SIBELIUs in Kyrgyzstan

The SIBELIUs project has expanded into Kyrgyzstan. The project’s aim is to produce and distribute new and upgraded pasture products, derived from satellite Earth Observation data, to key stakeholders who are supporting the herding communities.

In January 2020 the SIBELIUs Kick-Off meeting was held at Mercy Corps’ central offices, where Uma Kandalaeva, Mercy Corps’ Kyrgyzstan Country Director, gave a warm welcome to the meeting’s participants. The meeting covered several key topics, including an overview by Nick Walker of the project’s aims and an introduction to some of the main technical concepts, including how satellite earth observation can be used to achieve our objectives in Kyrgyzstan and the role and benefits of the Open Data Cube approach.

Another important topic of discussion was where to locate the project’s test sites, which is where interviews will be conducted with local officials, pasture committees and herding households, to better understand their requirements for information relating to pasture. It was agreed that the test sites will be: Jayyl raion in the Chui oblast and the At Bashy raion in the Naryn oblast. However, it is important to note that the SIBELIUs project will collate satellite data and derived products covering the whole of Kyrgyzstan, not just for the test sites.

Team photo during a break at the SIBELIUs project Kick Off meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. From left to right: Mambetova Mahabat Yrysbekovna (Kyrgyzhydromet), Caroline Upton (Leicester University), Bagyshbaeva Botogoz (Bank Kompanion), Nick Walker (eOsphere Limited), Omurzakova Sharipa Aitbaevna (Kyrgyzhydromet), Baitanaeva Irena Anarbekovna (APIU), Alimbekova Nagima Alimbekovna (APIU),  Uma Kandalaeva (Mercy Corps), Mamytbekov Maksatbek Kazakovich (Pasture Department),Isaev Erkin Kubanychevich (Kyrgyzhydromet), Aibek Karabaev (Mercy Corps). logo
The Kyrgyz partners at the KO meeting explained that the wolf which is used in the SIBELIUs logo in Mongolia, is not a suitable image for Kyrgyzstan, because it is not a popular animal, unlike in Mongolia, where it has a totemic and respected status. Some partners suggested that we replace the wolf with a snow leopard, which is Kyrgyzstan’s most iconic animal. However, it was also pointed out that this might cause confusion because there are many conservation projects, which use the snow leopard in their logo. After some discussion the participants agreed that the Kyrgyz taigan hunting dog is very characteristic of the country and is popular and unlikely to cause confusion.
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