Kyrgyzstan continues to search for stable footing on ever shifting terrain. But there are some constants here, as well, that will likely never reach the news. Before the revolution in April, throughout the recent turmoil and long after the world turns its attention elsewhere, there were, are and will be important contributors to Kyrgyzstan’s progress.
Some of these contributors are Mercy Corps and Kompanion staff members, who work unstintingly to serve people in all seven oblasts (administrative divisions) of the country. Now, in addition to carrying out regular operations, staff from all departments are mobilizing to assist with emergency response efforts.
Mercy Corps has worked in Kyrgyzstan since 1994 -- three years after the country gained independence, following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1997 Mercy Corps implemented the first micro-lending program in Kyrgyzstan. By February 2003, the program was registered as a local microcredit NGO. Shortly after that, Mercy Corps and five affiliated NGOs consolidated to form a national community development financial institution called Kompanion. In 2004, Kompanion was registered with the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Today Kompanion has 109,917 active clients, a portfolio of $37.3 million, 90 offices and 892 employees throughout the country. No ordinary microfinance institution, Kompanion combines loan services with community development initiatives, such as agricultural and livestock trainings, in order to facilitate the strengthening of communities through sustainable development.
In this video, a few employees from the Bishkek office share their thoughts on Mercy Corps and Kompanion programs in Kyrgyzstan. Bol-shoye spaseeba to the hundreds of dedicated staff who are working to increase stability and opportunity in Kyrgyzstan regardless of social, economic or political challenges.