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The World Food Programme’s Contribution to Improving the Prospects for Peace in Kyrgyzstan

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Dr Damir Esenaliev, Dr Suyoun Jang, Francesca De Ceglie and Rachel Goldwyn

  1. Introduction

The World Food Programme (WFP) and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) have established a Knowledge Partnership in order to build an evidence base to assess whether—and if so how—WFP’s programming contributes to improving the prospects for peace, and to identify where—if anywhere—it has unintended negative effects. The partnership will support future operational refinement based on the research conclusions, and it is expected that this work will inform an evaluation of WFP’s policy that is planned for 2021.

WFP Kyrgyzstan was the first case study, and similar research was conducted in Mali, Iraq and El Salvador. The objectives of the case studies were to understand in each context: (a) WFP’s contribution to improving the prospects for peace; (b) how WFP might enhance its contribution to improving the prospects for peace; and (c) how WFP can measure its contributions to improving the prospects for peace.

The case study research involved a desk review of programme documents and data, discussions with staff, a field visit to project sites in Batken province, two focus group discussions with communities and semi-structured interviews with a range of key stakeholders in Batken and the capital, Bishkek. The major stakeholders are UN agencies and NGOs, civil society, local leaders and partners, including representatives of the Kyrgyz Government and Parliament, academics, donors and experts in conflict and peace.

The case study analysed WFP’s entire programme portfolio as outlined in the fiveyear Country Strategic Plan (CSP). The case study employed the concept of theories of change (TOCs) as a tool for facilitating analysis and stimulating new thinking about how programming can contribute to improving the prospects for peace. The availability of relevant data for measuring WFP’s contribution to enhancing the prospects for peace was evaluated in the light of these TOCs. The detailed methodology for using TOCs in the research is set out in the preliminary report, which was published in June 2019.1 The portfolio analysis is the first step on a longer process of reflective learning for WFP Kyrgyzstan. Subsequent revisions to consultation processes have continued to provide new insights as the Country Office further develops the evidence base on peace prospects.