IREX
International Research & Exchanges Board

USAID

Internet Access and Training Program (IATP)

December 31, 2006

IATP News for December 2006

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KYRGYZSTAN

IATP user on computer

Avazbek Anarov, a frequent IATP visitor,
checks his personal email using a
donated computer at the IIC in Aravan,
Kyrgyzstan

Member of Parliament Donates Equipment to Partner-Administered Center in Aravan, Kyrgyzstan

On December 22, Asamidin Maripov, a member of the Jogorku Kenesh, Kyrgyzstan’s Parliament, donated a computer and a printer to the partner-administered Independent Internet Center (IIC) in Aravan, Kyrgyzstan, using personal funds. In 2004, Maripov was elected from the Isanov District, where the Aravan IIC is located, and has identified lack of Internet access as a serious issue facing his constituents.

The Aravan IIC is unique among IATP’s Internet centers in that it was founded and entirely funded by IATP’s local partner organization, the Civil Society Support Center (CSSC), which also hosts and supports the IIC in nearby Nookat that was formerly administered by IREX. The CSSC leadership team allocated $1,400 from savings from past grants and paid services in February 2006 to open a second Internet center in an underserved area. CSSC Director Abduvali Hudayberdiev explained the need for a new IIC in Aravan by the village’s geographic isolation, 55 kilometers from Nookat and 38 kilometers from the Uzbek border, and little developed infrastructure and industry with farming as local residents’ only source of income. Because of their geographic isolation, Aravan’s 20,000 residents receive newspapers with a two-week delay and do not have access to Kyrgyz-language television stations.

ECA funding for 10 of 16 access sites in Kyrgyzstan ceased on August 31, 2005 and 10 partner organizations in Kyrgyzstan took full responsibility for the Independent Internet Centers (IIC), which operate independently and continue to provide at least 20 hours of free Internet access and training each month, but charge modest fees for other services to sustain the high costs of Internet, labor, and maintenance.

Hudayberdiev remarked, “When sponsors express their gratitude by donating equipment and the community appreciates and recognizes our work, I believe we should be working even harder to increase the quality and effectiveness of our work. Donated equipment is a good sign, but we do not intend to stop here. We intend to increase the number of computers and types of services offered at the IIC.”

For the majority of IATP partner organizations in Kyrgyzstan, learning ways to work efficiently and reach out to markets is completely new, but through training support and sharing best practices, they are preparing not only to sustain IATP’s work, but also to serve their communities more effectively.

IATP user in Kyrgyzstan
Omurbek Absotur uulu asks questions
about search engines at the IATP
access site in Balykchy, Kyrgyzstan

Orphans Acquire Computer and Internet Navigation Skills in Balykchy, Kyrgyzstan

On December 1, IATP Administrator Sergey Urlih completed a three-day computer and Internet basics course for 10 students of Dobraya Semya Orphanage at the IATP access site in Balykchy, Kyrgyzstan.

Over 100 orphans reside at the orphanage, and attend various vocational courses and workshops to prepare for future employment opportunities. There are seven computers available for the orphans at Dobraya Semya, but with their skills lacking, the children could not make effective use of them. UNICEF statistics show there were approximately 13,000-15,000 abandoned children in Kyrgyzstan in 2004, with only 6,000 of them living in orphanages and children’s homes. Today, the government allocates only 400 soms ($10) per month to feed each orphan, and no funding is provided for their education.

The seminar helped the children acquire new skills in computer and Internet use, search the Internet for information, and set up personal email accounts, all of which are crucial in landing a job after graduation from school. Urlih equipped the orphans with skills that otherwise would have been almost impossible to acquire, as the costs of similar seminars are prohibitive for disadvantaged populations.

“I would like to thank Sergey for helping us acquire new computer skills. I also learned how to use the Internet to find information I need for my studies. I also believe that I will utilize my computer knowledge in my future job,” commented student Omurbek Absotur uulu.


