EIU in the World
'iz project’ on the Ethnic Immigrant Youth Launched in Kazakhstan
Share their stories on social media as a way of empowering and understanding
Since Kazakhstan gained independence in 1991, around 1.08 million ethnic Kazakhs have migrated to Kazakhstan. The countries of origin of such immigrants include but are not limited to China, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Russia, Iran, Afghanistan.
Led by Ms. Yingkar Bahetnur, a participant and grantee of the 7th Youth Workshop on GCED by APCEIU, a small group of Kazakh youth from different parts of Kazakhstan and beyond launched "iz project" to bring about young ethnic immigrants of Kazakhstan on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. It has a mission to empower the ethnic immigrant youth in Kazakhstan to better integrate into Kazakh society and build understanding among ethnic Kazakh youth from different geographical & cultural backgrounds.
iz project has been functioning since the beginning of October 2021. The content is available in Kazakh & English, and some in Russian. The project has a number of rubrics: video interviews with ethnic immigrant youth, anonymous stories from the immigrants, information on local and foreign practices, personal and professional growth opportunities for youth.
The project team has worked on a voluntary basis, including setting a relevant theme for the month, coming up with several ideas based on research, and fitting them into different rubrics. In addition, the regular activity of every month was to have a video shooting with one or two ethnic immigrant youth. In general, the project team tried to have a variety of informative and insightful publications on their social media accounts.
Highlights of the Activity
One of the most important parts of the project was the video interviews. It is the most time-consuming yet rewarding part. The preparation work includes finding a speaker who fits into the criteria we set for the project and agrees to talk about his/her experience, creating questions that meet the demands of our audience, and agreeing on a time and venue for the video shooting. The best feeling is, after the video publication, to receive a lot of encouragement from the audience, both for the speakers and the project. Meanwhile, the team believed the content of the interview would provide both information and inspiration for the target audience.
After 2.5 months, the project content has reached out to many people with 400+ followers with 20% engagement rate on Instagram and 80+ Youtube subscribers with the viewing history of 600 times and more. It might be difficult to measure the exact impact of social media accounts, as the numbers may not clearly represent the outcomes, and here are some positive feedbacks from our audience.
"As a sociology master student who would like to dig down into social integration of immigrants, I'm very happy that iz project was launched in Kazakhstan, in which Yingkar and her team provide informative resources for immigrants and share their stories. I really like the project being launched in both Kazakh and English. The project's idea, name, and logo reflect that all the details of the project are very thoughtful."
"Students of Nazarbayev University launched a project that is about ethnic immigrants in Kazakhstan. I really like the idea and mission of the project, and the team is doing a great job. Please share with more people!"
As the project lead, Ms. Yingkar Bahetnur felt that she had a steep learning curve. Initially, it was very difficult - conceptualization of the project, formation of the project team, and many areas of social media that she was not unaware of. But fortunately, she received support and resources from many people: 7th Youth Leadership Workshop by UNESCO APCEIU made her realize the importance of media and information literacy in both creating and viewing online contents; mentoring by Me.reka helped her better define the project's scope and stakeholders; mentoring by Aisana Ashim (a Kazakhstani female influencer with 3 big social media projects running at the moment) during Women Mentorship Program provided her with the most up-to-date media situation in Kazakhstan and different strategies to sustain the project; and so on.
As project proceeded, she felt more relaxed as her team was working hard and learning a lot. The audiences are very encouraging and showing their interest. More and more people are aware of the project and having their contribution to the project – suggesting some ideas, engaging in the project’s online interactions, and telling their own stories. Meanwhile, the team won another grant from Nazarbayev University Social Development Fund during the Jas Impact competition – which definitely plays a crucial role in the project's sustainability throughout the year.
In 2022, the team plans to include new rubrics into the content and reach out to more people who belong to our target audiences.
Part of Project Video