Final aitysh contest revealed new names of talented akyns

On August 13 Saturday evening, at a full Yntymak-2 park, a great concert show - the Bilim Aitysh akyn improvisers contest took place in performance skills and the ability to communicate the important message of media literacy to a wide audience. 


Over the past six months, 21 akyns have participated in practical trainings and thematic lectures. They have completed 8 media literacy assignments over a period of 14 weeks and their videos were posted on social media.


- Cooperation with akyns is one of this year's best projects, - said Elina Karakulova, Director of Internews in KR.

Akyns are improvisatory poets, an important part of our country's cultural code, the voice of the people, a traditional link between society and power. Since ancient times, akyns have played the role of the modern press and through skillful versification and melody have conveyed to the rulers the aspirations of ordinary people. It is very symbolic that the akyns are now rehashing and delivering the findings of major anti-corruption investigations (Bolot Temirov and Bolot Nazarov), talking about what disinformation is and teaching how to defend against cyberbullying and fake news in their own lyrical language.


We started with teaching the akyns to media literacy, critical thinking, social media, SMM strategies, helped with the technical part of content creation and then upon the request to more in-depth study of Kyrgyz history, Kyrgyz philosophy and culture. Enlighteners need to be enlightened too. That's the way it should be, it's the right way to go. And in this we were helped by Melis Murataliev, Tugolbai Kazakov, Emil Umetaliev, Armen Kasenov, Maksuda Aitieva, Ibragim Hasan-akhunov, Asel Sooronbaeva and Ismail Karypov.

Karakulova noted that next was the launch of the @BilimAitysh media literacy project in social media (subscribe if you are not with us yet!). Each week, a group of 21 akyns were asked to create their own content on a given media literacy topic, the best works were selected by a special panel and the finalists were decided by an audience vote on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.


Media literacy tasks for akyns are created based on examples from national folklore and the Manas epic. And talented MediaKitchen under the leadership of Azim Asimov helped in this, the lessons are voiced by the magnificent Urmat Borchenov.


More photos can be found on our page here.


The jury consisted of well-known cultural figures and experts:


Tugolbai Kazakov – People's Artist of the Kyrgyz Republic, composer;

Melis Murataliev – President of Bakdoolot Public Foundation, scholar in Kyrgyz studies;

Asel Sooronbayeva – media expert, media literacy coach;

Ulanbek Turdaliev – linguist, expert on Aitysh;

Ayman Kasenov - methodologist, change management expert.


Top event 19 participants were awarded certificates and a prize of 15 thousand soms.


Third place and a prize of 45,000 soms went to Bayan Akmatov.


Second place and a prize of 65,000 soms went to Jyldyzbek Torokanov.


First place and a prize of 85,000 soms went to Kutman Sadybakasov.


The Ak Tandai Public Foundation, which supports the creativity of akyns and organises the Altyn Komuz prize competition, separately evaluated the participants of the competition. 


The Altyn Komuz prize went to Zhyldyzbek Torokanov.



A committee headed by philanthropist Niyazbek Aibashov, Doctor of Historical Sciences and researcher of Kyrgyz folklore Suleiman Kayypov and Honored Artist of Kyrgyzstan, People's Poet of Kyrgyzstan Azamat Bolgonbaev awarded the Golden Comuz Prize to Zhyldyzbek Torokanov.


A media literacy campaign through akyns-improvisers is implemented by the Media-K Project of Internews in Kyrgyzstan with the support of USAID and FHI360.