UKRAINE

TAG website
TAG participants created a website
dedicated to a castle in their village due
to IATP training

Ukrainian Girls from Disadvantaged Families Learn to Use the Internet

On December 20, 6 teenage girls from Pidhirtsi, Ukraine, created a website entitled, “Let’s Attract Tourists to Pidhirtsi!” after learning web design skills from IATP Trainer Iryna Kozak. The site was dedicated to the ancient castle located in the village, its history and legends. A statement on the home page of the website reads, “Our aim is to draw society’s attention to Pidhirtsi Castle, which is neglected now, and find sponsors to repair the castle. It will make it possible to attract tourists to Pidhirtsi.”

Since the beginning of October, 58 schoolgirls from six regions of Ukraine have mastered a range of computer skills that enabled them to develop community service projects. The creators of four winning projects have been invited to attend the IATP Winter School of Leadership in Kyiv. TAG is an IREX project designed to equip Ukrainian girls from disadvantaged families and rural areas with technology skills to help them secure a brighter future.

For the girls living in rural areas, IATP training is a unique opportunity to learn about information technologies. Ivanna Tsap from Pidhirtsi village (Lviv region) commented, “I am grateful to IATP. The challenge is that we study in a backcountry district, at a school where most of the students and teachers have no idea about the Internet. That is why TAG is a real window to the wide world for us and a great chance to address shortages of resources.”

The TAG project, sponsored by IATP, is working to inspire girls to serve their communities, and create new opportunities for themselves and their classmates.

From January 15 to 19, 14 winners of the contest for the best community project among the TAG participants will attend the IATP Winter School of Leadership in Kyiv, Ukraine. The girls will master skills to improve their community projects and implement them, meet with prominent Ukrainian women and representatives of the United States Embassy in Ukraine, gain leadership skills, and learn more about opportunities for work and study in Ukraine and abroad.

Former IATP Access Site Continues Its Mission in Kirovohrad, Ukraine

IATP users
Local schoolchildren learn computer and
Internet basics at the IIC in Kirovohrad

On December 1, Valentyna Zhyvotovska, deputy director of the Kirovohrad Regional Universal Scientific Library, which hosts an Independent Internet Center (IIC), reported to IATP on the IIC’s recent successes in Kirovohrad, Ukraine. The month of August, 2005 marked a new beginning for the former IATP access site in Kirovohrad, as the access site was transformed into an IIC, which had to move toward self-sufficiency while maintaining an educational focus, a mission to expand access to the general public, and active participation of ECA alumni.

Recognizing the value of IATP trainings for representatives of various professional and academic groups, library director Olena Haraschenko allocated money from the library’s budget to support the center’s activity. The IIC has a monthly budget of over $800 to cover staff salary and operational costs, such as fees for Internet, electricity, and security. Thanks to support from the partner library, the IIC has provided two hours of free Internet access for ECA alumni and local residents every day and has sponsored trainings on computer and Internet basics every month.

In November, IIC users participated in online discussions organized by IATP. On November 30, employees of local nonprofit organizations working with HIV-infected people visited the IIC to participate in an online conference entitled, “Youth Fighting AIDS,” initiated by the IATP team in Tajikistan. The IIC also established cooperation with Kirovohrad Center of Children and Youth Creativity; as a result of this cooperation, 24 schoolchildren attended trainings on computer and Internet basics conducted by Iryna Kucherenko, IIC administrator. The participants learned the basics of computer operations and operating systems, mastered skills for managing files and folders, and explored different software. Kucherenko explained how to create documents, edit texts, work with tables, and to save information to various media. The participants also gained skills for searching the Web for information of interest to them and sending messages, images, and scanned documents via e-mail. In total, 91 local residents gained computer and Internet skills due to trainings at the IIC. In that way former IATP access site continues working for benefit of the local community. 

