The Road to Peace

A 2 km road that connects three villages in Nookat district in the south Kyrgyzstan.
A 2 km road that connects three villages in Nookat district in the south Kyrgyzstan. Credit: UNDP in Kyrgyzstan

A 2,100-meter long road that connects three villages of Kenesh village district in the south of Kyrgyzstan has not been renovated for the last 30 years. Villagers tried to fix it from time to time with their own funds but collecting money has always been a painful process because of tensions between the Kyrgyz majority and the Uzbek minority. The road goes through areas mainly populated by Uzbeks, who constitute about 3 percent of the area population. As a result, almost 13,000 people living in three villages had to struggle with the bad road, while interethnic relations remained tense.

Highlights

  • 2,100-meter long road that connects three villages of Kenesh village district in the south of Kyrgyzstan has not been renovated for the last 30 years.
  • Almost 13,000 people living in three villages had to struggle with the bad road, while interethnic relations remained tense.
  • UNDP provided a one-million-som grant money to purchase machinery, asphalt, tools and other materials.

In April 2013, the road was fully repaired as part of UNDP’s project on conflict prevention at the local level. Soop Kochu, a local NGO, engaged local people in renovation works: men were doing the actual renovation works, while women prepared food for workers. UNDP provided a one-million-som grant money to purchase machinery, asphalt, tools and other materials.

“Apart from improved infrastructure for thousands of villagers, the work also had a reconciliation effect as many Uzbek and Kyrgyz residents of neighboring villages worked on the road together. They shared a common food every evening after a hard work,” says Kurbanali Osmonov, head of Soop Kochu.

Renovation of the road in Kenesh village district was part of larger efforts of UNDP to support peace infrastructure in the south of Kyrgyzstan after a major interethnic conflict that took place in Osh, second largest city in the country, in June 2010. More than 400 people died in the conflict, while over 200,­­­­000 people were displaced. In the last three years, the situation was stabilized, although some tensions remain.