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Bringing governance online in Kyrgyzstan
by Domenico Consoli

Domenico Consoli spent three weeks working in Kyrgyzstan as a UNV volunteer with the Association of Senior Volunteers 'Seniores Italia'. (D. Consoli/Seniores Italia/UNV)Domenico Consoli spent three weeks working in Kyrgyzstan as a UNV volunteer with the Association of Senior Volunteers 'Seniores Italia'. (D. Consoli/Seniores Italia/UNV)
11 February 2009

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: I’m Domenico Consoli from Italy, a computer science teacher and consultant. I also cooperate with the University of Ancona and the University of Urbino. I had a great experience for three weeks working in Kyrgyzstan as a UNV volunteer with the Association of Senior Volunteers 'Seniores Italia'.

The aim of my mission was to support the UNDP e-governance project in Kyrgyzstan. The development of e-government is one of the main priorities for public administration reform. UNDP's democratic governance programme has been very active in this process, providing technical expertise and support to Government and civil society organizations alike to build capacities for better governance at the local and national levels.

The main purpose of my mission was to develop three things: considerations for increasing e-government readiness, design of an interactive web portal for a public agency, and a technical report on the usability of web portals.   
 
For these tasks I had various meetings with managers of the national agency. We discussed designing the necessary strategy to implement an active web portal through which people can communicate with the local and national Government.

Usually, when a person starts a new job initially they have some trouble familiarizing with their surroundings. Instead, in my case, I immediately felt at ease. The team (Programme Manager, Coordinator, Assistant Coordinator and Spanish university volunteer) was friendly, stimulating and interesting.

The work in the office was well organized and I did not find differences with the organization of work in any public or private company of Europe.

One thing that I agreed with very much was the respect for other people. In my previous jobs, sometimes I noticed a critical spirit towards others: employees, coordinators, managers. Instead, in my office, I noticed a peaceful atmosphere and a great respect for the work of all people.

I also appreciated the availability of members of my group to let me know the traditions and customs of Kyrgyzstan’s people.

If I had spoken Russian, I would have been able to have better contacts with nlocal people, for example in the bazaar, and I would certainly have appreciated the traditions of this country better. However I have had the opportunity to know local people that spoke English. In Kyrgyzstan there are very good people who give you smiles and transmit strong emotions.  They are generous people who respect the citizens of other countries.

In Kyrgyzstan, in the same period, there were also other international volunteers who came with UNV, Spanish, Korean and Japanese, with whom I have immediately socialized and shared the values of our mission.

This experience has enriched me and has given me a force to continue with volunteer work to improve services for the community. The same spirit and force that I noticed in people with whom I worked. I met a lot of good people.

Without any doubt, the Kyrgyzstan mission has been a beautiful and interesting experience that I would do again.
UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)