Under the Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation Management Project (SWSMT), the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat Tajikistan (AKAH) has successfully completed technical feasibility, hazard and environmental assessments for water supply systems for 75 targeted villages, according to the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).  It also established a rigorous water quality testing laboratory.

AKAH, a co-implementer of the four-year SWSMT project led by the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) in Tajikistan, is funded through the Swiss Cooperation Office in Tajikistan (SDC), and AKF UK.

Under the project, AKAH established a water quality testing laboratory that was accredited by the Government of Tajikistan.

“This was a key achievement for us,” said AKAH Project Manager Imomberdi Berdov. “The laboratory added another layer of test[ing] – which has not been done before – for heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, and lead, the presence of which can cause cancer.  The Ministry of Health of Tajikistan therefore recognized this by offering it accreditation.”

Mr. Berdov also noted that AKAH has conducted “the technical feasibility, hazard, and environmental assessments, which have informed the construction of the piped water supply systems in 10 districts.  More than 6,000 households across the target villages will benefit from this water supply based on these efforts.”

AKAH Tajikistan is also able to tap into the global expertise of AKAH’s network to improve the delivery of its projects. It brought in experts from AKAH Pakistan, who were able to draw on their considerable experience from implementing the award-winning Water and Sanitation Extension Program there.  The AKAH Pakistan team provided technical expertise for the assessments and built the capacity of local teams.  This transfer of technical knowledge is the kind of sustainability that AKAH aims for in implementing projects such as this.

“While we bring AKAH’s role in the project to a close, we are mindful of how much of the success of the project relies on the continued collaboration of the agencies of the AKDN with the Government of Tajikistan and the communities who we have been partnering with. It is this trust in each other, alongside the technical resourcing support of the Swiss Government, which has made this initiative so valuable for the country and a model to follow”, AKAH CEO Hadi Husani noted.  

The Principal of School #9 in Khidorjev village, Khumorikov Hokimsho acknowledged the contribution this project makes, not only to health but also to education: “For many years the community lacked access to piped water supply, and the villagers, especially the school children had to fetch water from the Shokhdara River, a dangerous undertaking which affected their health and school attendance.  Today, the water taps located right in their yards relieve them of this tiresome duty, enabling them to concentrate fully on learning.”