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The project “REVIVAL OF TRADITIONAL PRACTICES FOR THE USE OF PASTURES” is implemented by the National pasture users’ Association of Kyrgyzstan “Kyrgyz Jayity” and supported by the Christensen Fund in Central Asia.
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INTRODUCTION

Natural resources, especially pastures, played a crucial role in the economic, cultural and spiritual life of the Kyrgyz population. Pastures became a platform for exchanging information, cultural values and experience, as well as enriching the cultural life and municipal technologies. Intergenerational transmission of traditions, customs and superstitions today has established rich ethnic cultural complex. The Kyrgyz were traditionally nomads involved in raising livestock. They had knowledge of how to live in harmony with nature without bringing harm to pastures. The traditional knowledge and skills passed from generation to generation to preserve natural resources were a source for the people and their life. The Kyrgyz developed a special philosophy of nomadic life of pastoralists based on the knowledge of effective life in harmony with nature; they also gathered various traditions for the careful use of pastures as the main resource of the community life.

Having studied the whole rich experience of our ancestors, having examined its value and relevance in the conditions of present days, we initiated revival of the traditional experience in ongoing management of pastures within the framework of the project.

The project goal will be achieved through gathering of traditional knowledge, analysis, discussion with aksakals, representatives of the local community, traditional people. Measures to preserve the traditional knowledge will be taken through dissemination of the gathered information, implementation of joint management of pastures, and development of modern plans.

The project was implemented in three pilot villages, which had been selected according to the community’s interests, capacity to ensure implementation of the activities and availability of the community's traditional knowledge. Thus, the following pilot villages were selected: Zherge -Tal (Naryn oblast, Naryn district), Lipenka (Issyk-Kul oblast, Zheti-Oguz district), Bel-Aldy (Jalal-Abad oblast, Toktogul district).

The main tasks of the project may be underlined throughout its implementation process.  Discussions and suggestions important to the present pasture users also interested the older generation and became the framework of the project implementation. First of all, it is necessary to highlight the careful approach to nature, as the basis of the nomadic life image, and the long-term traditional system of its use. The number of traditional knowledge holders is decreasing each day, and the younger generations is losing the opportunity to obtain, preserve and use the unique knowledge that is simple and effective both at methodological and practical levels. From the beginning to the end of the project, the ethnic marker of the Kyrgyz is underlined - pastoralism, time-proven effective traditional practical knowledge regarding environment and farming, ancient traditional care of plants. Beyond this, traditions and specificity relating to the seasonal livestock pasturing cycle have become the main topic for discussions in pilot area.

Physical education and moral development of young pasture users, role of traditions in development of poetic and cultural norms, national clothes, kitchen and the liaison of the latters with conditions of nomadic life in mountains have also become a cause of common interest.              

Pastures are hence the main resource. The cultural and productive life of the nomads is developed around it. The economic, ecological and cultural aspects of the traditional knowledge have been investigated within the framework of the project. It is very important for us to use the wisdom of our ancestors today. The old methods of use of water and land resources should appear as one of the directions of land and water management policy of our country. It is necessary to gather traditional knowledge and generalize methods, adapt it to the modern conditions and pass on to the future generation, which in turn should be proud of the cultural heritage and traditional knowledge of their ancestors and appreciate it. In order to achieve effective and ongoing use of pastures without losing its quality and productivity we need to use the traditional knowledge.

      

ASSESSMENT OF QUALITY, VALUE OF PASTURES THROUGH APPLICATION OF TRADITIONAL NATIONAL PRACTICE, MEASURES FOR ENHANCEMENT 

The quality and value of pastures are very important in pastoralism, since the growth and reproduction of livestock depends on the quality of meadows. The higher the quality of grass of meadows, the faster the livestock gains weight. It is well known among cattlemen that feeding livestock with grass of high quality decreases morbidity, positively affects in recovery of sick livestock and gaining weight. Products derived from such animals are of high quality. Therefore, cattlemen are always interested in quality and value of pastures. In order to enhance the condition of pastures, appropriate activities were done in this direction.