In August 2005 two IATP access sites in Kirovohrad and Mykolaiv became IICs. The staff of the Mykolaiv Scientific and Pedagogical Library, which hosts and partners with the former IATP access site in Mykolaiv, provides some paid services for users that bring in revenue to support educational activities. As a result the IIC in Mykolaiv is able to sponsor free trainings for local librarians and educators on a regular basis. The 23 partners of IATP access sites in Ukraine have increased their monthly cost share contributions to over $11,770, which covers approximately 55% of the total operating expenses of the access sites.

Since August 2005, the network of IATP access sites in Ukraine has sponsored trainings for over 16,340 Ukrainians. Over 68,070 Ukrainians have benefited from IATP services in total.

ECA Alumnus Creates Movie about ECA Exchange Programs in Lutsk, Ukraine

local residents
Local residents watch Vitaliy Lipich’s
movie at the IATP access site in Lutsk

On December 8, the IATP access site in Lutsk, Ukraine, hosted a presentation of a movie entitled, “Get Applied,” created by a group of local college students led by Vtaliy Lipich (UGRAD 03). The movie was created during International Education Week with technical support from the IATP access site in Lutsk. The fifteen-minute movie covers one day in the life of a local student who is applying for an ECA exchange program.

In watching the video, the audience followed along as Vitaly finds information about the programs, fills out an application form, gathers reference letters and transcripts, and, finally, brings the complete application to the local IATP access site. Vitaliy Lipich used the computers at the IATP access site to write the script for the movie, gather information about the exchange programs, and edit the video. Eighteen local ECA alumni, university students and teachers, TAG participants, Peace Corps volunteers, and employees of Nasha Sprava, a youth non-profit organization, who helped to shoot the movie, attended the presentation.

Andriy Serov, student of Volyn State University, remarked, “The movie is ‘bright’ and encourages doing something like this! I would like to get applied and win!” Peace Corps volunteer Bill Young recommended that the video be shown to all applicants for ECA exchange programs. By sponsoring this event, IATP contributed to spread of information about ECA exchange programs and helped local ECA alumni work for benefit of the local community. The producers of the film plan to publish it online. Over 2870 ECA alumni have used IATP services in Ukraine.

Peace Corps Volunteer Teaches English to Educators in Vinnytsia, Ukraine

IATP center
Peace Corps volunteer Eric Jacobs
explains Internet search basics to local
educators in Vinnytsia, Ukraine

On December 18, the IATP access site in Vinnytsia. Ukraine, was the venue for a seminar entitled, “Internet Training Class for the English Teacher,” conducted by Peace Corps volunteer Eric Jacobs for six local English teachers. The aim of the seminar was to provide the local educators with an opportunity to improve the effectiveness of their teaching by using computer tools and Internet resources.

Jacobs started the seminar with an overview of websites containing free materials for English study. Attendees explored English-language news resources, such as the BBC website, that can be used as source material for English lessons. Then the attendees practiced searching the Web for resources for curriculum, online English tests, and other information of interest to them. As a result of the seminar, the participants learned to use computers and the Internet in their professional activity and compiled a list of useful materials for preparing their lessons. By hosting this event, IATP encouraged local educators to use the Internet for their work and contributed to their professional development.

Students Discover Role of Internet in Environmental Studies in Lutsk, Ukraine

Volunteers
Seminar attendees Kateryna Morska,
Roman Fisiak, and Olena Guzh (from
left to right) clean up the central park
in Lutsk, Ukraine

On December 22, the IATP access site in Lutsk, Ukraine, was the venue for a seminar entitled, “The Role of the Internet in Environmental Studies,” conducted by IATP Site Administrator Valentyna Uschyna for eight local ECA alumni and students of Volyn State University. Uschcyna started the seminar with an overview of land, air, and water pollution in Ukraine and around the world, and argued for the importance of environmental education for citizens. She also suggested that the Internet is a very helpful tool for accomplishing this task as it provides almost unlimited access to information, the latest research, and opportunities for exchange of best practices across regions and countries. The participants explored websites on the topic, including the website of the US Environmental Protection Agency containing information about environmental regulations, programs, educational resources, and other helpful information.

