of work do the Peace Corps Volunteer teachers do in schools and institutes of higher education?

Peace Corps TEFL Volunteers share the same responsibilities as Kyrgyz teachers of English. Volunteers are responsible for designing and conducting lessons, administering exams and assigning grades. However, in addition to working with students in a traditional classroom settings, Volunteers also conduct teacher training seminars, augment English resource centers, hold English clubs after school and lead other special activities.

What are some specific examples of what TEFL Volunteers have accomplished since Peace Corps established Its program here in 1993?

* 100 Volunteers have taught English classes to more than 100,000 pupils and students since 1993.

* 52 Volunteers have established English resource centers in their schools or communities. Several centers contain the most modern TEFL materials and often contain cassettes and cassette players for audio practice.

* 230 Kyrgyz teachers have participated in Peace Corps training seminars focusing on TEFL methodological development.

* 550 Kyrgyz youth have attended three-week summer English camps in Tamchi, Choktol, and Kant, as well as a special environmental English camping trip in the Naryn oblast.

* 24 Kyrgyz teachers have participated in a training seminar on how to incorporate environmental and health education into English lessons.

* 12 Volunteers have worked extensively in adult education teaching English to 1800 medical, business, and government professionals.

* 12 Kant region school teachers received three weeks of training in American teaching methodologies.

* Osh region Volunteers cooperated with The Soros Foundation to conduct a TEFL methodological training for 25 local teachers.

* 20,000 English language books from the International Book Bank were received and distributed by Peace Corps to 70 schools and 14 universities and institutes.

* 60 out of 200 or so Kyrgyz citizens who have received scholarships to study abroad in the last three years were taught by Peace Corps Volunteers.

* Two Peace Corps Volunteers developed new English language learning texts with cassettes and distributed one copy of each to 26 schools.

* Approximately 10 Volunteers have established "pen-pal' programs with American schools giving Kyrgyz young people a chance to communicate with young Americans, learn more about US culture and improve their writing skills.

* Five Volunteers have helped redesign and improve Regional English Olympiad competitions.

* Four Volunteers had pupils who competed in the National English Olympiad in 1996. Two Volunteers had pupils who gained one of the top three places.

* Four Volunteers have provided pupils and teachers computer training in Soros Pilot Schools

* One Volunteer worked with his pupils to develop a school English language newspaper.

Small Enterprise Development Project

When was the SED project Initiated?

The Small Enterprise Development (SED) project was founded in the summer of 1996. The first seven Volunteers arrived from the US In June 1996 to participate in this new project. Another 10 Volunteers are expected to begin their service in the summer of 1997.

What Is the focus of Peace Corps' new Small Enterprise Development (SED) project?

Established in order to assist Kyrgyzstan in making the difficult transition from a state controlled economy to a globally oriented market-based economy, Volunteers working on the SED project work to promote sustainable development and poverty alleviation through the strengthening of local non- governmental organizations (NGO's). The SED Volunteers work with both local NGOs and private farmers' associations to facilitate the capacity of institutions to develop effectively. Volunteers serve as advisers and work in tandem with local counterparts in order to transfer the skills necessary to ensure continued growth in these organizations.

What general areas does the SED project address?

SED Volunteer activities focus on: organizational developments micro- enterprise lending, credit management, enhancing basic business skills such as accounting and planning through formal and informal education, improving grant writing skills, and selecting and implementing income-generating projects.

What specific activities are SED Volunteers engaged in?

* All SED Volunteers advise their sponsoring agencies and counterparts on a wide range of issues. They contribute to the organizational structure of NGOs, board of director and committee establishment and operations, proposal writing assistance establishing credit management systems, and business planning. The Volunteers on a daily basis interact and work directly with a counterpart on basic business practices and skills, project selection and community outreach.

* Volunteers help establish databases of farmers' activities, production capabilities and credit status to determine how to best serve the private farmers.

* One Volunteer assisted her organization in opening a "Street Children's Shelter". The shelter is part of the sponsoring organization's community outreach program.

