Tajikistan – helping people help themselves | Mission East

Tajikistan – helping people help themselves

During the Communist regime in the ex-Soviet republic of Tajikistan everything was decided centrally. After the collapse of the Soviet regime and the civil war which followed, the country faces huge challenges of governance and of poverty. Mission East helps numerous communities to take development into their own hands. Peter Blum Samuelsen, Vice-Managing Director of Mission East has been to Tajikistan.
“I am excited by how far we have come working together here in our village. Previously we just tried to survive each on our own, but now we have a strong community organisation that enables us to solve our problems together step by step,”explains Kabibullo Saiobidov chairman of the community organisation ‘Gairat’, Gulobod village.
Kabibullo Saiobidov is here with the Mission East manager for community development, Ghulomsho Lutfalier. They are going through the manual of the community organisation where all activities are recorded and planned. The manual holds information on the most important problems in the community, the members of the community organisation, meetings held, activities planned to improve local conditions, members’ agricultural and income generating activities.
Joint cash box
“The tools we have received from Mission East have been very useful. One of the most important ones is the tool for administration of a common cash box to which we all contribute,and by which we jointly control loans for members’ income-generating activities. It has been possible for us to build up a fund which gives us peace of mind and hope for the future,” explains Kabibullo Saiobidov. Community organisations like Ghaizat are the cornerstone of Mission East’s work in Tajikistan. It is such local structures, their motivation and choices which leads development and ensures its sustainability in the long run. In an ideal situation, organisations are formed without the help of Mission East and established community development organisations reach the point where they no longer need the support of Mission East.

Community organisation builds school
The community organisation Khucharkhi in the same region is a good example of local initiative. “We were moved from here to the cotton cooperatives in the valley by the Soviet regime in 1953. We returned in 1992 after the Soviet regime had collapsed. We were in the middle of a civil war and we returned to nothing. It was tough and is still tough but it has taught us to manage by ourselves and we have for instance build this school for our children,” explains Nurali Nuraev, who is teacher at the school and chairman of the
The area is poor in natural resources and has few sources of income but the community tries to survive through livestock and smallscale agriculture. They would like to formalize their organisation so that they can get ownership of the land but it is not easy. Mission East helps the community mainly to get access to water as that is the most pressing need in the community.

In 2005 Mission East helped 42 community organisations with their initiatives to improve the conditions for 48,000 inhabitants in their communities in Tajikistan. It is good to see when communities take development into their own hands and we help them in the direction they wish to go.
From Mission East's magazine September 2006