Altiarik: two communities, two success stories – one way to development
Altiarik district of Fergana region is not famous only for its fresh air and beautiful landscape. Over the past two years success stories of five Mahalla populations, which are implementing community development projects in collaboration with the EU/UNDP "Enhancement of Living Standards" Programme, are being told by word of mouth more and more frequently. Moreover, these days 10 more previously non-target mahallas made presentations of their own community development plans. Today we will tell success stories of two mahallas of Alyarik district - "Alisher Navoi" and “Kumirchi”. Stories that laid a foundation for further prosperity of the community, district and region.
Success story #1: "Bridge of Cooperation, Hope, and Development"
The bridge over Tashlamasoy River in Altiarik district of Fergana region, which is an epicenter of the economic relationship of three villages serving 15 thousand inhabitants of ten local communities, started functioning since the beginning of 2011.
Constructed with the support EU/UNDP "Enhancement of Living Standards” project in late 2010, the bridge triggered the revival of Cattle Market’s "economic life", located on 2 hectares of land and not functioning for a long time. Most importantly, this connection initiated the construction of short 4 km highway with 30 m width that will connect Khamza and Poloson towns with Altiarik district center and Kiziltepa residential community of Central Fergana - the project which has been, for some years now, incorporated into the General District Plan in accordance with State Program on socio-economic development of Fergana region.
Exactly aforementioned facts are the main reasons for "Construction of a bridge over Tashlamasoy river and establishment of hydroelectric complex to provide population with irrigation water" project being selected as a priority development project of our "Kumirchi” community, - says Gennady Aminov, a member of the initiative group of Altiarik Village Community Council.
Establishment of hydro electric system, which will provide water to Kumirchi mahalla population will improve family budgets of over 400 households, which, as a result of an efficient land management will increase profit by more than 4 times. This, in turn, is the main guarantee of increasing the level and living conditions, as well as the profit of villagers whose main sources of income are sales of products grown in farmer households, gardens and vineyards. This compound was constructed with the support of entrepreneurs and professional builders, veterans and youth, or, in other words, residents of Altiarik and Poloson villages from 7 to 70 years old, who were in the position of participating in hashar initiated in relation to construction of the bridge. Along with 27 million soums of ELS contribution, this initiative was actively supported by district Khokimiyat as well.
During the bridge construction people fully demonstrated all their dedication and commitment. For a very short period of time, the construction of the bridge that connects the shore to shore, and heart to heart was completed. The bridge is indeed the symbol of unification of residents of different villages, working nip and tuck during the construction, as well as partners, who contributed to the bridge construction.
Success Story #2. "The value of every drop"
For several years now, "Alisher Navoi" Mahalla residents have been experiencing problems with the water for irrigation. Big Fergana Channel, which is the main source of flowing water, is located 8 km away from the Mahalla. Shahimardansay runoff that previously provided water for the whole village currently is not able to supply water to residents because of the increasing number of irrigated lands. As a result, to ensure that water reaches the Mahalla, residents had to stay up all night and watch, which is, of course, creates great difficulties.
As a result of cooperating with EU/UNDP "Enhancement of Living Standards” project we were able to implement the project on establishment of irrigation system in considerably short period of time, just in 20 days - says during our conversation “Alisher Navoi” community initiative group leader Khalimjon Urinboev.
Henceforth, more than 1500 residents are now able to use flowing water, which has increased profits from the households’ backyard for up to 160%. At that, the total budget of the project constituted more than 35 million soums with 36% contribution of the ELS Programme. Moreover, the enhancement of the community activists capacity was also under a consideration, who are during the trainings in cooperation with the World Bank were able to improve their knowledge and skills in such fields, as preparing and managing development projects, fund raising, monitoring and evaluation, strategic planning and problem solving.
The benefits received from training in collaboration with the World Bank were also appreciated by the Head of the UN Regional Office for Europe and the CIS, Mr. Mahmood Ayub, - joined to our conversation Sharofiddin Mirzaev, member of the initiative group. – We could gain knowledge on effective water management and increasing soil productivity. Now, according to our Community Development Plan, elaborated through 2013, the whole package of documents on “Mahalla Banquet Hall” is prepared, which laid the groundwork for the start of construction.
District Project Coordinator and the Deputy Altiarik District Khokim Saidjon Zakirov cannot hide his impressions: "Despite the fact that I work in this position only a few months, I could see with my own eyes the benefit gained by the population from the ELS activity in the Fergana Valley. The main advantage of the program is that it comes from the real needs of communities, as well as conducts its activities in close collaboration with local authorities.
These days 10 new Mahallas previously no taken part in UNDP activities, have presented their Community Development Plans. Not surprisingly, if these plans will be integrated into governmental programs on socio-economic development of districts and Fergana region.