As a result of the seminar, the participants took practical steps to improve environmental preservation in their own city. On December 26, the seminar attendees and staff of the IATP access site picked up litter in the city’s central park. Halyna Bas remarked, “I believe that we should start solving our environmental problems educating not only schoolchildren, but grown-ups too. And here the Internet can play a key role.” By sponsoring this seminar, IATP demonstrated to local youth the opportunities provided by the Internet for environmental study, and encouraged them to take practical steps for environmental protection.


AZERBAIJAN

website

IATP User Presents His 50th Website at the Access Site in Ganja, Azerbaijan

On December 23, Farhad Huseynov presented to the public the 50th website he created using IATP resources, a resource dedicated to the Goy-Gol Nature Reserve. Over 30 people attended the presentation, including ECA alumni, representatives of local and international organizations, academics, students, and the general public at the IATP access site in Ganja, Azerbaijan.

Huseynov has been an active IATP user since the access site first opened its doors to the public in October 2003. Eager to learn, he completed all of IATP’s standard courses, from computer basics to Web design, ultimately creating 50 interesting local language and content websites on a wide range of topics, including about the Ganja Regional Community Center, HIV/AIDS, antinarcotics, tuberculosis, and his own tutorials on Web design. After the presentation of the websites, Goy-Gol Reserve Director Bilal Verdiyev spoke to the importance of preserving the environment and described rare species that inhabit the reserve. Huseynov commented, “The website contains complete information about the reserve and its inhabitants. I hope it will be useful in increasing people’s awareness of and respect for nature and animals and help in their preservation for future generations.” The newly created website brings the total number of websites hosted on the Azerbaijani IATP server to 470.

Alumna Compares American and Azerbaijani Culture with Youth in Sumgayit, Azerbaijan

IATP seminar

On December 10, the IATP access site in Sumgayit, Azerbaijan was the venue for a discussion of culture and democratic heritage in a seminar entitled, “Differences and Similarities in American and Azerbaijani Life,” conducted by Almaz Mehtiyeva (TEA 04) in English for six high school and college students.

To begin the seminar, Mehtiyeva delivered a presentation on her impressions of democracy, education, sports, music, traditions, and family life in the United States. She commented, “Democracy and citizen patriotism are very well developed in the United States. Americans value freedom and nurture in skills of independence from childhood that are not common in Azerbaijani culture.” She noted that it is not appropriate to transfer that experience directly to Azerbaijan, because some practices that are accepted in American society would be counter to Azerbaijan’s national traditions. For example, she noted that in Azerbaijan there is a narrower range of dress and behavior that is accepted in public than in the United States. Participants also noted that, due to economic conditions, many Azerbaijanis are too focused on work and providing for their families to develop hobbies and other activities to the extent that they flourish in the United States. Participants browsed various online resources dedicated to improving international understanding, such as the websites of Education Abroad and Voice of America.

Parviz Omarov, a student of the Economic University of Azerbaijan, commented, “I was pleased to attend this seminar, because I have broadened my horizons, made new friends, and improved my communication skills, particularly practical English. I will definitely attend other similar events to get more first-hand information about the United States.”


ARMENIA

IATP users in Armenia
Anahit Sahakyan delivers her
presentation at the IATP access site
in Yeghegnadzor, Armenia

Citizens of Armenia Explore Country’s Taxation System in Online Discussion

On December 11, the IATP access site in Yeghegnadzor, Armenia hosted a one-hour online discussion entitled “The Taxation System in the Republic of Armenia” for 13 college professors, volunteers, students, and trainers from four Armenian IATP access sites.