Many aspects of safety, health and growth of livestock, as well as convenient conditions for cattlemen and quality of herbs are considered in the process of assessment of the pastures value.

It is necessary to count all the aspects influencing livestock and life of cattlemen to determine the value of pastures. There were also considered the following: surface of meadows, existence of boulders and stones, species of wild animals living there, amount of rivers and springs, existence of harmful and poisonous herbs, and local climate.

Assessment of quality of herbs on pastures. To assess the quality of grass on pastures the following aspects are considered: variety of herbs on meadows, density, height, taste and ripeness of grass. The following conditions are taken into account: a) grass variety, b) herbs density, c) herbs height, d) herbs maturity, e) herbs taste, g) herbs succulence.

Herbs species was determined and, based on this, the assessment was conducted. A name was given to a species prevailing in amount. For example, feather grass, barley, clover, etc. In case if more than one species prevailed there, all the prevailing species also would be mentioned in the title. For example, feather grass mixed with barley. Pastures with variety of herbs species are called mixed or blended fodder. The following variety of herbs in meadows is well known among cattlemen: snowdrop, clover, ak sokto, chatyrash, feather grass, esparto grass, palm plant, northern aconite, woodpecker plant, zizifora odorous, jeera, artemisia, mountain onion, plantain, rhubarb root, wild safflower, sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua), tea odorous, horse sorrel, poisonous plumbum , peganum, type of feather grass , targyl, bulbous bluegrass.

The density of grass in pastures may be medium and rare. The density of grass is high, when the herbs grow very close to each other and the soil is not visible. In this case, the pasture surface looks equally green. The density of grass is medium, when the herbs grow in distance from one another; the soil is partially grey and bare. In pastures with rare grass density, the plants grow from one another at a distance of 1-2 steps. Such pastures lack feed for livestock and seem gray from afar.   

According to height the plants are classified into: low, medium (knee deep), high (waist deep) and the highest (as high as a man). The degree of ripeness of a plant was determined by picking it and then monitoring. If the plant quickly turned black, it would mean it was not yet ripe; such a grass was called black grass. If, when picking the plant, it tore at the place where it was held, it would mean that it was not yet ripe, but if it was easy to pull out with the root, it would mean that it was ripe. At the same time, if the plant was easy to pull out with the root, it would mean that the soil was still wet and the plant was not fixed well. These pastures are not appropriate for grazing livestock as there is a chance to spoil the pasture.

The taste, sourness, juiciness of the grass was also determined. To assess these qualities, the grass was torn in half and chewed after cleaning. We examined taste to determine whether the grass had acquired a proper taste and sourness. The juiciness was checked in the following way. The grass was crumpled in the hand. If there was a juice, the grass would be considered very juicy. As it was known, too juicy grass could cause scour.

      

The following conditions were taken into account in assessment of the value of pasture:

1. The pasture evenness (existence of stones, boulders, pits, etc.)

2. Existence of poisonous plants on the pasture

3. Existence of harmful plants on the pasture

4. Existence of poisonous animals on the pasture

5. Existence of predatory animals on pasture

6. Existence of rivers and springs on pasture

7. Weather conditions on pasture

a) Changes in temperature during the year

b) The wind direction

c) Precipitation schedule.

The quality of the pastures was assessed as even, not even, stony and lumpy. If the surface of the pasture was flat, without stones, boulders and pits, and the grass on it was of one height, then this pasture would be determined as even.

A sufficient amount of water in the pasture is an important factor. According to this, the existence of springs and rivers meant that the pasture was water-rich. There is no need to drive the cattle to a watering place on water-rich pastures; the livestock is able to quench its thirst here. And in pastures with a water deficiency the cattle should be driven to a watering place once a day.

Poisonous grass growing on pastures caused the danger of poisoning animals. Therefore, the value of pastures with a lot of poisonous plants was sharply reduced. In some cases, it was forbidden to graze cattle there, as the poisonous plants ripened and reached a peak of poisonousness. For example, in summer after precipitation, when the weather became cool, the cattle were not grazed in places where poisonous culture (=Pb) was growing. Harmful plants also reduced the value of pastures. The cattlemen were well aware that prickly plants, causing damage to skin, wool, lips and eyes of animals cause great damage.

