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Filed under: Central Asia Development Poverty Social inclusion

Men and women meeting in circle, sitting on grass, surrounded by trees

Kyrgyzstan New Zealand Rural Trust and UNDP have been working together to reduce poverty in rural communities in Naryn province.

We often talk about how development is better if we work in partnership with others.

The Naryn province, one of the poorest in Kyrgyzstan, is another example where we are putting that principle into practice.

Naryn is hilly, remote and cold. Temperatures average minus six degrees Celsius annually in some parts (like in the Russian Arctic). Maybe it goes without saying that few development organizations work there.

One of them is Kyrgyzstan New Zealand Rural Trust, helping to reduce a 40 percent poverty rate in an area where people eke out a living through animal husbandry and dairy farming.

From 2010 to 2012, the Kyrgyzstan New Zealand Rural Trust supported small-scale agro-production and processing in 16 pilot villages, benefiting 696 households. The project supported goat husbandry and potato production. It also helped greenhouse and hothouse development, milk and wool possessing, felt and handicrafts, and micro-credits.

Two women showing their diary products

Diary food production is an important activity in Naryn province.

What results so far?

We know the Kyrgyzstan New Zealand Rural Trust well. It has a great track record in Naryn, creating:

  • 8 consulting and marketing centres
  • 15 greenhouses
  • 2 potato storage facilities
  • 7 artificial insemination points for livestock

In addition, it helped to create 22 financial self-help groups, consisting of 98 members who got microcredits amounting to nearly six million Kyrgyz soms (almost $123,000).

UNDP has been present, largely contributing to joint monitoring missions. But we knew we could do more together.

‘One pot’

That’s why Dr. Morgan, New Zealand philanthropist and sponsor of the Trust, and UNDP started to talk in 2012 to explore the possibility of teaming up and putting development funds into one pot.

Now it gives us enormous pleasure to announce that on 27 September 2013 we signed a full-fledged partnership agreement to help the people of Naryn.

The new agreement ensures $552,000 in funding will be delivered within the next three-years.

Cooperation will allow us to better coordinate our development activities, focus our resources and prevent duplication.

Two men taking care of baby potato plants

Local inhabitants cultivate potatoes in a greenhouse.

It means we can help more households, and develop a critical mass of beneficiaries who can continue the activities beyond the life of the project.

What we want now is to enable increasing livestock, processing and plant-growing capacity by mobilizing local communities, farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises.

The funding will be disbursed as early as January 2014. It’s crucial for Naryn province, which, we very much hope will pave the way for even more funding for our local-level interventions in the province.

We think this partnership will mean a lot for the people of Naryn.

If you have experience of implementing similar projects in your country, please share what you learned!