peace corps third year

Sample budget for teacher trainings in Kyrgyzstan

A fellow third-year volunteer Luke and I gave a brief session last month at our All-Volunteer conference talking about teacher training logistics. The session included a sample budget of what to expect to spend on a 1-2 day training for area teachers. I’m including the budget below for anyone interested in implementing trainings in Kyrgyzstan as an idea of where to get started and what kinds of things may be needed to run a training.

A training can be done for as little or as much money as you like. It’s possible to hold a 1 or 2 session training at your school for no cost other than a bit of chalk and the teachers’ time. However, if you’re going to host a multiple session training, it’s usually a good idea to provide a few materials that will assist in the success of the training.

Below is a sample budget of what things you may want to include in a training for 15 participants. Not every training must include all elements, for example most local trainings are held without renting a hotel for the participants, or without paying for teachers’ transportation costs.

There will be other necessary items, for example a teapot, tables, chairs, etc. but this budget assumes these items will be available to be used for free wherever the training is held.

Item Cost (Som) (Dollars) Units Total Cost (Som) (Dollars) Who funds
Training Items
Notebook 20-25 .40-.50 15 300-375 6.00-7.50 G, CC*
Pen 7-15 .15-.30 15 105-225 2.10-4.50 G, CC
Folder 25-40 .50-.80 15 375-600 7.50-12.00 G, CC
Certificates 15-20 .30-.40 15 225-300 4.50-6.00 G, CC
Flip Chart 200-250 4.00-5.00 1 200-250 4.00-5.00 G, V, CC
Markers 5-10 .10-.20 10 50-100 1.00-2.00 G, V, CC
Handouts 3-4 .6-.8 150 (pages) 450-600 9.00-12.00 G, V, CC
Total 1705-2450 $34.00-50.00
Coffee Break / Lunch Items
Chai 90-100 1.80-2.00 1 (box) 90-100 1.80-2.00 CC, G, V
Coffee 90-100 1.80-2.00 1 90-100 1.80-2.00 CC, G, V
Sugar 30-40 .60-.80 .5 kilo 30-40 .60-.80 CC, G, V
Cookies 150-250 3.00-5.00 2 kg 300-500 6.00-10.00 CC, G, V
Lunch 100-200 2.00-4.00 18 (with trainers) 1800-3600 36.00-72.00 G, CC
Salary for Cooks 250-300 5.00-6.00 2 (2 people, 1 day) 500-600 10.00-12.00 G, CC
Total 2810-4940 $56.00-100.00
Travel per trainee 50-100 1.00-2.00 30 (local travel, both ways) 1500-3000 30.00-60.00 CC, G
Training Room 1000 20.00 1 (day) 1000 20.00 CC, G
Hotel ? ? 2-3 nights ? ? G
Translator 500-1000 $10.00-20.00 1 (day) 500-1000 10.00-20.00 CC, G
Total Costs(without hotel) 7515-12390 $150.00-250.00

*G = Grant, V = Volunteer, CC = Community Contribution

These are suggestions of funding sources based on volunteer experiences in the past. The volunteer is not required to spend any of their own funds for trainings beyond their own transportation (grants don’t cover volunteer travel). You may find however that you will spend some money here and there for various items like a thank you gift, some additional snacks for lunch or other materials needed for the training like scissors, etc.

Teacher trainings are great for a number of reasons. They allow teachers the opportunity to meet with other teachers to discuss relevant issues, they provide opportunities for professional development and they help improve the quality of instruction provided for students.

Trainings are also relatively inexpensive and can have a high probability of passing when submitted as grant requests. Trainings have a higher chance of being accepted if they also include a follow up process for participants. This can be follow-up observations by you or your counterpart, submitted lesson plans or a number of other ideas. Make sure to include in your budget any costs incurred through follow up, whether that is travel money for your counterpart to go observe teachers or money for another chai break if you are meeting with teachers.

Things I’ve discovered about America

“Makal” in the Kyrgyz language means “proverb.” Kyrgyz is full of wonderful and puzzling little proverbs – some that match common proverbs often heard in English and some that are real head scratchers. Most Mondays I’ll post one of the more fun ones for you. Let’s see if we can’t make some of these commonplace in America by the time I get back!

Mekeningdin kadyry bashka jakta bilinet

Мекениңдин кадыры башка жакта билинет

“The value of your homeland is known once you’re in another place”

This proverb conjures up the melody of Big Yellow Taxi: “Don’t it always seem to go—that you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone…”

When a volunteer extends their service for a third year, the Peace Corps kicks in a free month-long trip back to the states in between the second and third year. This is quite the perk and currently this volunteer is enjoying his Minnesota summer quite thoroughly.

IMG_0599Onion ring towers bigger than your face and maps of America made out of beer labels. It’s gonna be a delicious month of July.

It does seem to take some significant time spent out of the United States to realize how good we have it. Most Americans enjoy everyday opportunities that would be considered privileges in many other countries. In many ways I took for granted the comfortable life my circumstances, upbringing and family have allowed me. For this, I’m grateful.

On the lighter side, having been living outside of the states so long the absence made me forget many things I once had—only to be discovered upon return to these closer shores. And I mean discovered, of course, in the same way Columbus “discovered” America. So hang onto your cockle hats Americans—here they are—my discoveries:

  1. First and foremost, judging by the above paragraph, I seem to mostly have been being in the forgetfulness state of English usage. Methinks I need to study this book.
  2. Being able to mostly speak the native language is kinda nice and (for the most part) I’m not all that socially awkward.
  3. Mosquitoes and 95% humidity are actually not that pleasant.
  4. Toilet paper goes IN the toilet.
  5. The joy of utilizing the personal manifest destiny machine aka the automobilefamilycar
  6. Frozen pizza
  7. An entire bag of Chili Cheese Fritos fulfills all your daily needs for calories, fat and sodium.
  8. (And on a related note) America shrinks all your clothing. Food just tastes better when it’s red, white, and blue!IMG_0741
  9. Everyone shows up so early to stuff. I show up right on time, 30 min. late.
  10. Not having good internets, I’m now catching up on all the youtubes.
  11. I follow my family members around on errands because I’ve found they tend to buy me food.
  12. Disc golf. My goodness, how I’ve missed you! I just fell off on a tangent of watching more videos. (And I’ve hit up 6 different courses since being back.)discinred
  13. There’s a lot of stuff and things. I kept taking pictures of the size of food containers at Sam’s Club.
  14. Parades and dancing ice-cream cones.IMG_0581
  15. There’s family here! And I missed them. Also, weddings take a long time to prepare for. (Congrats Marie!!)IMG_0743
  16. I like it.

Thanks America! And thank you Peace Corps for the trip!

Stay tuned for part 2 in which I list the top things of value about Kyrgyzstan that is becoming known to me now that I’ve been away for a few weeks! Мен Кыргызстанды сагындым…I miss you Kyrgyzstan!


If you’ve returned home after spending significant time outside of your native land, what were some of the things you re-discovered?