The existence of various wild animals on pastures also influenced value. Pastures with poisonous animals were considered dangerous. It is well known that the bites of poisonous snakes, steppe spiders and wasps cause death of livestock. Therefore, the cattle were not grazed in places with great number of poisonous animals. Of particular importance was also the existence of predatory animals on pastures. Frequent attacks of wolves, hyenas, foxes caused great losses to pastoralists and caused unnecessary trouble.

Vagaries of climate were important for the pastoralists. Since the vagaries of climate in some extent affect the quality of the grass, satiation and weight gain of livestock. In some cases, satiation of animals reduced because of sudden weather changes, and it brought a lot of trouble to cattlemen. For example, during the rain yellowed feather grass became exceedingly slippery, and the livestock, frightened by thunder, fell down from the mountain slipping on it, and it caused wounds and death of animals. If the rain went continuously for several days, sheep would not graze properly and it would cause weight loss. In some cases, cattle is damaged by lightning which leads to their death. Cattlemen were aware of yearly repeated weather changes, and they carefully prepared for it. They could determine the impending weather changes by using knowledge of stars and the moon, the behavior of animals. In ancient times people knew how to forecast the weather with stars and the moon; they invented special calendars to monitor possible weather changes in the coming year.

Measures to improve the conditions of pastures. Well-being of livestock, reproduction and raising of cattle, and the way of living of pastoralists depends directly on the condition of pastures. Therefore, in order to provide future prosperity the measures to improve the condition of pastures are made by keeping them clean and increasing their productivity. The following activities were carried out to enhance the conditions of pastures:

1. Frequent rotation of pastures.

2. Collection and casting seeds of plants on pastures.

3. Watering the pastures.

4. Cleaning pastures (removal stones and debris).

5. Measures against poisonous plants.

6. Measures against harmful plants.

7. Measures against poisonous animals.

8. Measures against predatory animals.

9. Purification of water sources.

10. Cultivation of waste ground.

11. Repair of roads.

According to a season, weather and location cattlemen divided the pastures into winter, spring, summer and autumn pastures. During the using period of each pasture, the conditions of the land were taken into account, and after the cattlemen moved to another pasture. The change of the resettlement mainly depended on the yield of plants. The resettlement moved from one end of the pasture as the grass ripened. By this, they prevented trampling the grass and blackening of soil by livestock manure.

The seeds of the harvested grasses were casted in late autumn mostly after the rains. In some cases, the seeds were dried and casted in early spring. It was also not allowed to graze cattle in windy valleys, on the slopes of low mountains and hillsides, where fodder grass grew. These measures allowed grass ripeness and seed dispersal by winds.

Precipitations, rivers and springs influenced humidity of pastures and quality of grass. Droughts caused poor quality of grass. A need for irrigation appeared in many pastures due to lack of precipitations. To irrigate the whole pasture, the water from springs was duly directed.

From the ancient times, the Kyrgyz people have been paying special attention to the cleanliness of pastures. Before leaving the nomad, people cleaned the place of garbage and unnecessary things. Old and unnecessary things were burned in fire, ashes were poured out into wastelands and showered with the words "The pastures to be rich, and the world will not end". The place where the cattle slept was always cleaned from manure, and to prevent land blackening cattlemen often changed those places. Special attention was paid to the general cleanliness of the pastures. For example, people massed stones, filled pits, flattened small hills. All this measures created good conditions for better growth of grass and grazing. There were both fodder grass and poisonous/harmful grass on pastures. Cattlemen were aware of such poisonous plants as poisonous plumbum, henbane, peganum, thousand-leaf (Achillea millefolium), yellow acacia, astragalus  sieversianus, thorn, hellebore, ferula alpine. Among harmful plants: common ephedra, barb, canada thistle, sandthorn, kunzha, trigonella, etc. In general, the poisonous harmful plants were eradicated naturally when cattlemen grazed sheep. Aksakals shared knowledge about poisonous herbs by showing it to youth, as well as taught them on how to eradicate it. At the same time, some poisonous herbs, which grew in distance from pastures, were not eradicated due to medicinal properties.

