The first training seminar was held in Bishkek on October 7-9, 2016. The seminar was attended by 4 researchers of the Issyk-group as well as a participant from Batken group who we considered as a potential coordinator. During the seminar, participants were introduced to project goals and objectives. The main focus was put on training the participants on basic techniques of participatory action research (PAR). To put the methods of PAR in use, the participants were invited to a sacred site Zhalgyz Terek (Bashkara-Suu village, Chui district), which is revered for its water that flows out of 7 springs. The researchers got a chance to master their PAR and interview skills in live interaction with the traditional knowledge holders, that is, the guardians of sacred sites connected with water. The participants also met with experts in hydrology, folklore and water healing practices. Participants together with experts discussed and defined focuses of PAR for the project.
The following results were achieved during the seminar:
- Learning the basic knowledge and skills of PAR
- Identify areas of research in both areas
- Develop and agreed the terms of cooperation
- Signed agreements