Almaty, Kazakhstan Air Quality 2020


1/21: I decided to apply to the the Global Social Impact Fellows program because I want to help make an impact in the world. Although we are working with specific communities, the success of our individual projects could have various effects. These effects positive effects could spread to other communities with similar challenges and help change their lives too. I am very excited to be part of the community engagement and environmental initiative team going to Kazakhstan because I know we’re going to work on something meaningful and use our intelligence and other skills to create something effective and with our engagement and effort.

1/28: In Kazakhstan one of the most difficult issues to combat air quality is limiting the usage of coal. Coal mining is a big industry and for Almaty many people develop on it. It ties into the cultural aspect because people in Kazakhstan really admire modernization, so their ability to control heating power is something personal. And the fact that people highly depend on cars to commute would also interfere with how their modern culture is. One thing is for sure that the Kazakhstan people will have their own personal views on the air quality and would believe to them it is not that bad. So finding a way to educate them in a formal and respectful manner would help this issue.

At home I don’t really have an issue with my culture and my views. My parents and I were born in Colombia, and they have raised me with the culture they grew up with while also embracing our culture in the U.S and also respecting American culture too.

From what I’ve learned in my group meetings, the people of Kazakhstan have a lot of pride in their land and what their land means to them. So using this cultural meaning to help promote the improvement of air quality could potentially help pour project. The people in Almaty really like seeing their mountain range and having their glaciers protected. They have banned and protested construction of roads through the mountains in order to preserve the glaciers and beauty of the land. So it would be crucial to educate and emphasize the importance of finding a solution to the smog that blocks the view of the mountain ranges. Also to try promote the beauty of Almaty can be preserved by taking better initiatives on air quality control.


  1. What is the main objective of our project? 
  2.  Who are we trying to impact?
  3. Who is most impacted by the issue?
  4. What sector of air quality can we impact?
  5. What impact are we going to have?
  6. What are the externalities of Kazakhstan’s air pollution? 
  7. What are the main pollutants affecting the community?
  8. What side effects do the pollutants have?
  9. How does air pollution impact the rest of the environment in Almaty? Water? Soil? 
  10. How can we use culture to our advantage?
  11. How does outdated technology impact the project and our direction?
  12. What work are people there already doing towards combating the poor air pollution?
  13. What factors into the poor air quality?
  14. What bias are there in the information we receive due to the type of government there is?
  15. How has Kazakhstan attempted to address this issue before?
  16.  How can we show that improved air quality can have a positive impact on the economy? 
  17. How can we adapt to their culture while doing fieldwork? 
  18. Will the government play a part in the solution that we come up with? 
  19. How can we most effectively use our resources?
  20. What are the people in Almaty’s perspective of air quality? 
    1. How aware are people in Almaty about air quality issues?


Our project’s logic model: 

  • Inputs: 
    • Collaboration with people  
    • Developed partnerships 
    • Research 
    • Planning 
    • Outside funding 
  • Outputs 
    • Improved air quality measuring methods
      • Detailed models→ More substantial data 
      • One concern was that the Kazhydromet’s measurements provide an inaccurate conclusion that nitrogen oxide is the only pollutant that should be of concern that is in the Almaty air.  With the help of upgraded air monitoring we hope to improve the quality of information regarding the risks air pollution poses to Almaty residents. Such information is essential for the subsequent efforts to address the air quality problem.
    • Advocate for better air quality (Overall, environmental) education and workshops 
    • Install sustainable heating systems 
    • Improved human health 
      • Example: Improvement of cardiovascular health and a decrease in respiratory diseases
  • Outcomes
    • People that are more educated about the air quality issue
      • More environmentally aware and conscious 
    • Improved quality of life 
      • More outside recreational activities 
        • Being relieved from the worries centered around the health impacts that come with being outside for long periods of time


M & E Model: 

  • Assumptions: 
    • We’re assuming that the people of Almaty
    • Almaty doesn’t need help to fix air quality because they expect the government to do something.


