Tajikistan, 20 March 2020 - Under the Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation Management Project (SWSMT), the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat Tajikistan (AKAH), successfully completed technical feasibility, hazard and environmental assessments for water supply systems for 75 targeted villages. It also established a rigorous water quality testing laboratory.
AKAH, a co-implementer of the four-year SWSMT project led by the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) in Tajikistan, is funded through the Swiss Cooperation Office in Tajikistan, and AKF UK.
Under the project, AKAH established a water quality testing laboratory that was accredited by the Government of Tajikistan.
“This was a key achievement for us,” said AKAH Project Manager Imomberdi Berdov. “The laboratory added another layer of test[ing] – which has not been done before – for heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, and lead, the presence of which can cause cancer. The Ministry of Health of Tajikistan therefore recognised this by offering it accreditation.”
Mr Berdov also noted that AKAH has conducted “the technical feasibility, hazard, and environmental assessments, which have informed the construction of the piped water supply systems in 10 districts. More than 6,000 households across the target villages will benefit from this water supply based on these efforts.”
AKAH Tajikistan is also able to tap into the global expertise of AKAH’s network to improve the delivery of its projects. It brought in experts from AKAH Pakistan, who were able to draw on their considerable experience from implementing the award-winning Water and Sanitation Extension Programme there. The AKAH Pakistan team provided technical expertise for the assessments and built the capacity of local teams. This transfer of technical knowledge is the kind of sustainability that AKAH aims for in implementing projects such as this.
“While we bring AKAH’s role in the project to a close, we are mindful of how much of the success of the project relies on the continued collaboration of the agencies of the AKDN with the Government of Tajikistan and the communities who we have been partnering with. It is this trust in each other, alongside the technical resourcing support of the Swiss Government, which has made this initiative so valuable for the country and a model to follow”, AKAH CEO Hadi Husani noted.
The Principal of School #9 in Khidorjev village, Khumorikov Hokimsho acknowledged the contribution this project makes, not only to health but also to education: “For many years the community lacked access to piped water supply, and the villagers, especially the school children had to fetch water from the Shohdara river, a dangerous undertaking which affected their health and school attendance. Today, the water taps located right in their yards relieve them of this tiresome duty, enabling them to concentrate fully on learning.”
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About Aga Khan Agency for Habitat in Tajikistan: AKAH, as part of its strategy in Tajikistan, continues to focus on improvements in the water sector as a whole, working to construct water supply systems and public sanitation facilities across 27 target villages in Rasht, Khatlon and GBAO through ongoing partnerships and projects such as the SDC funded Integrated Health and Habitat Improvement (IHHI), and the USAID and AKF USA supported Thrive.
About Aga Khan Agency for Habitat: The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), which merges the capabilities of Focus Humanitarian Assistance, the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, and the Aga Khan Development Network’s Disaster Risk Management Initiative, focuses on preparing for both sudden and slow-onset disasters. AKAH works to ensure that poor people live in physical settings that are as safe as possible from the effects of natural disasters; that residents who do live in high-risk areas are able to cope with disasters in terms of preparedness and response; and that these settings provide access to social and financial services that lead to greater opportunity and a better quality of life. Initially, priority areas of AKAH will include Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and India. Read more about the agency at http://www.akdn.org/our-agencies/aga-khan-agency-habitat
About the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC): Within its Cooperation Strategy for 2017-2021, Switzerland focuses on the four sectors in Tajikistan, such as Water, Infrastructure and Climate Change; Health; Governance, Institutions and Decentralisation; Employment and Economic Development. The overall goal of the Swiss Cooperation in Tajikistan is peace and social cohesion as well as responsive and inclusive institutions and sustainable development to improve the population’s well-being. Read more at www.eda.admin.ch/dushanbe