Young or hungry animals were more likely vulnerable to poisonous grass. Therefore, such animals were not allowed to graze on pastures with poisonous grass in the morning. Harmful plants injured mouths and eyes of animals, clung to wool, skin and hooves, thereby causing great harm. There were many cases when animals suffered from sores on skin, and especially in mouth and around eyes, many of them began to limp. Thorns attached to wool and skin of animals reduced its quality, it also affects secondary processing. Therefore, to clean the pastures harmful plants were pulled out and bushes were cut in early spring. Pastures with a large number of harmful plants were useless for grazing cattle, especially sheep.

Poisonous animals are also well known by cattlemen. Most of all, the following poisonous animals exist on pastures: black-and-white snake, steppe spider, wild wasps. These animals sting the cattle, cause significant damage. A timely help should be delivered to a stung animal, since without the necessary care the animal may die.

Existence of predatory animals on pastures is dangerous both for cattle and humans. There have been many cases when predators attacked livestock and killed entire herd. In some cases, howl of predators caused anxiety and weight reduce of livestock. Cases of attacks of predators on people are also known. The cattlemen constantly monitored pastures and the distance between cattle and predators. The number of predators timely decreased in reasonable limits due to hunting.

Water on pastures is of high importance, because livestock needs timely watering each day. In addition, it is known that in pastures with a large number of sources the land is wet, and as a result the grass is dense and high, which is very important for satiation of livestock. The Kyrgyz people have always considered sources as sacred places and have kept the sources clean all the time. The Kyrgyz usually say "pure as a spring", "a crystal spring". Livestock was not allowed trample the springs. People dug irrigation canals for livestock near the spring.

Dry places on pastures were considered as a bad sign. Restoration of such places was carried out immediately. After studying the cause of drought, the cattlemen watered the dry area and filled it with humus and ash.  The dry area was raked and seeded after rains.

Roads and their conditions were very important for nomads. To this day, roads built through high and abrupt passes have been untouched by time. Roads on pastures were constantly maintained by pastoralists and, if necessary, were repaired.  

The use of traditional knowledge in practice. To rebuild devastated pastures and introduce careful use of pastures, the National Association "Kyrgyz Jayity" under the leadership of its director general, Abdimalik Abdykaarovich Egemberdiev, conducts activities based on traditional practices in pilot households. Based on traditional practices, it is necessary to take into account the ways of the use of pastures in accordance with the current season, weather conditions and timely relocation. In this regard, representatives of the National Association "Kyrgyz Jayity" conducted training sessions, regular discussions with local pasture committees. Such meetings with local residents were conducted in the early spring in the aiyl okmotu Zherge-Tal in Naryn region, aiyl okmotu Bel-Aldy in Toktogul district and aiyl okmotu Lipenka in Jeti-Oguz district.  Pasture users asked many questions during the trainings, some traditional methods of pasture use arouse contentious discussions. During the discussions, some forgotten methods revealed, important remarks were made regarding their meanings. Also, it was noted that traditional methods bring no harm to the environment and everything should be done in harmony with nature. During the conversation with pasture users, many participants agreed that it is possible to restore spoiled pastures using traditional methods, but local aksakals noted with regret that these methods have not been used lately. After the local trainings, the Lipenka ayil okmotu was one of the first to act, having fenced a part of the Kok-Zhaiyk pasture from grazing. We witnessed the effectiveness of traditional methods. We were pleased by the fact that common activities were conducted in other trained aiyl okmotus as well. At the moment some districts with devastated pastures are determined, as well as traditional methods are selected to be conducted and various activities are scheduled. Along with it, activities to restore national traditions relating pastures are conducted in the pilot aiyl okmotus. Activities on detection of pastures ripening and management of relocation on jailoos bring positive results. Once a pasture had been considered ripened by experienced aksakals the pasture was ready for careful use. Festive events liaised with resettlement put people in to good mood, united and inspired them.