Long Term Goals:

  • Almaty Local Government will use our ideas and published research in some way to assess and improve air quality.
  • People of Almaty will be better informed about pollution and continue taking initiatives.
  • People will avoid high pollution time of day and use nasal strips to reduce inhaling Contaminants
  • For Almaty residents to see their mountains all times
  • Decrease amount of respiratory diseases
  • Behavioral change in which people reduce and limit their carbon footprint 

Short Term Goals:

  • Have published a paper or journal 
  • Have had collaboration with the nonprofit organization 
  • Have a business idea to pitch nasal strips for residents to use 


  1. There are two sides to the project: the prevention side and the side of fixing the side effects. The prevention side includes working with the current companies and government of Almaty, which can be long and extensive. For this reason, we’re choosing to go on the route of cleaning the air as it is. Through our design process, we need to further research the technology behind filter technology. Specifically, after identifying the main pollutants in the air, we will need to conduct further tests on what is the best way to capture them and help clear the air. Possible technology includes a few brands that have created nasal screens that help prevent allergens, pollutants, from entering your lungs. The design is simple, yet sold costly of around $11 per package which includes 7 pairs. Our creation would be to expand on this technology and try to make them reusable since the ones Avalon the market are one time uses for 24 hours. They are expensive and not an accessible product for a population such as Kazakhstan. Through our design process we would need to find effective ways to bring down the cost, yet keep the functionality. To create a product like this we would have to first get our hands on it, and research and test its capabilities. We would need to bring this issue to our engineer peers and professors who can give us feedback and help us. We would need funding to acquire the tools necessary to test the product. 
  2. Most important stakeholders
    1. The citizens of Almaty
      1. All social classes could be positively impacted 
        1. The effects of air pollution are not limited to one type of class. 
      2. 67.98% are Kazakhs, while the remaining are Russian 
      3. Islamic- 70%, Christian- 30%
      4. 55 percent female, 45% male
      5. They value their city- mountains, environment, culture
    2. The state government
      1. Wealthy→ Top of the social class  
      2. As the government, there is an interest in bettering the health of the residents. 
      3. They have the legal power
        1. One of the issues that are causing such poor air quality is the loose regulations. 
          1. The government needs to reinforce more 
      4. The interest in making money
        1. Stimulating the economy of Kazakhstan. ( This depends on the direction we go with our plan/ project 
      5. Connections
        1. The legal power allows them to be connected to other people in power. 
      6. Intelligence through experience 
    3. The NGOs or nonprofit 
      1. Not just focused on the economy 
        1. More concerned about the impact on the common people  of Almaty 
      2. Funding→ Can help with making sure that the money needed to successfully implement a plan is provided. 
      3. Possible connections 
        1. Like one of the SGDs has listed, the collaboration and connections are crucial. 
      4. Power 
        1. Can pressure the government to make sure there is change and that the air quality issues are being addressed 
      5. Influence 
        1. From personal experience, I noticed that communities tend to “trust” NGOs a lot more than organizations and individuals directly connected with the government. 
  3. Validate Project Concept, Technology, Usability, and Business Model
    1. The reactions of the people in Almaty about our idea
      1. Making sure our idea aligns with their values and culture
      2. Having the people accept the issue we are trying to fix and understanding that we want to help
      3. Wanting the people to be accepting of our ideas
    2. If the technology/concept produce effective results in preventing air quality health issues
      1. We need to run tests and to ensure that if we create a product that it does what we need it to. 
        1. If we go with our nose strips idea, making sure that they are filtering out the correct pollutants
        2. If we create public service announcements making sure they are effective and reach the people that need to see them
    3. Usability 
      1. Making sure it is easy for everyone that needs to be using it to use so that the product works correctly or if we have public service announcements; making sure that they are clear and easy to understand and noticeable
      2. Assuring that the technology used is durable and long-lasting. If it is an announcement we must assure they will be up and sustain the weather. 
      3. Instructions must be clear


  1. My friend Ryannn told me about how you biomimicry is an underrated field of study. He said it’s observing nature from microorganisms, to plants, to animals and how humans can recreate those behaviors for our benefit.






Community Engagement and Environment Initiative

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