Our new normal: Outdoor seminar in Uzbekistan

In the age of digitization and even more so now during the pandemic, webinars are a popular and widely used format for holding educational events. What if one wants to reach regions where there is no sufficient internet connection? What if we want to make a difference for young people who may not be able to afford the necessary technical equipment for economic reasons?

Reenact practical situations: A scene from a "bank talk". One participant presents his previously prepared business plan to our expert on site, Mathias Wangler (center). All other participants followed the conversation with excitement.

Mathias Wangler, Sparkassenstiftung's long-term expert in Uzbekistan (right): "Covid protection" was a top priority at this field seminar. One member of the team was exclusively assigned on site for this purpose. Attention was also paid to the distance between the participants. Since the participants (30 with 1.5 m distance between each) occupied a certain amount of space in two rows, it was agreed that I would pull the mask down while speaking and close it again immediately after pauses in speaking. In view of the distance to the participants and existing ambient noise outside (at times field work), it was imperative that I, as the main host, speak very loudly and clearly understandable".

These and other questions were posed to the project team in Uzbekistan this summer during the implementation of training measures for interested young people in rural regions of the Central Asian country. The Uzbek state - within the framework of a project to strengthen the agricultural sector and to promote rural development – is offering programs that allocate small pieces of land in rural areas to young people, in order to build up their own existence in the agricultural sector.

These dedicated young people are in need of knowledge of economic processes and how to handle their finances. For this purpose, the project team in Uzbekistan has created the concept of "outdoor seminars" and implemented it with state approval. On June 11th and 12th, 2020 the first seminar of this innovative kind took place in the remote district "Quyichirchiq" with 30 highly motivated and active participants.

How and where?

The seminar tool place on a test facility farm of the Youth Union with a view of the areas designated for crop cultivation. Due to the summer heat the event started at 8:00 a.m.; for the same reason, the event had to end at noon. The fact that the participants spent most of the time standing was not a problem - on the contrary, it brought movement to the matter.  

The topic of the seminar: "Creation of a business plan and its subsequent use in discussions with a bank to apply for an agricultural loan" was dealt with in three parts. On the first day the preparation of a business plan was worked out in an interactive way. Afterwards all participants received a blank form and the homework to prepare a personal business plan until the next day. The following morning all questions and problems that arose from the exercise could be discussed. Afterwards the sensitive situation of a bank consultation to apply for a loan was discussed. Finally, the participants simulated such bank interviews among themselves.

Flipcharts and Sparkassenstiftung's training materials were used for implementation. The regions rich landscapet provided a good atmosphere among the participants, and ensured a successful seminar. Due to the very positive experience gained, this seminar concept is now being increasingly applied in other rural districts of Uzbekistan. 

 

Christina Heuft / Mathias Wangler

 

Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation e.V.
Simrockstraße 4, 53113 Bonn

Phone: +49 228 9703-0
Fax: +49 228 9703-6613 or -6630

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