ABOUT MERCY CORPS:
Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.
Mercy Corps in Kyrgyzstan has one overall ultimate goal to contribute to the strengthening of communities and institutions so they are better able to work together to build healthy, financially stable communities based on civil society principles. In 1994 Mercy Corps became one of the first international non-governmental organizations to work in the newly independent Kyrgyzstan. Today our programs reach more than 500000 people in all major urban and rural communities of the country’s seven regions. Mercy Corps Kyrgyzstan’s current and recent programs focus on food security and nutrition; education; youth and stability; agricultural and economic development; peacebuilding; and emergency response.
Mercy Corps Kyrgyzstan’s flagship program is USDA’s Food for Education is implemented country-wide supporting improved learning environments for children through enhancing school and at-home nutrition, school infrastructure and education policies working towards achieving sustainable school feeding programs. The program has benefited over 1.8 million children in Kyrgyzstan Since 2012, Mercy Corps has provided 1,717 metric tons of supplemental commodities (fortified flour, rice, peas, and oil) to support over 55 million meals in kindergartens and primary schools across the country.
The program was awarded an 18-month cost extension in February 2017. Program activities will continue until June 2018. Mercy Corps has seen that kindergartens and primary schools can continue serving diverse meals without commodity support from the McGovern-Dole program by using funds from the local government and parental contributions. This extension will provide an opportunity to provide a final year of support to the 70 primary schools the program previously supported and an additional 80 primary schools and 80 kindergartens that have not previously received support for their meals programs.
The Food for Education Program activities:
- Provide school meals: provision of supplemental commodities to 230 educational institutions which will be used to provide daily hot-meals to 34,800 children during the 2017-2018 academic year.
- Capacity building for schools, local government, and parents: training on hot meals program management at primary schools, on improving the nutrition of the current meals programs, refresher trainings for cooks and feeding program stakeholders, in-depth cooking and nutrition training provided by specialists from vocational schools, training for parents to improve nutrition practices at home.
- Supporting improved literacy: provision of supplementary reading materials to promote children’s reading, organizing summer reading camps for children to increase attendance and improve learning.
- Improving learning environments: upgrading kitchens in primary schools to enable them to serve hot meals to students, support of the rehabilitation of school buildings which may include window replacement, furniture, latrines, hygiene upgrades and heating system repairs.
- Promote Improved Policy and Regulatory Framework: involving local government at all levels in discussions regarding the school meals program in each oblast for school directors, local education authorities, local sanitation and epidemiological services, and local authorities.
Another project of Mercy Corps funded by LDS builds on the FFE Program and focuses on establishing and strengthening school orchards to help 40 FFE12 primary schools improve food security, nutrition and well-being of children as well as to obtain funds through selling excess fruit not consumed by the students and staff and to purchase supplementary nutritious foods for the school meals programs. The project activities include creation of initiative groups in each school, conducting a series of comprehensive orchard focused trainings for school administrators, parents, local authorities and community members, conducting learning exchange visits to model orchards, providing garden equipment, fruit tree seedlings, and grants to improve irrigation systems and fence repair/construction, improving business and marketing skills of school orchard management teams, strengthening Board of Trustees operation.