Anahit Sahakyan, who is a professor in the Department of Economics at Yeghegnadzor State College and the chief accountant of the Yeghegnadzor Branch of ArdshinInvest Bank in Armenia, participated in the discussion as the quest speaker and answered participants’ questions. Sahakyan gave a detailed presentation dedicated to types and forms of taxes in Armenia, the system for collecting taxes from individuals and organizations, how the taxation system is regulated in the country, and functions of each regulating body, including the functions of the Tax Inspectorate, a state tax inspection agency, and tax legislation. Sahakyan also noted, “According to Armenia's Tax Code, there are six types of taxes in the Republic of Armenia: profit tax, income tax, excise tax, value added tax, property tax, and land tax. The primary purposes of taxes include funding the state’s expenses, promoting equality, and regulating business.”  Varduhi Simonyan, a volunteer from the IATP access site in Spitak, Armenia asked, “What is the official minimum wage in Armenia and will this amount increase in the near future?” Sahakyan replied, “In 2007, the state budget projects an increase in the minimum wage by 15% to 20,000 drams [$55] per month.”

The online discussion with Sahakyan gave Armenian taxpayers an understanding of how their country’s tax system works, what their personal tax obligations are, and how their tax money is spent, helping them to become better informed and more active citizens. As a follow-up to the discussion, Sahakyan agreed to help IATP Trainer Edik Mkoyan organize a similar discussion for the residents of Gyumri, Armenia.

Volunteers of Disabled Children’s Center in Kapan, Armenia Develop Proposal Writing Skills

IATP seminar
Peace Corps Volunteer Hillary George
demonstrates how to create a timeline
for project implementation at the IATP
access site in Kapan, Armenia

From December 11 to 15, four volunteers from House of Hope and Faith, a local nonprofit organization that supports disabled children, learned effective proposal writing skills and marketing to donors during a five-day seminar at theIATP access site in Kapan, Armenia. Peace Corps Volunteer Hillary George and IATP Trainer Anna Minasyan developed materials on asset and deficit maps, steps in project planning, conducting a needs assessment, setting goals and objectives, developing action plans, budgeting and conducting evaluations for the trainees.

On the first day, Minasyan introduced the participants to the concept of a successful proposal that is based on local needs and problems. In the course of the following three days, George and Minasyan went through the steps of project planning and helped the participants create a work plan for writing and implementing a proposal. George noted, “In comparison to an objective, the goal is broader and includes the result that will later be, while the objectives are SMART (Specific Measurable Attainable Reasonable and Time bound).” George also suggested that participants brainstorm goals and objectives for the project ideas they had. On the last day of the course, the participants developed an action plan for their project by defining the tasks, roles and responsibilities, and creating a timeline. The volunteers also developed monitoring and evaluation plans for their project, identified the current resources that their organization had, thought of resources they would like to obtain that would help them to implement the project, and browsed Caucasus Research Resource Center’s proposal writing materials.

As a result of the seminar, the participants developed and finalized a proposal entitled “Empowering Children with Disabilities through Physical Training,” which they will introduce to various donor organizations in the coming months. Robert Matevosyan, the Public Relations manager, remarked, “The course was very detailed and useful. If necessary we will use our newly-acquired knowledge to modify and develop our project proposal to meet donor interests. This will greatly increase our chances of getting project funding.”


TAJIKISTAN

Citizens Discuss Human Rights Situation in Eurasia Online

IATP user

On December 8, over 35 people, including NGO representatives, teachers, and students from Tajikistan and Armenia met online at IATP access sites to mark Human Rights Day and discuss the human rights situation in Eurasia.

To begin the online discussion, Muattar Haydarova, director of the nonprofit organization Society and Law, and Nigina Bahrieva, representative of the nonprofit organization Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law, delivered presentations about the goals and activities of their organizations and gave an overview of the human rights situation in Tajikistan and in other countries of Eurasia. Haydarova commented, “Tajikistan ratified several international legal acts, but not all of them are implemented properly.”

