ACTED has been present in Kyrgyzstan since 1996, with a coordination office in the capital Bishkek and operational bases in Jalalabad, Osh and Batken, in the South of the country. ACTED’s interventions focus on disaster risk reduction, economic development, local governance and the promotion of peaceful dialogue and cooperation in both rural and urban areas throughout Chuy, Osh, Jalalabad, Naryn, Issyk-Kul and Batken.
Since gaining independence in 1991, Kyrgyzstan’s fortunes have ebbed and flowed. With the exception of the violent clashes that shook the country’s south in the summer of 2010, Kyrgyzstan has largely enjoyed political stability. Today, the country is faced with other types of challenges which include: widespread poverty, stunted economic growth, radicalization, and massive external migration due to poor job prospects among the youth. In addition to these woes, Kyrgyzstan is prone to natural disasters such as mudflows and earthquakes, the latest of which took place in May 2017.
A large proportion of ACTED’s work in Krygyzstan targets the Ferghana Valley, a vast triangle of craggy ridges and sweeping grasslands which trespasses into the territories of three of Kyrgyzstan’s neighbours. Due to the extreme weather phenomena found in the valley, mudflows and flooding are common. Working from both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, ACTED intervenes to improve the management of the watersheds which serve communities on both sides of the border. In 2018, ACTED brought together community members from both countries to discuss the best ways in which to prepare for and monitor the risks stemming from the watershed. This included developing village-level Disaster Preparedness plans, working with schools to train students in Disaster Risk Reduction, and bringing together micro-finance institutions and the private sector to help business owners mainstream DRR practices in their enterprises making them better able to absorb future shocks.
ACTED Kyrgyzstan works to help communities get back on their feet in the wake of natural disasters. Central to this is ensuring community members apply ‘Build Back Better’ practices to increase future resilience to recurring risks.
Following an earthquake in neighbouring Tajikistan in 2017, over 1,000 houses in Chong-Alai were damaged, of which 600 required total rebuild. During the two phases of ACTED’s response, the organisation provided construction materials to over one hundred families whose homes had been worst hit. ACTED also trained residents on ‘Build Back Better’ construction techniques, allowing them, with the assistance of three ACTED-trained carpenters, to independently reconstruct their shelters. Whereas prior to ACTED’s intervention, shelters were made from clay and straw, following ACTED’s intervention, each target household uses concrete foundations with concrete and wood frame structures.