Organizational activities were back on track with support of the National Association "Kyrgyz Jayity”. As an example, The Zherge-Tal aiyl okmotu in Naryn district successfully revealed the fact that 18,000 hectares of pastures have not being used in Ak-Sai last years. This problem was solved under the initiative of the Association's staff.  This area was fenced after the relocation of livestock to distant pastures, and the area had already begun to recover. As reported by the local pasture users, due to lack of pastures in the Bel-Aldy aiyl okmotu in Toktogul district, the pastures began to be misused. To consider the appellations, 5000 hectares of pastures in Panfilov district were transferred for temporary use by Abdimalik Abdykaarovich. Resolving of this issue gave an opportunity to restore the devastated pastures. At the moment, the pasture has been successfully restored. Such successes approves effectiveness of the use of traditional methods in pasture management.

      

IDEA OF THE PROJECT.

Gulnara Botokanova (expert in traditional sciences, holds a doctorate in philosophy, Professor of the Kyrgyz National Agricultural Academy): "Within the framework of the project “Revival of traditional practices for the use of pastures”, the Association “Kyrgyz Jaiyti” has made a very important and great step towards preserving the variety of bio-culture of Kyrgyzstan. It is well known that nature, especially pastures, play efficient social, cultural and spiritual role in the life in life of the Kyrgyz people. Proper use and planning of extensive pasture resources is very important for nomadic Kyrgyz. Careful use of pastures is very actual nowadays; therefore it is very important to use effective traditional knowledge and experience of Kyrgyz people in the field of ecology. I would like to wish the team of the project not to stop on the success achieved.  It is necessary to continue research on traditional practices, introducing traditional practices among pasture users in practice, involving youth in activities of the project, as well as to widen the sphere of introduction of this knowledge. Good luck in your future activities!"

Ruslan Salykov (expert in traditional science, Doctor of Veterinary Sciences, professor of the Kyrgyz-Turkish University "Manas"): “I was glad to participate in this project as an expert of traditional knowledge, since I had been interested in this issue and effective and qualitative management of pastures of our ancestors, their nomadic life and natural causes. Within the framework of the project we conducted discussions in pilot villages on such topics as traditional determination and weather forecasting, adaptation to its rapid changes, pasture resettlements, planning and arrangement of cargo, identifying herbs and poisonous plants, and many other similar topics. We also organized series of seminars for local residents. I was very impressed by the fact that during the training the local communities actively participated in the discussions, the aksakals willingly shared their knowledge and told about forgotten practices. I believe that we have a little time left to preserve this knowledge, and we should take the opportunity to study and record it. I hope that in the future we will continue this project. I believe that over time the relevance and effectiveness of these traditional knowledge and methods will only increase.”

Almazbek Omurov (Zherge-Tal pasture users union): "We are very pleased to take part in the project aimed at revival of traditional practices, since this topic is very important and actual for us, many of our aksakals said that only traditional methods and knowledge were effective in planning and management of pastures. But the younger generation does not take this fact into account, our traditions and habits are not used in everyday life because of dynamism and modern views. In the very beginning of the project, I have conducted discussions with young pastoralists on careful treatment of nature; I noticed the changes in views of our society. Our people have begun to change their opinion about traditional practices and knowledge. I’m glad that people began to pay more attention to nature, and it means that the environmental behavior of our society has enhanced. The treatment of natural resources has changed. I believe, traditional practices and knowledge are of great importance in everyday life of pasture users."

Madambekov Taalai (Chairman of the Lipenka Pasture Committee of pasture users): "Public action in our village strengthened under support of this project, fellow-villagers appreciated traditional practices in modern planning and pasture management. As a result, they came to the conclusion that rational use of natural resources helped avoid misunderstandings. It must be noted that the residents of the Lipenka village began to understand the importance and relevance of traditional methods in the careful use of pastures, more than that, they began to discuss the necessity of awareness-raising about traditional methods in modern conditions. I have noticed the growing interest of communities in studying traditional methods. We are now ready to continue training of young people in order to widen introduction of the methods in everyday life".

