AKIPRESS.COM - More than 400 primary schools and 100 libraries across the Kyrgyz Republic will receive 272,000 children’s books as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Sonata Coulter presented these books to Minister of Education and Science Ulanbek Mambetakunov during a handover event.
The donated books include 72 new and adapted titles created by local authors and artists and are available in Kyrgyz and Russian languages. Originally developed and adapted by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of its Okuu Keremet! Project, these books will now be able to reach more children in remote areas of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Each participating school and library will receive approximately 546 children’s books with stories, fairy tales, poems, and other interesting content appropriate for school-age children. “The United States is proud to partner with the Kyrgyz Republic to ensure that children across the country have access to quality, educational reading material,” said Deputy Chief of Mission Sonata Coulter.
In addition to the book handover event, representatives from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, local government, as well as development partners, discussed the 2023 program of work for the Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. “Currently, the Kyrgyz government pays much attention to food security and nutrition. And the comprehensive approach of the school feeding programs matters for the country’s long-term development,” noted Minister of Education and Science Ulanbek Mambetakunov.
The new round of this five-year U.S. government program runs from 2021-2026. “The whole design aims to change social norms and behaviors associated with nutrition, education, and community engagement in raising the next generation of Kyrgyz citizens,” says Nurzat Esengulova, Mercy Corps Director of Programs in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Over the course of five years, the program will reach more than 400 schools and 100,000 children across six provinces in the Kyrgyz Republic: Batken, Jalalabad, Issyk Kul, Naryn, Osh, and Chui.