The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) cooperated with Tajikistan’s State Sanitary Epidemiological and Surveillance Service (SSESS) in improving water supplies in remote areas of the country.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on improving water supplies has been signed by AKAH and SSESS here this month.  

The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) notes that this collaboration will enhance the control of quality of drinking water in remote areas, which will eventually contribute to health and hygiene of communities and improve their wellbeing, as well as conformity of services provided by AKAH to national sanitary and epidemiological rules and standards.

The initiative will build on the work started under the framework of Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation Management (SWSMT) project, funded by the Swiss Cooperation Office in Tajikistan and implemented by the Aga Khan Foundation Tajikistan (AKF,T), in collaboration with AKAH, the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme (MSDSP), the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) and the Branch of the Institute of Professional Development (IPD).

Within the framework of the project, AKAH procured a portable/mobile water quality testing laboratory, which enables to test water right at the sources as well as on sites.  The results of testing were vetted and verified by SESS of regions, where the project builds drinking water supply systems for the communities. The laboratory serve the country beyond the project as well, whenever it comes to selection of water sources for water supply systems and certification of water quality of identified sources as part of legally required approval processes.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Head of SSESS, Mr. Ibdrohim Boynazarov, pointed out the importance of joint collaboration of AKAH and SSESS in the field of sanitary and water quality control saying that “the effective action plan can lead to provision of safe and clean drinking water and decrease in water-borne disease in the targeted areas and the country as a whole.”

“This partnership is a great opportunity for both AKAH and SSESS to join efforts in providing safe, adequate and accessible drinking water to communities through providing reliable water quality services right at the source and on sites,” highlighted Mr. Hadi Husani, the CEO of AKAH Tajikistan.

An in-house water quality testing laboratory was established by AKAH within the framework of SWSMT project to address the lack of reliable rural water quality testing services in the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) and Eastern Khatlon – main project targeted areas.  The laboratory is based on the successful experience of AKAH in northern Pakistan of almost two decades in establishing and maintaining a similar laboratory.  AKAH has replicated the approach it used in Pakistan, adjusted it to the country context by closely liaising and coordinating with respective government counterparts. It is aimed at providing reliable water quality testing services to community water management bodies in GBAO and Eastern Khatlon.

The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), which merges the capabilities of Focus Humanitarian Assistance, the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, and the Aga Khan Development Network’s Disaster Risk Management Initiative, focuses on preparing for both sudden and slow-onset disasters.  AKAH works to ensure that people live in physical settings that are as safe as possible from the effects of natural disasters; that residents who do live in high-risk areas are able to cope with disasters in terms of preparedness and response; and that these settings provide access to social and financial services that lead to greater opportunity and a better quality of life. Initially, priority areas of AKAH will include Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and India.