How Does Age Matter in Development Work in Kyrgyzstan?

by Jeanne Féaux de la Croix

Baktygul is twenty-five years old, and works for one of the 11.000 NGOs that are registered in Kyrgyzstan. She often visits villages around the country to conduct seminars on how communities can work together in a productive, peaceful way. But she is not very comfortable in her role as a ‘trainer’. As we drink tea in her Bishkek office, she tells me:

‘When we do seminars, I feel people look at me and think “why is a young thing like you teaching me”? But they don’t say this directly. We try not to say “you have something to learn”, instead we say “let’s share our experiences together”. People wonder who has sent you. They think you’re maybe an assistant (pomoshchnik). They don’t accept you as a trainer, or are surprised you’re the trainer. They give me these severe looks at first, thinking that I can’t be useful for them.’ Continue reading