Bahrieva continued, “Unfortunately, the human rights situation has a declining tendency and we feel pity when listening to our colleagues from former Soviet Union countries.” She added, “There are laws being passed that hinder the normal function of NGOs. In many countries governments have been shutting down NGOs due to different reasons; such as in Uzbekistan where almost all NGOs working in human rights were closed and many people had to leave their country; a similar situation is found in Belarus. From our Russian colleagues we are getting information that the government started checking their activities more strictly.”

During the online discussion, the participants asked more than 20 questions, and were introduced to relevant web resources such as the Human Rights in Tajikistan website. The online discussion enabled participants to learn more about human rights in Eurasia, discuss problems, achievements, and ways to improve the situation, and provided them a rare opportunity to come together and share their experiences.

Alumni Share Impressions of Holiday Celebrations in the United States with Youth in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

IATP users

On December 23, Ilhom Aliev (FLEX 05) and Bahrom Ismailov (FLEX 05) delivered a presentation entitled, “Christmas and New Year Celebrations in the United States” for 12 high school and college students at the IATP access site in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The purpose of the event was to let alumni share their impressions of the traditions of holiday celebrations they experienced during their exchange year in the United States and compare them with holiday celebrations in Tajikistan for interested local youth.

Aliev began with an overview of the history of the Christmas and New Year holidays and talked about his host family’s holiday celebration in Oregon. He commented, “Christmas is a very important holiday for many Americans, so they like to prepare for it in advance and give many presents to each other. People visit their friends and family members, sing Christmas carols, and enjoy each other’s company.” Ismailov remarked, “I lived in Michigan and for my host family Christmas and New Year were the most fabulous and exciting holidays in which wishes come true. Besides the tree, people decorate their houses with bouquets of mistletoes. In general, these holidays for Americans are a great time for fun; they go to carnivals, parties, and walk around the city.” For the New Year it is a custom among Tajiks to give presents only to children and celebrate with a table full of national dishes and cake with family members. Participant Ulugbek Safarqulov asked, “What do Americans prepare for New Year, and do they consider Christmas a religious holiday?” Aliev replied, “Americans have a rich cuisine and they prepare many dishes during these holidays. In my family, we had baked turkey with sauce, meatloaf, different salads, and cookies. Of course, the holidays relate to the birth of Jesus Christ and have a religious theme to them for many Americans.” The speakers introduced participants to various related web resources such as The Holiday Spot website, so they could learn more about the holidays on their own and send online greeting cards.

Parvina Dadabaeva concluded, “It was a very interesting, useful, and fun discussion. We got a great deal of new information about celebration of Christmas and New Year in the United States, compared differences with our own traditions, and increased our understanding of other aspects of American culture.”


GEORGIA

Georgian Citizens Discuss Problems Facing the Disabled with Government Official Online

IATP users
Relatives of disabled citizens submit
questions from the independent
Internet center in Rustavi, Georgia

On December 4, Georgian citizens suffering from disabilities learned about the Ministry of Health and Social Defense Ministry’s program entitled, “Social Integration, Adaptation and Support of the Disabled.” More than 30 people with disabilities, their relatives and caregivers, and NGO representatives gathered online to participate in the IATP-hosted forum about government activities aimed at addressing problems faced by disabled citizens with Tsotne Beselia, head of the Department of Social Integration of the Health Ministry.

To open the discussion, Beselia gave a brief overview of current statistics and needs of handicapped persons in the country, remarking, “there are around 230,000 people in Georgia with different disabilities that are divided into three categories: first category with severe disabilities, second with important disabilities and the third with mid-level disabilities. They have various needs, starting from living conditions and ending with social integration problems." Beselia also added the program is quite similar to programs carried out in different developed or developing countries, but at the same time it is designed based on the Georgian statistics and economic situation.

