From February 12 to 18, Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman traveled to Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan. During her trip, the Deputy Administrator underscored USAID’s partnership with the people of Central Asia to strengthen regional connectivity, economic diversification, food security, clean energy, digital integration, vibrant civil societies, good governance, and more.
Throughout her travels, Deputy Administrator Coleman emphasized the United States’ commitment to each of the Central Asian states’ sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence. She affirmed USAID’s enduring support for health, education, governance reform, inclusive economic growth, and nutrition needs across the region to help communities build resilience and prosperity. She also highlighted USAID activities that continue to support the United States and Central Asia’s shared objectives across all three pillars of C5+1 diplomatic engagement — economy, energy and environment, and security.
Deputy Administrator Coleman began her trip on February 12 in Astana, Kazakhstan with a tour of the Alzhir Memorial Museum, where she paid tribute to victims of Stalin’s mass repression and highlighted U.S. support for Kazakhstan’s resilience, identity, and sovereignty. Then, she met with government leaders and U.S. Embassy staff to discuss ways to strengthen regional cooperation to address the impacts of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and its disinformation operations, as well as the implications of the Taliban’s destabilizing actions, which are deepening Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis.
In Almaty, home to USAID’s Regional Mission to Central Asia, Deputy Administrator Coleman met on February 14 with entrepreneurs, civil society groups, and youth leaders to discuss barriers to expanding inclusive economic opportunities, as well as protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms. She announced 15 grants for journalists and independent content producers in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan through USAID’s Central Asia Media Program, aimed at increasing media and information literacy of youth and adults so they become critical consumers and producers of information that contributes to an active and vibrant civil society. She also toured a dairy processing facility which, with USAID support, is contributing to strengthened intraregional trade and diversified supply chains as it increases production and sales, creating new jobs and bolstering livelihoods across Central Asia.
On February 15, Deputy Administrator Coleman began engagements in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. She met with members of the media, civil society groups, and women community leaders to hear about the challenges they face in participating in society and upholding democratic institutions. The Deputy Administrator also met with government officials to discuss ways to bolster the Kyrgyz Republic’s response to infectious diseases, strengthen trade through economic diversification, boost household incomes, and build the country’s resilience to climate change. During meetings with officials, Deputy Administrator Coleman discussed additional support for the Kyrgyz Republic. She announced $4 million in assistance, subject to availability of funds, to strengthen the Kyrgyz Republic’s capacity to detect, prevent and treat emerging infectious diseases threats, and $2 million to support women entrepreneurs.
Also on February 15, the Deputy Administrator attended an event with donor partners and government leaders to celebrate the role of youth innovators, entrepreneurs, and community leaders who are building a creative economy and a more prosperous future for the Kyrgyz Republic.
On February 16, in the Kyrygz Republic, Deputy Administrator Coleman met with entrepreneurs and agribusiness owners. She toured a fish processing facility and a woman-owned apparel factory – both of which have dramatically expanded production with USAID assistance, creating new jobs and economic opportunity, particularly for women. Afterwards, she visited one of the 1,600 USAID-supported public primary schools across the country which have successfully increased student and teacher access to electronic learning materials and applications to improve learning. She then met climate experts to discuss renewable energy opportunities. Deputy Administrator Coleman visited the Kyrgyz State History Museum to view a USAID-supported photo exhibit on the Agency’s work to combat malnutrition, illustrating how our partnership with the Kyrgyz government has transformed lives. She concluded her visit with a meeting with the Chairman of Council Ministers to discuss the future of USAID’s partnership with the Kyrgyz Republic.
On February 17, Deputy Administrator Coleman arrived in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. First, she met with government officials to discuss mutual priorities, including environmental protection, food security, health, inclusive economic growth, and education. She underscored USAID’s commitment to support agricultural productivity and strengthen food security in Tajikistan, including through two new grants totaling $13 million. Then, she visited USAID-supported Hisor School to hand off over 2,000 new large font books to help ensure children who are blind, low vision, or partially sighted have the specialized educational materials they need to succeed.
On February 18, her final day in the region, Deputy Administrator Coleman met with UN partners, farmers, and business owners to discuss joint efforts to provide much-needed food and agricultural assistance to vulnerable households, as well as support for English-language education and the preservation of folk-art traditions. Deputy Administrator Coleman traveled to Khatlon province, where the majority of Tajikistan’s food is produced, to speak with local entrepreneurs and learn how USAID support helped expand their produce, dairy, and pistachio businesses, growing the local economy and creating new jobs in rural communities. She also met with local partners tackling tuberculosis, as well as graduates of USAID-supported professional development programs who are starting new businesses and building Tajikistan’s emerging IT sector.
Source : USAID