On May 31, experts of international organizations and development partners in Tajikistan visited the villages and settlements assisted by the Japanese Grant Aid “Project for Rehabilitation of Drinking Water Supply Systems in Panj District, Khatlon Province” from 2014 to 2016, which is the winner of the JICA President Award 2017 for its outstanding contribution to the development of human resources, society and the economy in Tajikistan, says press release issued by JICA Tajikistan on June 13.

The Government of Japan through JICA invested 16 million USD as a donation and Government of Tajikistan contributed 1mln USD for the realization of the Project.

Guided by local experts of the Vodokanal (KMK) and Japanese experts, the representatives and experts from UNDP, UNICEF, Oxfam and other international organizations observed the 1,800 cubic meter water-tank filling the gap of fluctuating water demand for providing 24/7 drinking water  to over 20,000 population in Panj, while they walked through local communities covered by the water-supply system with Japanese-made water consumption meters and water taps which enable children to drink water directly from the faucet.

Participants witnessed how people in local community enjoyed life with affluent water with this household-level water-saving technology, not because measured water rate payment was newly introduced but because, in many cases, it was actually much cheaper than conventional water rate system rooted in Soviet system, which assumed that people used drinking tap water excessively for non-drinking purpose.

In particular, senior experts of the Vodokanal explained the challenges confronted when they tried to introduce the new measured water rate, resulting in a certain level of legislative reform in communal service charging.  Indeed, women and girls now no more need to take much time for fetching and pumping water in the communities.  Thus, people’s willingness for water payment became much higher than before.  Engineers of the Vodokanal explained how they were monitoring water quality and maintaining safety of drinking water with support of up-to-date automatic chlorine regulation device from Japan for protecting people’s healthy life.     

At the end of the study tour, the representatives and experts of international organizations shared their opinions and views with recognition; i.e. the JICA’s approach is unique compared with traditional schemes but it is possible to learn the essence of success.  For policy makers, therefore, as it is their mission to provide sustainable continuous reliable communal service for citizens, JICA’s approach provides win-win situation among them and public workers by putting the first capacity development of public servants, such as Vodokanal staff, aiming at nurturing the sense of ownership of communal service providers over the facilities under their care.              

Dushanbe will host the High-Level International Conference on International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028” from June 20-22.  JICA will exhibit its cooperation in water sector all over the world including the above mentioned Drinking Water Supply Project.  It could be one of reputable topics among participants of the Conference as an example of drinking water supply projects.

JICA began its technical cooperation with Tajikistan in 1993 by inviting Tajik officials to gain knowledge and experience on governance and macroeconomics development. As of January 2018, a total number of participants to JICA’s Knowledge Co-Creation Programs, formerly called the Training Programs, has exceeded 2100 people.  JICA Office was established in 2006 in Tajikistan and since then various Grant Financial Assistance and Technical Cooperation projects have been implemented more dynamically, aiming at improving living standard of Tajik people for the sectors such as agriculture and rural development, water supply, health, transport, energy, capacity building as well as SME promotion. JICA’s cumulative investment portfolio in Tajikistan in all sectors comprises 34 projects amounting to more than 345 million USD (82 million USD for Technical Cooperation and 263 million USD for Grant Assistance), including 12 on-going projects.