by Stig Trommer, Senior Operations Officer, GPSA and Madina Aliberdieva, GPSA Social Accountability Specialist
The GPSA through its CSO partner Oxfam Tajikistan is implementing a project focused on enhancing the trust between government and beneficiaries through the establishment of local water Community Advisory Boards (CABs) and promoting women’s engagement in decision making related to water services. This US$850,000 project that is coming to an end in May 2018, has generated strong commitment from government, communities and water services providers. With the assistance of a local CSO - Consumer Union of Tajikistan, the project managed to establish local and national platforms that ensure lasting sustainable dialogue on access to drinking water and sanitation in rural areas.
The people of three villages in the district of Rudaki suffered from a severe shortage of safe drinking water, resulting in the spread of waterborne diseases, especially among children. To address these challenges, the Tajikistan Water Supply and Sanitation project, also implemented by Oxfam Tajikistan (funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation), worked with the local government , Water User Association and CAB members to provide the infrastructure that has given the targeted villages access to safe potable water.
The establishment of the CAB in the Rudaki villages has strengthened the links between community representatives and citizens. As was noted by the head of the local CAB, Mr. Nasridin Yuldashev “training has resulted in villagers being better educated about their rights and responsibilities and engage regularly with the CAB”. By promoting social accountability, the GPSA project is helping decision makers and service providers to acknowledge the importance of community voices - relationship between the community and service providers is shifting from conflict to cooperation.
Finally, during his speech to the audience, Mr. Karimi, the chairman of the district said: “We have a famous Tajik proverb: There is no prosperity without water. Everything is in your hands now. Only you, as a local resident can improve your life by maintaining and caring about the system and collaborating with your local government”.