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is a not-for-profit and nongovernmental policy and research organization established in 2003 to conduct research, develop policy recommendations, and implement activities in the field of the rural development.

Rural Development Fund

is a not-for-profit and nongovernmental policy and research organization established in 2003 to conduct research, develop policy recommendations, and implement activities in the field of the rural development.

Rural Development Fund

is a not-for-profit and nongovernmental policy and research organization established in 2003 to conduct research, develop policy recommendations, and implement activities in the field of the rural development.

Rural Development Fund




International Land Coalition (ILC) Asia Land Forum and Regional Assembly has conducted in Kyrgyzstan

Participation of RDF in ILC's Forum

RDF took part in festival "Shirge Zhyar" in Talas region

LOSL took part in a Global Forum on the Conservation of the Snow Leopard

Participation of members of international network “Land of Snow Leopard ” at the Forum on preserving Snow Leopard in Bishkek

All news

Revival and Dissemination of Kyrgyz Traditional Pastoral Knowledge and Practices

Through the Pastoralist-to-Pastoralist Network



Fast Facts


Realization period: 2008-2011


Area: Chui, Talas, Naryn, Issyk-Kul, Batken, Osh and Djalal-Abad oblasts


Donor: The Christensen Fund, USA


Partner: Kok-Oirok Jamaat


Contact: kakmatova@rdf.in.kg


 Livestock has always played a great role in the Kyrgyz economy and the livelihood of its rural people. Immediately after gaining independence in 1991, the country fell into a serious economic crisis. With a lack of non-farming opportunities, drastic decreases of employment in the state and industry sectors, the majority of rural people became farmers. 17 years later, with economic growth and overall political and social stability, the nature of farming is slowly but steadily changing. There are still people who farm only for subsistence purposes, to provide families with food and additional income, others are becoming professional farmers.


However, after 70 years of a Soviet centralized economy, state ownership and management of all assets and resources, and the persecution of attempts to study the pre-Soviet history of Kyrgyzstan, traditional knowledge and practices of sustainable livestock farming have been lost to many. Because there is almost no substantial knowledge or infrastructure existing at the local village level to support farmers, and especially livestock grazers, there are many problems that these farmers face in their daily lives that they are unable to deal with on their own. Our research on traditional knowledge showed that the process of this disappearance of knowledge is very fast and irreversible; it is not practical to collect this knowledge, on a significant level, in one geographical location.


Many people in rural areas don't have the basic knowledge or traditional skills of animal breeding or transhumance grazing. In addition, current livestock breeding, grazing, and processing practices are often inefficient and environmentally detrimental. Many farmers realize the importance and usefulness of traditional knowledge and want to revive traditional lifestyles but they lack the sources for such knowledge.


Main Project Aims

-        To collect traditional knowledge on pastoral skills and lifestyles from custodians of traditional knowledge around the country

-        Disseminate it through the Summer Fair of Traditional Knowledge, Pastorialist-to-Pastorialist School, and “El Akyl Kazyna” Kyrgyz Pastoralists' Network (Treasury of the Kyrgyz People's Knowledge).


This project is also important in promoting the networking of pastoralists around the country and supporting them through recovering, storing, and disseminating traditional knowledge.


Project Objectives

-        Identify custodians of the traditional pastoral knowledge around the country.

-        Collect knowledge from custodians

-        Analyze, process, and disseminate the knowledge around the country to empower young pastoralists

-        Accumulate the knowledge in one interactive learning center


RDF has collected and documented traditional knowledge on pastoral economy and lifestyle for its preservation and recovery. This knowledge was important not only for capturing the history of Kyrgyz pastoralism but also to recover and re-introduce resilient and environmentally sustainable practices and technologies used by the Kyrgyz people over the centuries. It would improve landscapes and save the land from degradation and depletion of natural resources. The livelihoods of hundreds of pastoralists would be improved through their empowerment with traditional knowledge and skills.


Project Area

Research was conducted in all regions of Kyrgyzstan, including the places where ethnic Kyrgyz lived in Turkey and China.


The project was country-wide and established the “Kyrgyz El Altyn Kazyna” network of Kyrgyz pastoralists. This network strengthened them with traditional knowledge on livestock keeping and managing and using pasture resources in a sustainable manner. Other targeted beneficiaries were young people who would become aware and learn about Kyrgyz pastoralism, its heritage and values. RDF launched an essay contest on traditional knowledge among students.


The project had a direct impact on hundreds of pastoralists using the Kemin (in the North) and Chong Alai (in the South) valleys for summer grazing; these pastoralists gained access to collected traditional knowledge at the Summer Fair of Traditional Knowledge and at the Pastoralist-to-Pastoralist School. Methodological training materials and brochures were used by many other farmers around the country. These materials were distributed through existing agricultural extension services.


Recovery of traditional livestock practices resulted in better livelihoods for Kyrgyz livestock keepers: lambing rates rose, animal feeding and medical treatment improved, and traditional livestock and other rangeland resource processing technologies were recovered.


Project Results

-        Arranged a database of the Kyrgyz custodians of Traditional Knowledge on pastoral livestock practices and skills and established an informal network of pastoralists.

-        Information, materials, and practices of traditional knowledge were distributed and presented at the Summer Fair of Traditional Knowledge.

-        Pastoralists were trained on Traditional Knowledge through Pastoralist-to-Pastoralist Schools (PPS).

-        Custodians and practitioners of traditional knowledge were recognized and awarded for sustainable livestock breeding.

-        There was a wide awareness among youth and extension services on Pastoralist Traditional Knowledge.

-        Training materials and information on Traditional Knowledge were distributed to farmers through existing extension agencies.


Rural Development Fund

Geologicheskiy str., Office 1

Bishkek, 720005, Kyrgyz Republic

Phone: +996 (312)590828 

Mob. phone: +996 (770)330106 

Email: general@rdf.in.kg

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