The KICK program emphasizes sports as a medium for teaching conflict management and promoting mutual understanding among Kyrgyz coaches and youth from different regions and ethnic and religious backgrounds.
Kyrgyz coaches will participate in an intensive training, implement small grants projects in their communities, and have the opportunity to travel to the US to learn about American sports programming and adapt this new knowledge to their curriculum in Kyrgyzstan.
• Increase Kyrgyz secondary school coaches’ knowledge of new training techniques and methodologies for working with youth in new sports, technology and conflict management
• Increase the capacity of Kyrgyz coaches to integrate this knowledge through sports-related community development projects and to promote sports in their schools and communities
• Promote cross-cultural exchange and information sharing between American and Kyrgyz coaches and communities
The events of spring 2010 that led to the flight of Kyrgyzstan’s President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and subsequent clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in the southern region of Osh underscored the fragility of Kyrgyzstan’s nascent democracy. There is a clear need to develop a culture of peace in Kyrgyzstan – both to facilitate reconciliation in the aftermath of the 2010 clashes and to prevent tensions from turning violent in the future.
Sports have great potential to bring people from different backgrounds together around a common interest and have been used successfully to foster mutual understanding in volatile situations throughout the world – including by IREX in the North Caucasus. However, there are two main obstacles to the use of sports as a means to develop a culture of peace in Kyrgyzstan. Firstly, the overall quality of sports programming in Kyrgyzstan is very low. Secondly, there is a lack of conflict management capacity among Kyrgyz coaches.
Fortunately, The Kyrgyz government recognizes the importance of sports to overall well-being, meaning there is space for creative yet realistic initiatives that do not require significant financial support from government institutions.
• Two US experts in Youth, Sports and Conflict Management travel to Kyrgyzstan to observe sports programming and facilitate a Training of Trainers (TOT)
• Training of Trainers for 30 Kyrgyz coaches held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan concentrating on sports training methodologies, new sports, technology and conflict management
• Coaches apply for and implement small grants projects in their communities that will introduce new sports and methodologies to their schools and communities
• Five Kyrgyz coaches travel to the US to visit a high school to learn about sports programming, and build cross-cultural awareness and friendships
• Five coaches work collaboratively to design and implement a Youth Sports Camp in Kyrgyzstan