Kyrgyzstan’s economy has significantly developed since it broke away from the former Soviet Union in 1991. But many people still live below the poverty line, and there are not sufficient jobs for the mostly young population. The gaps are widening between rich and poor, city and country, and north and south.
Cashmere wool as a source of income
Helvetas has been active since 1994 in rural areas, particularly in the impoverished Alai Mountains, where the local population is faced with harsh climatic conditions, a weak infrastructure and a lack of jobs. We support more sustainable and productive livestock farming, e.g. for the production of prime-quality cashmere wool, which constitutes an important source of supplementary income for poor families. Agritourism can also be an important source of extra income, so these families attend courses to learn how to improve their offers for tourists (e.g. bed and breakfasts/vacation rentals).
Improving energy efficiency
Helvetas also stimulates the local economy by funding the business ideas of young local entrepreneurs, especially women. We contribute to the employment of young adults by providing vocational training or continuing education in road construction with an emphasis on improving energy efficiency, insulating houses and installing energy-efficient stoves.
Fair share of water resources
This Central Asian republic is a very arid country with little precipitation. Most farmers depend on irrigation to water their crops. Helvetas supports the elaboration of water use plans to make sure all users get their fair share of this vital resource. And farming families learn how to use scarce water resources more efficiently and improve crop yields by adapting simple irrigation methods. These efforts serve to increase agricultural production and mitigate conflicts over water.
Supporting the municipalities
For some time now, Kyrgyzstan has no longer been centrally governed. Many policy decisions are now taken at the municipal level. But many municipalities do not yet have the capacity to carry out their new responsibilities. Helvetas supports them in increasing their capacity to provide better public services to their citizens, e.g. to improve access to drinking water and waste management.
Visit the website of Helvetas Kyrgyzstan.