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Asel, Kyrgyzstan: “We were so excited about new information that we didn’t notice how time passed”

During trainings and discussions, participants have found that many issues have been similar almost in all Central Asian states, and many tasks to be solved have been similar.


Asel Sooronbaeva, Bishkek — journalist, Politmer project

In 2017, I passed training at the Studio of practical journalism of Azamat Tynaev, and my articles were published on his website vlast.kg. I have been working with Politmer project for the last seven months and monitoring whether the promises of officials and politicians have been honoured.

I learned about the training of journalists in analytics and investigations by IWPR accidentally on Facebook and applied without thinking. The selection was carried out on a competitive basis. As I found out later, over 100 journalists from Central Asian states applied to the training and only 28 were selected: 13 for investigative journalism and 15 for analytic journalism.

For more details about the School of Analytic Journalism of CABAR.asia please see press release

For other feedbacks of School participants please see Opinion.

[su_pullquote]The enthusiasm and desire to absorb new information were overwhelming – these 10 days were the funniest, interesting and fruitful for many participants.[/su_pullquote] I was lucky to be among them and take a 10-day training along with experienced journalists from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakstan and Tajikistan. We studied seven days a week from morning till evening, but no one ever missed a single class. It was a period when all my children got sick, and most often I didn’t get enough sleep, and on my way to School and back I felt myself broken. But during the classes, I didn’t feel any tiredness, drowsiness or lack of sleep. The enthusiasm and desire to absorb new information were overwhelming – these 10 days were the funniest, interesting and fruitful for many participants.

Analytic journalism group

Analysts and investigators were trained separately as the analytic and investigative journalism differ from each other by data collection, processing of information, and presentation. The group of analysts was supervised by the editor of IWPR Tajikistan Lola Olimova, a professional journalist with huge experience, former announcer of the Tajik television, the former head of the department of international relations of the Russian-Tajik-Slavic University and simply a beautiful woman. And the group of investigators was supervised by Timur Toktonaliev, an IWPR editor for Central Asia, who had experience in both local and foreign media and knew how to cover political, social, religious, and interethnic issues.

[su_pullquote] We were so excited about new information, were asking questions and debating that we didn’t notice how time passed.[/su_pullquote] From the very first day we felt that organisers tried to make the training maximum effective, to create an amicable atmosphere and comfortable conditions for learning. Practicing journalists and experts were invited as trainers from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Russia, Moldova and Ukraine. Speakers and mentors were interested in having the participants use the knowledge they acquired in practice. They gave us home assignments. We were so excited about new information, were asking questions and debating that we didn’t notice how time passed. For this reason, we often failed to keep within the schedule and to go for coffee breaks and lunches on time.

[su_quote] During trainings and discussions, participants have found that many issues have been similar almost in all Central Asian states, and many tasks to be solved have been similar. We have not only common border, but also historical background, language, culture.[/su_quote] 

The representatives of neighbouring countries brought candies, boorsoq, halva, dried fruit and other sweets with them. We, the Kyrgyzstanis, offered them our national beverage Shoro (maksym), and boasted a little about the history of its promotion. No one could outdo the Tajik participants in their country presentation. They had a wow effect – they set the table generously, put on national clothes, and danced well to Tajik music. But that was not the end. They prepared a presentation (slide show) where they told about their country. For a while, we transferred to Khujand in our minds…

During the training, the group of analysts made a study visit to AUCA.  Representatives of my alma mater were proud to give us a tour inside the building. The university impressed our foreign colleagues: the new building, modern equipment, interesting installation, and other goodies touched everyone’s feelings. My colleagues from neighbouring countries said they saw such things only in American films.

The group of analysts also visited the National Institute for Strategic Studies and had their questions answered. And the group of investigators visited the editorial office of Kloop.kg, radio Azattyk, and national public service broadcaster (KTRK).

On the ninth day of training, the regional director of IWPR for Central Asia, Abakhon Sultonazarov, congratulated the participants personally on their successful completion of the school. They presented certificates to us in a solemn ceremony and the Facebook feed and our Telegram chat were full of funny photos of the ceremony…

On the last day, we visited a wonderful place – the ethnic complex Supara-2. It is located in the village of Chunkurchak, about 60 km away from Bishkek. The organisers planned a relaxing event for the participants – yoga on the top of the mountain. Amazingly beautiful nature, clean mountain air were around us, and we did yoga under the guidance of Inna Rakhmanova, then we danced in a flash mob, and played like children. Those feelings cannot be described. I seemed to have returned to a carefree childhood for one day.

All those ten days were incredibly interesting, productive, intensive and … tasty for me. I am sure that each of the participants will try to prepare high-quality materials based on their newly acquired knowledge. I am endlessly grateful to God and the IWPR team for their training and new acquaintances, strong speakers and mentorship, interethnic friendship and rest!

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