From May 15-17, American Councils’ Media Literacy Programs experts held a workshop in Almaty, Kazakhstan, for 15 soon-to-be trainers from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, including two FLEX alumni Zhibek Abdymutalyp kyzy (Krygyzstan, ’18) and Kharkynai Kadyrova (Kyrgzstan ’17). Participants learned Navigating Online Media and Disinformation (NOMAD) material, prepared unique content for future in-country workshops for FLEX alumni and other youth, and practiced various facilitation techniques.  

Led by Hannah Hurlbut, Media Literacy Program Coordinator, Benjamin Thurn, Media Literacy Program Manager, and Global Educator Si Norton, participating teachers learned how to navigate various types of online information, determined when fact-checking is necessary, and practiced how to respond to those who post disinformation in their lives. Participants also learned effective strategies for working with groups, including icebreakers and teambuilding exercises, and communication and engagement best practices.  

The 15 trainers will use the skills learned during NOMAD to host their own media literacy trainings in their home countries. These trainings will utilize localized and translated versions of the NOMAD curriculum, developed by the trainers with oversight from American Councils staff. 

Post-survey results were encouraging and consistent with a previous NOMAD Training of Teachers event in Southeast Europe. Between pre- and post-workshop surveys, participants reported a 28% increase in their confidence in assessing the reliability of sources, a 34% increase in identifying real photographs online, and a 20% increase in ability to identify false information. One participant noted, “It was a super productive event and very informative. Our region needs such trainings and media literacy events can help young people develop strong skills of protecting themselves against disinformation.” 

With enhanced skills in media literacy, fact-checking, and facilitation, these trainers are now equipped to lead workshops in their home countries, focusing on FLEX alumni. This initiative is a crucial step towards empowering young people across the region to navigate online media critically and responsibly. 

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