Satkynbek Zhamankulov (Zherge -Tal, resident of the Zhalgyz Terek village): «With the Soviet Union collapse, many industries collapsed including pasture industry. At the initiative of village residents, we created a Council of Aksakals, composed of aksakals, women representatives and respectable men. It helped us improve many sectors playing an important role in social sphere of the village; we also used an opportunity to exchange experience with residents of other villages. As we can see in this practice, the aksakals significantly influence on solving of many big problems, improving people's lives, and putting an end to disputes. This project united our aksakals and the protectors of traditional practices in order to use their knowledge to improve the situation in the village, and, most importantly, we noticed the opportunity to interest the youth. We are very satisfied with the project activity and hope that it will be prolonged. We, in turn, express our readiness to participate again".

Asanbaev Zhumakadyr (Chairman of the Lipenka village "Pasture Council", custodian of traditional practices, active public figure): "Aksakals of our village have played a very important role in this project. At the moment they are deeply involved in pastoral committee activities, sharing their knowledge and heeding our calls in implementation of traditional knowledge and methods. We are glad that our experience is used in everyday life. To date, no one migrates from and to our pastures, as it was before, without prior approval from the Pasture Council. Residents of the village began to understand the need for respect of pastures, the importance of traditional practices in pasture management, the effectiveness and relevance of traditional practices. Pastures are the legacy of our ancestors, and it is our duty to pass them to the future generation, our children and grandchildren without changes".

Isaev Azhygul (resident of the Zherge –Tal village, member of the “Pasture Council”): "In my opinion, this project is characterized in that its interesting activities, such as holidays and public events, gave our youth an opportunity to witness first-hand the traditions and customs of their ancestors in the use and management of pastures. The events were conducted in a very fun and interesting atmosphere, also were accompanied by various dishes tasting, as well as games and entertainment. My family and friends often recall this event and gladly tell about it to their children. In the future, we plan to introduce these traditional practices both in our and neighboring villages".

Erkinbaev Asanbek (member of the "Pasture Council" in Zherge-Tal village, custodian of traditional practices, active public figure): "Many thanks to the project team, which has organized such a wonderful event. I have not been in this pasture for 40 years, and I did not even hope that I would ever come back here. I am very happy and excited a little today, because in my youth I grazed cattle here, and for many years I had not have an opportunity to visit these places. For the rest of my life I will be telling my grandchildren that within the project, I was able to see the beauty of our country again. The project encouraged me and today I'm glad to share my little secrets and give teachings to young cattlemen. In my opinion, it is very important for today due to arising necessity. I believe my knowledge in determination of weather conditions will be useful".

Zhumabekova Sheker (chairman of the Zherge -Tal aiyl okmotu): " We were very glad to meet representatives of the “Kyrgyz Jayity” and hear about the upcoming project. We have immediately supported the idea of introduction of practices in direct management of pastures. Such an idea existed in our plans, but we did not know how to implement it. Due to absence of an exact plan we did not how to start. With the beginning of the project, changes appeared in our village. I would like to note some examples of review of values ​​in the society. We supported the “Pasture Council” and provided it status of an aksakal institution in common solution. Their suggestions now form the basis of plans for pasture use, monitoring, planning and management, and improving the condition of pastures. For example, our pastoralists solved their question of resettlement to the Ak-Sai pasture by a majority of votes (total area of 18 thousand hectares). It will give a great opportunity to restore pastures around the village."

