IDEA CA affects its alumni’s skills sets and values - survey reveals

A survey carried out among IDEA CA alumni in March 2019 has revealed the organization’s positive role in enhancing skills set of the youth and enriching their value system.

The survey was carried out among 223 alumni who come from Kyrgyzstan (74.4%), Tajikistan (9.9%) Kazakhstan (9.4%) as well as Russia and Ukraine.

Soft skills taught by IDEA CA

According to the survey results, alumni have acquired a wide range of skills during the workshops organized by IDEA CA.

Public speaking tops the list of skills, with 71.5 percent (103) of respondents saying that they learned this skill during IDEA CA events. Critical thinking is next in the list, with 102 alumni (70.8 % of respondents) stating that they learned critical thinking as a result of IDEA CA workshops. Some 66.6% of respondents (96 people) said they mastered argumentation skills. Next in the list were media skills (44.4 %) and research skills (24%).

It should be noted that according to a similar survey held in 2018 among 50 IDEA CA alumni, critical thinking was the most acquired skill among our alumni. Argumentation skill was the second most acquired skill according to the same survey. Next in the list were cooperation skills, public speaking, civic awareness and advocacy, media skills and research skill. 

How often acquired skills are used?

Some 47.2% (68 persons) or respondents have said they often use skills acquired during IDEA CA events. 31.9% (46 persons) of respondents use these skills very frequently, while 14.6% (21 persons) of the respondents use these skills occasionally.

70.8% of respondent said they facilitate the skills acquired during IDEA CA workshops in their social life, 60.4% use these skills at school or university, 48.6% of respondents use them at work, while 34% of respondents use them in family surroundings.

The usefulness of IDEA CA events were reflected in the February 2018 survey as well where overwhelming majority of respondents said that participation in IDEA-organized workshop was extremely useful for them. Some 41.7% of respondents even reported that their career choices had been influenced by their participation in IDEA CA’s event.


Decision-making is among major soft skills taught by IDEA CA.

80.6% of respondents reported they have a say in decision-making while only 15.3% of respondents said they do not influence decision-making processes at all.

Values taught by IDEA CA

IDEA CA workshops have also affected our alumni’s value system.

Below are the values that respondents stated they support:

Equal opportunity for access to education – 78.5 % of respondents

Gender equality – 63.9% of respondents

Choice for sexual orientation – 50% of respondents

Respect for believers’ feelings – 47.2% of respondents

Ethnic diversity – 47.2% of respondents

The workshops organized by IDEA CA

Majority of survey respondents (42.6%) are the alumni of media camps that taught them tools such as KoboToolbox and other media skills such as gathering and analyzing information. A media camp is a two-week training program that teaches skills in the field of civic journalism (writing texts, video and photo reporting, ethics of journalism).

The International Aitmatov Debate Academy (IADA) was the second most popular IDEA CA event, with 24.1% of respondents attending it. IADA is a seven-day academy that includes sessions on debate and a debate tournament held at the end of the academy. The debate academy was launched in 2012 and has been held since on a regular basis, attracting youth from across Central Asia and other former Soviet countries. The aim of the academy is to teach critical thinking and argumentation skills among youth and to help them become active members of their communities.

The third in popularity is Training of trainers (ToT) program with 16.3% of respondents attending it. ToT is a three-day training program that prepares debaters to become trainers. It is particularly useful for trainers from countries where debate culture is not yet well established. Other IDEA CA projects popular among the respondents were Child and Youth-friendly Kyrgyzstan project, debate and forum-theater, Open Society Debates (televised debates), Seminar on media literacy and debates, Academy of the Ministry of Interior Ministry on violence against women, Demilguluu Jashtar.

The workshops attended by respondents were in Russian (63.2%), Kyrgyz (35.4%), English (1.3), Kazakh and Tajik languages.

The survey held among 50 alumni in February 2018, however, showed that the International Aitmatov Debate Academy (IADA) was the most popular IDEA CA event among respondents and was followed by media camp for the number of participants.

Age of respondents

Majority of respondents (48%) are aged between 17 and 22, the second age group among participants is 12-16 (26), while 22.9% of respondents were aged 23-28.

The age limit of respondents is lower in 2019 compared to the survey held in 2018 when the age of respondents ranged from 16 (1 person) to 32 (1 person).

It should be noted that there is hike in the number of Kyrgyz respondents this year compared to last year’s survey. Only 24 respondents were Kyrgyz in 2018. The rest of the participants came from Tajikistan (10), Kazakhstan (9), Ukraine (3), Russia (3) and even Estonia (1).

Author: Aisha Jabbarova, intern at IDEA CA.