Osh, Kyrgyzstan (April 28, 2023) – Sixty-four primary schools in Osh Province will receive 135 metric tons of lentils, peas, sunflower oil, flour, and rice to provide Kyrgyzstani children with hot, nutritious meals. To kick off these deliveries, U.S. Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic Lesslie Viguerie and Vice Governor of Osh Province Ernis Toltoev made a cermonical delivery to Ermatov School #139 of the Kara-Suu District.
This is the second tranche of food deliveries as part of the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the Kyrgyz Republic’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education and Science. It complements funds allocated by the Kyrgyz government for each primary school child for meals. “A nutritious meal for every child in every primary school. That is our mutual goal. And through partnership with the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, we are making progress,” said Ambassador Lesslie Viguerie.
Located in Ak-Orgo village, Ermatov School #139 currently hosts 280 primary school children receiving hot meals through this U.S. government program. Vice Governor of Osh Province Ernis Toltoev expressed his support, noting that currently, 37 percent of schools in Osh Province do not provide hot meals. Elena Buryan, Mercy Corps country director, stated, “The McGovern-Dole program is working to ensure that every child in Kyrgyzstan receives quality nutrition to grow and learn.” Ermatov School Principal Malike Rakhmanalieva described the tangible benefits to her students, noting, “With hot meals, our younger students are better able to enjoy learning and school attendance has improved.”
During the McGovern-Dole program’s first phase of implementation in 2021-2023, 124 schools across the country received modern kitchen equipment, training for cooks and kitchen staff, and launched the provision of daily hot meals to primary school students. Over the course of five years, the program will reach more than 400 schools and 100,000 children across six provinces of the Kyrgyz Republic: Batken, Jalal-Abad, Issyk-Kul, Naryn, Osh and Chui. The new round of this five-year U.S. government program runs from 2021-2026.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program supports education, child development, and food security by donating U.S. agricultural commodities, as well as providing financial and technical assistance for school feeding. Currently, this program runs in 35 countries.
Mercy Corps is an international non-governmental organization that has worked in the Kyrgyz Republic since 1994. Mercy Corps has been implementing the USDA McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program in the Kyrgyz Republic since 2012. For more information please visit: https://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/mcgovern-dole-food-education-program