The Rural Development Fund (RDF) is a non-profit, non-governmental policy and research organisation established in 2003 to conduct research, develop policy recommendations, and implement activities in the field of rural development in Kyrgyzstan. The organisation aims to support locally appropriate initiatives to alleviate poverty and achieve sustainable development in rural areas.
Image credit: RDF
RDF engages communities, policy-makers, and the donor community in order to find solutions for development that meet local rural needs. The organisation has hands-on experience in designing technical assistance interventions, mobilising staff, engaging local counterparts, ensuring results, and properly documenting experience and lessons learned for further dissemination in the organisation.
The RDF provides innovative ideas and approaches while drawing on a combination of substantial experience in Kyrgyzstan, and technical expertise in a range of areas such as natural resource management, local governance, social mobilisation and inclusion, and agricultural economics. It is known that the fund has a track record of implementing programs with the involvement of multiple projects and / or donors on a collaborative basis.
Since 2010, RDF has been implementing a number of peace projects which support conflict prevention and mitigation:
- Peer learning of Kyrgyz local governments on conflict management projects aimed at strengthening the role of border villages to manage inter-ethnic conflicts stemming from the use of water, pastures, land, timber and other natural resources (funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, NED).
- Strengthening women and vulnerable groups' potential in peacebuilding in Kyrgyzstan. This project concentrated on the promotion of gender equality and protection of women's rights. It sought to enhance the possibilities and provision of a wider involvement of women in the issues related to settlement of interethnic and social conflicts and to peacemaking (funded by UN Women).
- Capacity building of local government bodies in conflict prevention in the mining regions. This was supported by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
- A conflict mitigation project covering a number of border villages in Kyrgyzstan, improving local authority service delivery to the local population. The project aims at conflict mitigation by protecting the rights and interests of the Kyrgyz citizens living in border areas, in partnership with community groups and co-promoting the interests of the population in border areas at the government level (funded by NED).
- In the framework of the Conflict Resolution Around the Pastures Used by Foreigners Project, the RDF created a mechanism aimed at preventing the occurrence of conflicts around Kyrgyz pastures used by foreigners in the border regions of the Batken region. This was implemented through the development of mechanisms and grazing procedures of other states in the Kyrgyz pastures (funded by NED).