American University of Central Asia - AUCA - Side by Side

"Side by Side" project


Initial Situation / Problem Statement

Kalinin and Ak-Dobo are villages located in the Talas region, Kyrgyzstan. Kalinin village’s conditions given for local youth to reveal their potential is very poor. It is very hard to revitalize (activate) citizens to get engaged with society. Since the dynamics of a certain society is its youth, the main problem in this village is that there is no driving force for young people to start raising initiatives at least at the level of their rural areas. Even if they are facing problems regarding the lack of non-academic part activities out of the school or the lack of youth organizations which reduces chances for different opportunities out of the villages for them, they keep thinking that this is the way of life that they are expected to live.
Therefore, this community needs a very active and ambitious youth to contribute even the slightest changes for their small villages and further to share with other villages. The young people there need conditions and opportunities to start their initiatives such as different clubs and projects (ecological, language learning, sport etc.), leading informational training about a variety of social problems and their solutions, organizing their own projects and many more.

In contrast to Kalinin village, Ak-Dobo village is one of the central villages, thus its youth has already started their journey in activism and already faced some challenges along their path. At the very beginning, there were only about 5 school students and 1 coordinator. However, since 2016, the youth of local schools have begun engaging in its community’s social issues as well as organizing a variety of events for the village. Additionally, the local government has also been providing them with opportunities and resources, such as Youth Center “Ak-Dobo”. But still a lot of work is needed there.


Target Group

There are 14 students from two remote villages in the Talas region: 7 students from Ak-Dobo village and other 7 students from Kalinin village. They are 15-17 years old studying in 8th, 9th and 10th grades of high school. The reason behind targeting this particular age group is because there is still 2-3 years for them to graduate from the school, so they have more opportunities to contribute to their villages as much as possible in these years compared to the older students who are already graduating and leaving to the city.
Goal Statement
To educate young and passionate students on the basics of hard and soft skills, discover new talents, familiarize them with different opportunities and how to start their own initiatives in the communities. Particularly, provide a 3-day training on the topics of leadership, career planning, setting goals, critical thinking, conflict resolution, time management, teamwork, scholarships, exchange programs and the basics of financial literacy.
With the end of the program, the cooperation of these 2 villages is expected to continue and to be monitored in order to initiate new projects and activities for the development of conditions of their environment.



Three days training includes video cases, team works, brainstorming, mini-lectures and discussions, role-playing games, and guest lectures.

  • First Day: Trainers introduce participants to the topics of leadership, communication, team-building, problem-solving/conflict resolution and critical thinking skills. These are the main topics we are aiming to provide for students.
  • Second Day: Guest speakers from the Talas city’s NGOs representatives (i.e., Talas Regional Youth Council and Ak-Dobo Youth Center). We are sure that the lectures of civically engaged leaders can inspire them while raising their own social initiatives.
  • Third Day: Working on creating the first projects. Each group is provided with a mentor (one of the trainers) and at the end they present the pitches of the projects. It may be everything that they are thinking to initiate, clubs, events, competitions, or social projects. However, their main task is about finding one real existing problem and through their pitches/projects working on the resolution of certain issues. By the end of the day two groups discuss all possibilities, nuances and risks that they may face and talk over the realization of the projects. They also receive comments from trainers and from Talas NGO Coordinators (Talas Regional Youth Council and Ak-Dobo Youth Center).


Resources and Responsibilities

There are 4 people in the team with the following responsibilities:

  • Adina Sulumbekova, LAS-118: Cooperation with school students and staff of 2 villages (Ak-Dobo and Kalinin) of Talas region regarding the application process, consent forms from parents, transportation, and accommodation.
  • Abdul Walid Azizi, ICP-118: Conducting training about leadership skills and communication
  • Janetta Abdrazakova, BA-118: Conducting training about time management and leading games and energizers for participants.
  • Almazbekova Aizada ANTH-119: Taking pictures and videos for three days.


Partnerships and Cooperation

The team cooperates with the Youth Center “Ak Dobo” from Ak-Dobo village. This NGO provides the projector, camera, speakers and video camera for the training.
Another partner of the project is the New Generation Academy (NGA); they provide notebooks, pens, and prize cups.
The place for conducting the training sessions is given by school Akchal uulu Duishon in Ak-Dobo village.



The primary source of funding comes from the Student Initiative Development Program, AUCA.
Additional contributions are made by Ak-Dobo Youth Center in the form of a camera, video camera, projector and speakers, and by the local school - a room for the training sessions.
Timeframe and Milestones

  • 15-23 October, 2019 – Gathering of the team, working out the plan and dividing themes of the presentation.
  • 24-30 October, 2019 – Cooperation with schools, the application process of participants, meeting and making an agreement with parents, agreement with the hostel.
  • 4 November, 2019 – Purchase of equipment (i.e., stationery).
  • 6 November, 2019 – Departure from Bishkek to Talas (6 hours by car).
  • 7-8-9 November, 2019 – Days of the event.
  • 9 November (evening), 2019 – Departure from Talas to Bishkek (6 hours by car).


Contact Information

Adina Sulumbekova -


American University of Central Asia
7/6 Aaly Tokombaev Street
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic 720060

Tel.: +996 (312) 915000 + Еxt.
Fax: +996 (312) 915 028
AUCA Contacts