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Kyrgyz Mountains Environmental Education and Citizen Science (KMEECS)

Discussing results of
water survey at exhibition
Measuring water flow
Construction of
self made microscope
Coordinating Organisation CAMP Alatoo Public Foundation & University of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan
Organisers/Type of Organisation Non-profit organisation (NGO)
Initiative Type Citizen science and environmental education
Field of Science Involved Environmental education/climate change
Target Audience(s) Schools
Reach Kyrgyzstan; Naryn province; Ak-Taala, At-Bashi and Naryn districts

Main Objectives

The main objectives of the project are to generate locally relevant environmental data on high mountain socio-ecological systems using a citizen science approach, involving students and teachers in pilot schools of Naryn, Kyrgyzstan. At the same time, the project contributes to improving environmental education and awareness about the local environment in rural schools, as well as to improve the access to knowledge and environmental information in marginalized mountain regions of Kyrgyzstan.

However, it is also a research project in its own right, considering the question ‘What are the obstacles to the introduction of a citizen science approach to generate data about the local environment in mountain communities of Kyrgyzstan as a new method of environmental education in schools?’

Description of work

10 schools selected on motivation-based competition in Naryn province in Kyrgyzstan are involved in the development of a curriculum and resources for citizen science activities on water monitoring, covering biology, geography, chemistry and physics subjects The project is run using participatory action research methods whereby communities are involved in carrying out and reflecting on the research themselves. In close collaboration with the teachers and students, a manual on water quality monitoring has been developed. The working team conducted Training of Trainers (ToT) for teachers and schoolchildren on the field experiments described in the manual. Each school received a toolbox with the materials needed for the experiments, though most materials are low-cost or even can be self-made from local materials. After the training, the participating schools integrated the experiments into the school curriculum in the form of open classes and collected local data on water. An exhibition presenting visualizations of the citizen science activities and environmental challenges found by the participating schools was conducted in Naryn and Bishkek in December 2016.

One final workshop presenting the developed resources as well as the outcomes of the project at the national level, highlighting pathways to inform country-wide educational policies in Kyrgyzstan and promote Open Science is planned for March 2017.

Interim Results

As the project is still ongoing (until June 2017), there are no final results available. However, some emerging results are as follows:

  • The combination of open science, citizen science and environmental education has generated positive feedback and interest in Kyrgyzstan.
  • The educational value of citizen science activities in rural school has also generated a great deal of interest.
  • There is mistrust by scientists of the data generated by project participants, though at a local level there is a sense that they are specialists when it comes to their local environment.
  • Based on KMEECS project new citizen science and environmental education activities are being developed: CAMP Alatoo integrated environmental education component into the joint regional project with GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) - Ecosystem based Adaptation to Climate Change in High Mountainous Regions of Central Asia. Plant phenology and climate change are selected as a topic for citizen science research and activities. Finally, a manual on plant phenology will be developed and further disseminated across the country. 

Expected Results

  • Increased environmental awareness and environmental knowledge among involved school children and teachers.
  • Increased interest in environmental learning through experiential citizen science promoted through the elaborated manual on water quality monitoring 
  • Increased vertical and horizontal networking and collaboration capacities within science education in Kyrgyzstan and increased advocacy for innovative, participatory and citizen science.
  • Improved access to local-level environmental information.
  • Enhanced understanding of the stakeholders, dynamics, barriers and opportunities for the adoption of OCS for contributing to the development of remote mountain regions in Central Asia.
  • Increased visibility and advocacy of environmental challenges and actions in remote mountain regions of Kyrgyzstan.

Resources used or generated

The main products of this project will be (available by June 2017)

  • The manual on water quality monitoring in Russian and Kyrgyz languages available both online and as hard copy.
  • Ebook on visualized school projects developed on the basis of experiments described in the manual
  • Mobile application for water monitoring and data management 

Contact Details
Coordinator Aliya Ibraimova, CAMP Alatoo
Principal Researcher: Aline Rosset, University of Central Asia
Address CAMP Alatoo, 3, Ufimskiy pereulok, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
e-mail Aliya Ibraimova
CAMP Alatoo
Social Media Facebook
Other partner details University of Central Asia