Zhayylov Taalai ( chairman of the Bel-Aldy village aiyl okmotu): "I have always respected our traditions and customs, but never thought that they have a very strong influence on the welfare of the Kyrgyz people and the life of society.  This issue and many other questions were determined during the trainings within the framework of this project. We have made analysis of relevance and effectiveness of forgotten practices in modern conditions and in up-to-date life of pasture users. With support of the project, residents of our village have correctly accepted and understood the importance of traditional pasture use and have made their own conclusions. I will certainly not be mistaken if I say that they have understood high efficiency of these methods. I am glad to admit the fact that our youth is ready to preserve and apply in practice our traditions and customs. It is also pleasant to me that there are people who preserve and remember our traditions, interested specialists who seek ways to preserve traditional methods and transfer it to the next generation. I am joyful that such projects exist. "

Ibraev Baken (member of the "Pasture Council" of the Bel- Aldy village, custodian of traditional practices, active public figure): "From the ancient times, pastures have been the basis of life of rural people. I was very excited to meet specialists of the "Kyrgyz Jayity" and custodians of traditional practices. It inspired us to participate in establishment of the" Pasture Council" together with local aksakals. Resolutions of the Council are of high importance for us, and implemented by the pasture committee with respect. For example, The first since decision of the "Pasture Council" was to declare a moratorium on grazing cattle on the Bor- Teke pasture, since 2018, at the same time the pasture committee together with local authorities found out means to get an access to the Suusamyr distant pasture (5000 hectares). According to the decision of the "Pasture Council", activities to keep the pastures clean and apply traditional practices are conducted among the community."

Toktogaraeva Tazhikan (the Bel - Aldy village, custodian of traditional practices, member of a pastoralist family): "As for me, this project is very important and unique, since I have been grazing cattle from my childhood, I know many traditions and customs used by our ancestors and may share it. Unfortunately, our society is not interested in it currently, these topics are not discussed, and I did not even know whom to share it with. A unique opportunity has appeared to share my knowledge with youth, help them adapt it to the modern conditions according to this project. Therefore, I am glad to share my knowledge until I have such opportunity. I have always been proud of the way our ancestors used pastures, considered specifics of seasonal growth of grass, restored pastures, and, taking into account all these factors, they had no need in stocking fodder for winter."

Sapisheva Zhazdookan (the Bel - Aldy village, custodian of traditional practices): "I was inspired by ideas of the "Merry grandmothers" project team and experts. We initiated trainings for young women on skills regarding traditions and customs. The "Merry grandmothers" project, first, was engaged only in art. Now it also conducts trainings for youth on traditional knowledge used by our ancestors in everyday cultural life, seminars for young women on cooking traditional dishes of nomads, as well as educational conversations on necessary methods in social and cultural relations. These trainings conducted by experts of the project were very interesting for us. We found out that many issues were forgotten, but this knowledge still has not lost its relevance."

Tashpolotov Zhamshitbek (member of the "Pasture Council", resident of the Bel- Aldy village, farmer, and active public figure): "Experience exchange, meetings, discussions, round tables dedicated to traditional methods within framework of this project brought benefit to local community, having created good mood and inspired them. It also significantly affected restoration and development of traditional practices. To rebuild traditional knowledge among youth a decision to annually conduct holidays for pastoralists and meetings for pasture users was adopted and supported by the "Pasture Council" and local authorities. In 2018 the "Bork-Teke" pasture was selected as a place to organize a holiday for pastoralists. The event was aimed at restoration of forgotten traditions and customs, activation of the culture of nomadic people and widening among local youth. “Life of our ancestors on summer pastures was just as a holiday. It is necessary to rebuild effective traditions of pasture use through conduct of cultural and social events” - our aksakals say."

Encouraged by the ideas and activities carried out within the framework of the project, a participant of the project, Erkinbaev Asanbek, wrote a poem "To be a Kyrgyz» and presented it to the participants:

The project extension proposal. Aiming at wide investigation of the ways to use pastures traditionally in Kyrgyzstan, within the framework of the project we are planning ongoing activities to spread exchange and results obtained on the basis of this project in pilot villages. According to traditional methods, we suggest to underline activities on pre-phase: planning and forecasting different aspects to minimize risks and accidents caused by climate change. More than that, to implement these goals, during the next two years we plan to involve youth through training them on traditional methods and preservation of ancient traditions, which are the basis of bio-cultural diversity.

Respectfully,

The director general of the Association "Kyrgyz Jayity",

Project coordinator, A.Egemberdiev