Each year, millions of school days are lost due to water-related illness. In the mountainous interior of Central Asia, the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) located in the Pamirs – “the roof of the world” – makes up nearly half of the land area of Tajikistan. While set against the backdrop of natural beauty, the long winters are harsh, and the conditions often rudimentary. In order to get clean water, people have to either walk for hours every day or pay high fees to service providers who deliver water by vehicles.
The AKDN Pamir project, supported by Finland's development cooperation funds, has improved the living conditions of thousands of Pamiris, especially women and children. Water supply systems constructed together with local communities and local authorities include over 18 kilometres of water pipelines and 10 boreholes and give access to safe drinking water to over 4,300 people. In addition, private urine-diverting dry toilets and dedicated hand-washing areas installed in 100 households provide safer sanitation. People’s conception of “safe water” has changed as a result.
With greater access to clean water and reduced occurrence of water-borne illness, children are healthier and more able to attend school year-round, fit and ready to learn.
This article has been adapted from an article originally published on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland website. The original may be read here.