In the course of the interactive discussion, Beselia answered participants’ questions about the criteria for determining the monthly stipend granted to physically challenged people, availability of government funding for cultural and educational projects for disabled children, and rights of the disabled. Beselia encouraged NGO representatives to submit their proposals on social integration of disabled youth in the society for the Ministry’s consideration.  The online forum was an opportunity for disabled Georgians with limited access to information to establish communication with responsible government officials.

Alumnus Teaches Elementary Schoolteachers to Educate Students Creatively

seminar
Pavle Tvaliashvili (PiE 04, front)
demonstrates to seminar participants
materials about creative teaching

On December 3, Pavle Tvaliashvili (PiE 04) conducted a seminar at the Independent Internet Center (IIC) in Rustavi, Georgia, entitled, “UNESCO DigiArts - Building Your Own Creative Teaching Practice” for more than 20 schoolteachers to inform them about DigiArts - UNESCO’s  Knowledge portal, which encourages teachers to design creative study plans for students by using computers and multimedia presentations and increase the productivity of their classes.

Tvaliashvili, the Georgian representative of the DigiArts project, works to improve the quality of education by implementing innovative teaching practices in the region. He guided the trainees through the project website, demonstrating international media art resources, a virtual library of major texts related to art, science and technology, as well as other web resources about utilizing information technology in teaching, such as the International Education and Resource Network and the Global Virtual School for Sustainable Development. The seminar was timely assistance for Georgian schoolteachers, as Georgian schools have been outfitted with new computer equipment over the last two years. Schoolteacher Lali Gobejishvili commented, “teaching must incorporate interactive and creative elements also, in order to make it more attractive and rewarding for students.”

“This method has been popular among European schools, but it will be a novelty for Georgian teachers,” reported Tvaliashvili. “At Georgian schools, most teachers think that leading a class means only reading material the previous day and then re-telling it to the students on the following day.”


MOLDOVA

Peace Corps Volunteers Teach Internet Use to Local Residents in Chisinau, Moldova

IATP users
Attendees learn to work with online
communities in Chisinau, Moldova

On December 12, the IATP Training Laboratory in Chisinau, Moldova hosted a seminar on online network use, conducted by Peace Crops volunteers Breanne Svehla and Charles Smith for eight local residents. The aim of the seminar was to equip the attendees with skills in use of online social networks and encourage them to increase their knowledge of information technology.

Breanne Svehla started the seminar with an overview of development of social networking and online communities. Then Charles Smith described the structure and layout of the MySpace social networking website, which offers an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music, and videos. The attendees explored the website, created their own accounts, and learned to search for information of interest to them within this community. By sponsoring this seminar, IATP demonstrated to local residents new opportunities for education, networking and professional development.

Students Use Information Technology to Prepare for Graduation Exams in Chisinau, Moldova

IATP users
Tatiana Vasilita gives her presentation
to Dr. Valentina Singhirei

On December 13, 15 students of the Foreign Languages Department of Moldova State University (MSU) – IATP’s partner organization – gathered at the IATP Training Laboratory in Chisinau, Moldova, to present their final reports for the Multimedia in Education course, which is also a part of their State Graduation Exam.

Dr. Valentina Singhirei (Fulbright 98) conducted the course at the IATP Training Laboratory from September, and posted the materials at her website, dedicated to use of information technology (IT) to support learning and teaching in higher education. Students learned to use a computer and the Internet to develop teaching materials, gather information online, and present it to an audience.

As a result of the course, the students prepared presentations on a variety of topics, including customs and traditions of the United States and Great Britain. IATP provided the opportunity for educators to integrate modern IT into teaching and encouraged local students to use Internet tools in their studies and everyday activities.


KAZAKHSTAN

website
The official website of Zhuldyz is
now available

Author and Folk Dance Group Publish Websites in Atyrau, Kazakhstan

On December 16, four residents posted websites to IATP’s server after a one-week Web design course at the IATP access site in Atyrau, Kazakhstan. IATP Administrator Nurgul Nassiyeva taught the participants, including a high school student, a writer, and two members of a dance troupe, how to design user-friendly websites.

