While rich in freshwater resources, access to safe drinking water in Tajikistan is still a pervasive problem in rural communities. Today, about 76% of the poor people reside in rural areas. Only 55.6% of them have an access to safe drinking water and a tiny 1.7 % to sewage system and good sanitary facilities. About 70% of all infectious diseases are waterborne and related to poor hygiene.
In many households, women and girls are solely responsible for water collection. If safe drinking water and access to adequate sanitation is unaffordable or inaccessible, women and girls will often resort to collecting water from unsafe sources, with a negative impact on their health and the health of their families. In addition, the hours spent fetching water come at a high cost as it implies less time spent for studying and for working.
The beneficiary population of the Comprehensive Water Supply and Sanitation (CoWaSS) project will be rural communities in Jabbor Rasulov and Konibodom districts in the Sughd region. Besides access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation, about 270,000 people (among them 65,000 schoolchildren) will adopt better hygiene and sanitation practices introduced through behaviour change campaigns. Moreover, the project will support the implementation of the ongoing national water-sector reform by strengthening water utilities at district level. The project will involve all concerned stakeholders at this level (e.g. Hukumat authorities, Tajikobdehot) for planning the investments in water supply and sanitation infrastructure as well as managing those services.
“Switzerland is one of the main donor in the water sector in Tajikistan and has a rich experience in promotion of rural water supply and sanitation. The Swiss projects have piloted a range of successful innovations and approaches like private metered water connections in remote mountains regions, full cost recovery tariffs, and various sanitations models. All these innovations will be applied by the present CoWaSS project and these improvements will contribute to better living conditions and good health of the people”- noted Alisher Shabdolov, National programme Officer of the Swiss Cooperation office in Tajikistan
The implementation of the project was awarded to the International Secretariat for Water (ISW), Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, and Central Asia International Consulting (CAICO) Consortium based on an open international tender.