In October 2001, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded Mercy Corps a Global Food for Education program, which aims to mobilize and strengthen community involvement in education, and improve access to education for children living throughout Kyrgyzstan.
Mercy Corps is helping to distribute rice, vegetable oil and flour to every kindergarten and boarding school throughout Kyrgyzstan based on student population. Over 560 beneficiary institutions are providing hot meals to approximately 60,000 children across the country every school day.
Additionally, Mercy Corps is selling some of the donated food commodities on the local market. Proceeds from these sales are used to fund small grants to educational institutions throughout Kyrgyzstan. Communities use these grants to repair and improve the infrastructure of schools, improve student access to clean water and sanitation, increase food security for students, or to purchase school equipment and supplies.