Chon-Alai: water of changes

Jun 1, 2016

Photo Credit: Mavliuda Khodzhaeva

Nearly three thousand Karamyk villagers in Chon-Alai rayon of Osh oblast have access to clean drinking water.

The border village of Karamyk in Chon-Alai rayon of Osh oblast, with a population of 2,800 citizens, is one of the most remote villages of our country. Lack of access to drinking water in the village, which is located at an altitude of 2400 meters above sea level was quite complicated due to utter absence of drinking water supply system. Quite a lot of efforts required to do that.

Thanks to the work of the local community and UNDP Osh-Area Based Development Programme initiative, the installation of a water pipe with a total length of 6.5 km to the spring, where the inhabitants had to carry water from, was completed in 2015. It became possible with the financial support of Coca-Cola Company and joint efforts of the Kyrgyz Government, the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme in Kyrgyzstan (MSDSP KG) - Initiative of Aga Khan Foundation and United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

Water examination in the spring showed its suitability for drinking. The volume of water delivery through the pipe is six to seven liters per second. The reservoir and chlorination were installed in the village that allow households, local school, medical and obstetric clinic and kindergarten access for safe drinking water. The project was prioritized by the local development strategy of local aiyl aimak. Funds were allocated from the local budget to support the works of the project by the decision of the local kenesh members.

"Thanks to the project, our lives have changed for the better. Now we don’t have to pack animals to carry jars and buckets as well as no need to use the water from the canal, which is polluted in the seasonal periods during rainfall and movement of livestock to pastures. Now we may spend more time taking care of children and do pleasant homework,”- says Kanym Myrzaeva, resident of the village.

During severe Chon-Alai winters, the water freezes and turns into a thick layer of ice. During this period, fetching water for local residents, especially children, was particularly dangerous. “There were a lot of cases when people came to our medical center with various injuries and bruises received while they were fetching the water. Moreover, every spring and summer we - the clinic staff members expected the season of patients coming to us with the gastrointestinal infections. The issues of infectious diseases among the children was very acute in our village. It might be difficult to believe, but the true is that since the water pipe was installed, we have not had a single case of patients with gastrointestinal and other infections,” - shares Azamjan Erkebaev, paramedic of the local obstetric clinic. According to him, the medical staff had difficulties in caring and treatment of patients due to the lack of safe water. For medical purposes, the water had to be boiled and filtered repeatedly through cheesecloth, due to the absence of a special water purification equipment.

The project is also working with the Health Committee of the local school, teachers, parents and health professionals to improve understanding of population on sanitary rules through information campaigns, workshops and distribution of information materials.

 “After the drinking water appeared at school, more pupils began to engage in sports, as now they can wash up and drink water and freshen up themselves after running in their physical education classes. This year, our pupils won 8 prizes at the regional sports competitions in athletics and wrestling. Previously our school never had such achievements,”- gladly noted Syrga Kalilova, the principle of the rural school named Lenin. The only school in Karamyk village is now establishing a school canteen for the students, which was impossible without the installation of drinking water system all these years.

“Providing access to improved drinking water sources is one of the Sustainable Development Goals objectives UNDP accordingly has initiated the project, which intends to assist the local self-governments in creation of a fair and effective system for the development of the villages through improving access to safe drinking water,”- said Mira Subankulova, Manager of the UNDP Osh-Area Based Programme.

Sustainability of the project results will be maintained by the rural public association of drinking water consumers (Association), which was created for the first time in the Aiyl Aimak based on the successful experience of UNDP in the Osh region. Association will be in charge of maintenance of the new water supply system and charge users for its services.

“Nowadays people are not always trustful in terms of raising funds for a common cause - they fear they will be deceived. Now, having seen the successful experience of our village, the residents of other villages of our Aiyl Aimak have already taken the initiative and also collected a contribution to improve the drinking water supply infrastructure in their villages,”- says Anafiya Tagaev, Head of Karamyk village.

The project was implemented within the framework of the project "Improving access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in rural areas of Kyrgyzstan" financed by Coca-Cola Company with the joint efforts of the Kyrgyz Government, the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme in Kyrgyzstan (MSDSP KG) - Initiative of Aga Khan Foundation, UNDP in the Kyrgyz Republic and United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

Mavliuda Khodzhaeva, Communications Specialist UNDP Osh Area Based Development Programme

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