November 15, 2003


In addition to Counterpart International (see below), I found another organization doing NGO development work in Uz. IREX has been a leader in international exchange for nearly 40 years. Their current programs in Uz are quite extensive, including university exchanges for Uzbek students to attend American universities, internships for Uzbek business leaders in American firms, building up internet resources and training for professionals, setting up public advocacy groups as well as beefing up the legal environment for NGO’s to operate...just to name a few.

I get excited when I find dedicated people doing things that need doing in the world to make it, if not a happier, then at least a more manageable place. It certainly helps to counter some things that we do wrong.

9 Weeks 'Til Uzbekistan!!!

Nervous anticipation has quietly turned into conscientious preparation for my January 15th departure. I feel quite comfortable now, relaxed and as prepared as I could ever be for life in Uz. After all the advice and support from people in virtually every corner of the world, including my family and friends, I feel ready.

My last assignment for Peace Corps prior to departure is to write a statement of goals and expectations. It is suppose to reflect my motivation to commit to a two year assignment and will help the Peace Corps staff assess my expectations of service. I intend to focus on my assignment as an NGO Development volunteer. After reading the announcement, as well as the description of my assignment, I felt that the goals were noble but lofty, and seemed nebulous at first glance. So I’ve been doing some research on organizations that specialize in this line of work and came across Counterpart International. They have been leaders in the area of helping to build civil societies in newly independent nations for almost 40 years. I really admire their work because they train and build up the local capacity of the community to run their own organizations, rather than sending foreign “experts” to advise on the what, how, and when, of the communities’ needs. They do partner with the Peace Corps and I hope I will cross paths with them during my assignment.

So I’m quite at peace now and sleeping regularly (finally), coasting my way into the holidays…

November 13, 2003


I received this announcement from the World Bank’s Knowledge Management Office for Uzbekistan:

US Peace Corps is launching a new NGO Development Program in Uzbekistan.

The overarching purpose of the NGO Development Program is to provide technical assistance to local NGOs throughout Uzbekistan in order to increase the quality and effectiveness of NGO services, in the areas of health, education, youth development, environment, water and sanitation, human rights and small business advising, to name a few. By increasing the effectiveness of NGO services, individuals, communities and the larger population of Uzbekistan will have more opportunities to increase their personal and financial well being and live a more economically secure and healthy lifestyle. For more information, please contact:

Akmal Rustamov, NGO Development Program Manager, US Peace Corps/Uzbekistan Tel/Fax: 1207390, 1207392
E-mail: arustamov@uz.peacecorps.gov

Note: This was announced last week, and the program is also being developed for Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic as well.

November 12, 2003


I emailed all of my family and friends today, to update snail mail addresses. It amazes me how much we rely on electronic devices that we’ve lost the art of letter writing, sending thank you notes, birthday cards, etc.

Well, since internet service might be sketchy in Uz, we will have to start licking stamps again to stay in touch. So if you’d like to receive mail from "the-middle-of-now-where-is-it-stan" PLEASE give me your home address, and your birthday, too, while you’re at it.

My address in Uz for the first three months from Jan. 15 - April 15 will be:

Uzbekistan, 700015 Tashkent
4 Turkestanskaya Street
c/o "Halqaro Pochtamt"

The mail takes 3-6 weeks, so if you're inclined to stick a postcard or letter in the post now, I will be delighted to receive it when I get to Tashkent ;D

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