Water breathes new life into an isolated mountain village in Tajikistan

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Water breathes new life into an isolated mountain village in Tajikistan

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Tolib Yormahmadov and villagers lay water supply lines from a mountain spring 2.5km from the village

Rome, 22 March – Tolib Yormahmadov lives in a valley in the high mountainous area of Shuroobod district in southeastern Tajikistan.

A fruit farmer by trade, and chairman of Dashtijum village organization, his valley has good soil conditions that are perfect for growing crops and vegetables, producing some of the best quality fruits in the district.

The only challenge? The area also suffers from a serious shortage of water.

"Villagers, mainly women and children, used to carry water for crops and trees from the nearest source, which was a five kilometer round trip," explained Yormahmadov.

"This was hard work and they could never bring enough water,” he explained.

Through funding from the IFAD-assisted Khatlon Livelihoods Support Project (KLSP), the people of Dashtijum village have been able to address the problem through water irrigation.

The KLSP assisted in the establishment of a village organization (VO) in the village. Through the VO, the villagers were able to organize themselves and prepare detailed plans for how they wanted to use the funds made available by the project, prioritizing irrigation and drinking water supply schemes.

"Before the project, this land was not irrigated. It was not being fully used by the villagers who had no funds for an irrigation system," said Yormahmadov.

KLSP helped to construct the water infrastructure serving irrigation and drinking water needs for the village. The villagers played an active role in its construction and have since benefited from increased agricultural production and well-being.

“We completed the construction within three months, laying water supply lines from a mountain spring two kilometres from the village," said Yormahmadov.

A typical family breakfast served in Khatlon region of Tajikistan
A typical family breakfast served in Khatlon region of Tajikistan


The villagers are commited to ensuring the sustainability of the new water supply system. They have established a water users’ association through which they contribute towards paying for the costs of operating and maintaining the system.

"The most important thing is that there is enough water for both drinking and irrigation. The water is pure and the children of the village will now be healthy and protected from waterborne diseases," said Yormahmadov.

The project has not only developed infrastructure. It has provided major benefits to the community in terms of training and capacity-building. It has encouraged community members to become more proactive to address their own development priorities.

“One of the project priorities is to involve people in training and workshops. By participating, the rural population – particularly women – have improved their skills and qualifications, and learned how to cooperate with development projects.

For example, by working as the secretary of the village organization, Bobokhon Saidov improved his skills and qualifications that led to his selection as chairman of the Kuhistoni Dashtijum community organization.

As a result of the project, the community now has more members who are actively involved in its social development.

“For me, the provision of drinking and irrigation water for Dashtijum village is an important event and a noble cause,” concludes Yormahmadov.