* A Volunteer assisted in organizing the first annual Osh Oblast Farmer's Union Harvest Festival. The festival honored farmers in Osh Oblast and celebrated their accomplishments as they made the transition to private farming.

* Through a community project activity with Junior Achievement International, an SED Volunteer is teaching "Business English" to management and architectural students.

The first group of Small Enterprise Development Volunteers is sponsored by:

* Center Interbillum - NGO Resource Center Bishkek

* Issyk-Kul Oblast Farmer's Association

* Jeti-Oguz Regional Farmer's Association

* Kyrgyz Children's Fund Bishkek

* Kyrgyz Children's Fund Osh Oblast

* Meerim Fund Talas

* Osh Oblast Farmer's Union

Volunteer Community Project Work

Peace Corps Volunteers address community needs and interests

Peace Corps Volunteers are encouraged to work on various community projects in addition to their primary assignments in language teaching or small enterprise development. Volunteer projects vary widely depending on needs of the community and the interests of the Volunteer. These projects may be in the area of youth development, sanitation or health, environment, adult education, organizational capacity building, or any other area that meets the needs of the Volunteer's community. Volunteers serve as facilitators of their projects and work as partners with Kyrgyz citizens helping to transfer technical skills, enhance leadership capacity, and increase the self-reliance of community members.

What kinds of community projects have Volunteers participated in?

The following are just some of the community projects Volunteers have completed or are continuing to work on in Kyrgyzstan:

* One volunteer in Kizil-Kiya organized her local city council to get funding to provide the town with 50 new trash containers in order to keep the town looking clean.

* 5 Volunteers produced a weekly English language program for television in the Karakol region called "Super Big Show." The show has aired for over two years.

* One Volunteer from the Issyk-Kul oblast helped organize a farmer's association in order to raise money for tractors and other farming equipment.

* A nation-wide baseball league for youth has been established and continues to be run by Volunteers and Kyrgyz citizens together. Hundreds of kids are now playing this American sport in Kant, Tokmok, Taldi-Soo, Karakol, Kizil- Soo, Jalal-Abad, and Talas. Three inter-city games have been held so far with more planned for this spring.

* One Volunteer in Karakol helped established a craft shop in order to give his students of business and tourism an opportunity to learn business skills while pursuing their education.

* One Volunteer helped coordinate a fund raising event with "The Kyrgyz Children's Fund" and raised over $10,000 dollars for needy Kyrgyz children.

* One Jalal-Abad Volunteer worked with local doctors to produce an eye-care information packet in Kyrgyz, Russians and English.

* Volunteers in Naryn and Osh have conducted computer and business classes for about one hundred students with special emphasis on resume writing and interviewing skills.

* Volunteers from Kara-Balta and Naryn organized health conferences on the dangers of cigarette smoking.

* Two Volunteers in Jalal-Abad organized a women's career day featuring professional women who offered career advice to over seventy-five young women.

* Two Talas Volunteers taught weekly art classes to several dozen students in their community.

* Two Volunteers conducted a summer English-environmental education camp for 15 pupils with the assistance of four other Volunteers. The camp took place along parts of the Old Silk Road in the Naryn Oblast near the Chinese border.

* Six Volunteers taught a week long intensive English conversation camp at Kashka-Soo

* Volunteers in Taldi-Soo, Kant, Jalal-Abad and Cholpon-Ata coached youth basketball teams in their communities and organized special tournaments.

* A Cholpon-Ata Volunteer organized a youth football league.

* One Bishkek Volunteer helped open a career counseling center.

* Another Bishkek Volunteer spent a few weeks working with editors at "The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle" to improve the writing and proof-reading skills of the staff.

* Twenty to twenty-five Volunteers conducted two week-long summer English camps at their schools for approximately 500 pupils and students.

* One Osh Volunteer has taught a American cuisine course in English.

* One Volunteer in Nova-Pokrovka taught an aerobics class to women in her community.

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