WFP is working around the clock to maintain food assistance programmes in Kyrgyzstan while monitoring the socioeconomic situation across the country.
Together with the Ministry of Labour and Social Development (MLSD), WFP has launched joint food distribution to the country’s most poor and vulnerable people. In support of government-led food assistance, WFP and MLSD use their extensive project network in 300 sub-districts across the country to coordinate the rapid distribution of fortified wheat flour and vitamin-rich vegetable oil.
In April and May, WFP and the Ministry of Labour and Social Development delivered over 2,000 tons of food assistance through their joint programmes to the poorest and vulnerable families in the Naryn, Talas, Batken, Osh and Jalal-Abad provinces.
Approximately 60,500 people in total received three-month food rations of fortified wheat flour and vegetable oil — 150kg of wheat and 15 litres of oil per family — in exchange for their participation in public service and training activities.
During distribution, all necessary preventive measures as recommended by health authorities have been taken to protect the health and safety of beneficiaries and to eliminate the risk of infection.
WFP arranged safety training for its staff and partners and introduced measures to minimize the risk of contracting or spreading the virus among staff or the people we serve. The organization ensured strict social distancing at distribution points was observed, and handed out hand sanitizers and masks to staff, partners and families picking up their assistance. Food rations were also prepared beforehand to avoid crowding.
Field projects continue
At this critical moment for the country’s food security WFP ,continues its field projects whenever possible. The organization is carrying out much-needed projects in Kyrgyz villages and remote rural areas. These include tree-planting, canal-recovery work, and construction, initiatives which are critical for sustaining sustain livelihoods and supporting the ongoing agriculture season. Participants in these project receive monthly food assistance in return for their work.
In addition, WFP and the Food and Agriculture of the United Nations (FAO) are implementing a joint-initiative of supporting 1,140 families with training and seeds/fertilizers to boost local livelihood opportunities. This initiative aims to improve local food security in the early recovery stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Supported families received varietal seeds which are enough to sow about 40 hectares of vegetables, watermelon, and cereal (corn) crops.
As quarantine was introduced throughout Kyrgyzstan, WFP took some of its skills training activities online. Various training on gardening, baking, sewing, and nutrition have been conducted online platforms like Zoom, Skype, and WhatsApp. So far, 288 training sessions were organized countrywide and 7,750 participants have graduated from short-term courses supported by WFP.
School meals programme
WFP and the Ministry of Education and Science continue to support primary-school-aged children within the School Meals Programme by providing them with take-home rations of fortified wheat flour. A universal amount (2–3 kilos) of flour has been equally distributed to more than 53,000 students in selected programme schools to ensure the children who are missing their school meals are getting what they need while schools are closed and they are in lockdown.
In parallel, WFP is continuing rehabilitation and upgrade works in school canteens to ensure schools will be launching hot meals with re-start of the academic year, as a part of the Ministry of Education efforts to reach all primary schools with school meals by 2022.
Supporting social care facilities institutions and boarding schools
WFP provides emergency food assistance to 22 social care facilities and boarding schools across the country to cope with COVID-19 hardships. Social care establishments include homes for the elderly and centers caring for children and people with disabilities.
WFP provided a three-month food ration for more than 3,000 residents at social inpatient institutions and boarding schools. The food ration included 75kg of fortified wheat flour and 8 litres of vitamin-rich oil per person. Residents of the social institutions — orphans, elderly and people with disabilities are the most severely affected by the current crisis. Emergency food assistance will be provided through WFP’s long-term partnership framework with the Ministry of Labour and Social Development and Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Such assistance will ensure their access to balanced and nutritious meals while giving them the possibility of prioritizing some of the available economic resources and use them for addressing other pressing needs such as health, sanitary and hygiene, and protection.
Monitoring of food prices
WFP is also supporting regular weekly Food Price Monitoring Bulletins from 18 markets across the country and conducting food security situation analysis to track food security trends and the functionality of food markets to provide a detailed overview of the food access and availability to facilitate Government and partners’ work within food security.
WFP presence on the ground
At the heart of the pandemic, WFP field monitors are assisting the most vulnerable with food and support. They are working in remote locations to collect food requests, monitor food distributions, and support the continuation of projects.