Beket Karashin, a Kazakh writer who has over 170 publications, created a website to share information about his book entitled “Knight’s Poetry,” containing some of his works. Gaukhar Nurmuratkizi and Fatima Utarbaeva, members of Zhuldyz, a Kazakh traditional dance ensemble, developed their troupe’s website, which contains links to its history, achievements and awards, repertoire, and biographical sketches of the dancers. Utarbaeva commented, “We finally learned how to develop websites, and thanks to our new skills, our ensemble has an online presence.”

The workshop strengthened the capacity of residents to preserve and share Kazakh cultural values through online Web resources, improving the rest of the world’s understanding and awareness of Kazakhstan. The three new websites bring the total number of resources hosted by IATP in Kazakhstan to 1,170, representing nearly 9% of the Web content hosted in the country.

Rural Educators Exposed to Internet in Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan

educators' meeting
Educators share and practice newly-
acquired Internet navigation skills at the
IIC in Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan

On December 6, Marina Bebko, the administrator of the Independent Internet Center (IIC) in Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan, completed a three-day seminar on online educational resources for 18 teachers from the rural Karaguga and Ozerniy High Schools, located 7 kilometers from Petropavlovsk, at the IIC in Petropavlovsk.

Rural high school teachers lack resources, including books, new teaching methodologies, and video/audio materials, and are using outdated materials with almost no technology component. Bebko led the seminar in order to improve the educators’ online research skills, helping them find educational resources, and information about interactive teaching methods. The teachers also explored and discovered a wide spectrum of online sources of information for their curriculum, including Online English, History Resources, Finbook Online Library, and Russian Philology, where the educators found practice tests and games corresponding their subjects, tips on interactive teaching, in-class activities, and other resources.

Bebko has already conducted five similar seminars for over 60 educators, high school students, and librarians since January. IATP trains more than 1,600 residents of Kazakhstan every month in the basics of computer and Internet use, Web design, and specialized courses. By equipping educators with the Internet navigation skills along with offering other services, including Internet access, IATP gives teachers, scholars, and professors the knowledge and resources they need to advance professionally, incorporate new technologies and methodologies in their teaching, and improve the general public’s Internet literacy.


TURKMENISTAN

website
The website of contest winner
Zarina Hudaybergenova (FLEX 00)
contains recipes for dishes from the
Lebap region

Turkmenistan Alumni Participate in Web Design Contest
On December 20, the Alumni Resource Center in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, hosted a panel of judges from IATP and American Councils (ACCELS) to grade the English-language websites created and posted by members of Alumni Advisory Councils (AACs) of the IATP access sites in Mary and Turkmenabat, Turkmenistan as a part of a web design contest entitled, “Virtual Trip to My Turkmenistan.” To take part in the contest, six ECA alumni from two regions completed IATP’s web design course in December and, as a result, developed four websites and submitted them for the contest.

Zarina Hudaybergenova’s (FLEX 00) website “Lebap Kitchen” devoted to the cuisine of the Lebap region took first place. The website contains recipes from this unique region on the border of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, combining dishes from both countries. Anastasiya Kuznesova (FLEX 05) and Sheker Muradova (BFTI 06) took second place with their website “Turkmen Celebrations” (http://tmcelebrations.tm.iatp.net,) and Madina Aliyeva (FLEX 06) took third place with her website “Turkmen Holidays” (http://tmholidays.tm.iatp.net.)

Madina Aliyeva (FLEX 06), vice president of the Turkmenabat AAC, noted, “This contest motivated me to learn Web design and create a resource sharing my country’s traditions and culture; there is a lack of information about Turkmenistan on the Internet. As an AAC member, I feel responsible for conducting computer-related trainings myself and encouraging the Turkmen public to create similar websites.”