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Youth Action Fund of Soros to mobilize youth

February 27, 2010

Spending so much anticipated weekends in the stuffy conference hall of hotel Dostuk, located in the center of Bishkek, packed with young activists throughout Kyrgyzstan. Why? Because I am a winner!

Several months ago “Soros-Kyrgyzstan” (OSI) opened a competition among youth of Kyrgyzstan for small grants projects aimed at educating and mobilizing their peers. As organizers say, there were more than hundred different projects applied, and more than 40 projects were approved. My project, “The Oshington Post”, is one of them 😀

The purpose of the Youth Action Fund is to identify, inspire, and support small groups of dedicated young people who can mobilize and influence large numbers of their peers to promote open society ideals. OSI created this fund as a flexible way to provide small grants and other support to encourage progressive, youth-driven initiatives that are aligned with OSI’s mission.

My project is aimed at teaching a group of local young journalists in the city of Osh, southern Kyrgyzstan, to new media and online journalism skills. The target group – young journalists – already has its own publication – a students’ newspaper called “The Oshington Post”, where student journalists write on local issues usually neglected by the mainstream media. The particular thing about it is that they write in English, as the project was founded by a US Peace Corps volunteer at the American Center at the Osh State University. The paper is very good, but there is a problem.

The problem is that their publication is on paper, or is so-called a “dead-tree” media. Moreover, the circulation of the paper is very small – about 50 copies per issues – and is distributed among students. And as the paper is in English, the audience of the publication is English-speaking people interested in the issues taking place in southern Kyrgyzstan. Given the huge interest from Western countries in the developments happening in Kyrgyzstan, it is logical to suppose that the paper “The Oshington Post” is not achieving great deal of its target group. Therefore, my project is aimed at onlinizing, if there is a such word, the work of these young journalists via giving them a webpage and a domain name Thus, articles written by them will be available not only to a small group of people in Osh, but bigger audience – everyone arond the world interested in local issues of southern Kyrgyzstan often not covered by mainstream media.

A student at The Oshington Post tried to onlinize the paper, but due to the lack of knowledge in new media and online journalism, his endeavor did not succeed. Therefore, my project aims at giving series of trainings on new media, online journalism and new internet tools to young journalists at the Oshington Post. The final product of the project is a web-site, which will be updated by the participants of the project in average 3-4 times a week.

I will post more about the project soon. Now gotta go back to trainings. Seems the weekends gonna be long and interesting 😀

8 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2010 1:48 pm

    congratulations, Tolkun!!! Good luck with project implementation.

  2. February 27, 2010 6:03 pm

    It’s a great goal… Best of luck!

  3. March 1, 2010 2:46 pm

    Hi Tolkun,

    Congratulations with your project.

    I wonder whether you speak Kyrgyz so that we can interview you in Kyrgyz for our radio programmes.


  4. March 2, 2010 5:56 pm

    I speak Kyrgyz, but I am afraid it is not so good that I can use it in the radio 😀

  5. Mahabat permalink
    April 16, 2010 12:54 pm

    Hi, Tolkun! Rada ya tebya! Good luck!!!

  6. Jyldyzkan permalink
    May 8, 2010 9:32 am

    Толкун, кеч болсо да мен сиздин женишиз менен куттуктайм!
    Жакшы иш кылып жатасыз бирок Америка таануу борборунун иш аракеттерин четтен сындап жардам бербестен биз менен деле ой болушуп иш кылсаныз эн сонун болмок. Албетте гезит коомдук гезит сиздей таланттуу адамдардын иш аракетине муктаж, ооба биздин айрым кемчиликтерибиз бар. Биз деле гезиттин осуп онугушун каалайбыз коомдук болгондон кийин баарыбыз чогуу иштешибиз зарыл деп ойлойм.

    Эми проектиниз жонундо, сиз кимдерге семинар отосуз?
    Ушул ишке убактысын арнай ала турган, журналистикага кызыкдар жаштарга отсонуз иш жемиштуу болот.

    Кантсе да ишинизге ийгилик!!!

  7. Jyldyzkan permalink
    May 11, 2010 3:32 pm

    Tolkun did u realize that Oshington Post is founded by the Center for American studies and is published by the Center for American Studies ?If you knew why did u decided to make grant money on it? Noone has right to do money on the Center for Amrican Studies project “The Oshington Post”.

  8. May 11, 2010 3:59 pm

    First of all, I want you to know that no one is doing any money here. It is a very small grant, and all I get personally paid is my roundtrip airfare from Bishkek to Osh. Please, read carefully the information about the Youth Action Fund, and you will have better idea what projects are supported by it.

    Secondly, I surely contacted Maksud Zainabidinov, who directly work on the project.

    Thirdly, isnt it great if experienced bloggers (there are two of us, the other guy is Sergey Makarov, founder of come to the Center for American Studies and teach your students to social media skills? Moreover, we will buy internet for one month, hosting and a domain name for two years!

    And last, but not least, I am not claiming that the Oshington Post is someone else’s project. My grant proposal clrearly stated that it was founded under the Center for American Studies. We are just offering our trainings to its students.

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