16 October 2019

World Food Day

Eliza Kokkozova

“Zero Hunger is when my children can eat enough of what is good for them, year after year.”

Kyrgyzstan

 

Eliza Kokkozova is a wife and mother of six who lives in the south of the Kyrgyz Republic. Although she has a small garden, she used to sell all of the food that she produced, in order to have income for daily expenses.

There were no jobs available for Eliza, 33, or her husband, who has disabilities, and there was never enough cash or food to guarantee a healthy diet for her family. Eliza applied for state-provided cash benefits but was still worried about her children’s nutrition.

“I knew that we would have a piece of bread, some rice and tea for an evening meal. But was it the food that my children deserved? How could they be healthy and succeed in their lives if they couldn’t get enough vitamins during the critical years of their growth?”

Nutrition in Eliza’s home underwent a significant change after FAO began a “Cash plus” pilot project in her area in 2017. The idea behind the Russian-funded project was to provide poor, rural households with social protection in the form of cash transfers but also, to give them gardening tools, seeds, agricultural training, nutrition classes and other support to help them maintain a diversified and healthy diet.

“FAO gave us seeds for crops like cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach and lentils, as well as the knowledge and skills to grow them on my plot of land,” Eliza says.

Eliza also learned how to use a tunnel greenhouse to grow crops off season and store fruits and vegetables for winter use.

Eliza now feels she has the means to break her family’s cycle of food insecurity and guarantee her children a better, healthier future.

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