“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is a process; working together is a success. Henry Ford.

Apr 3, 2017

Photo Courtesy: Mavliuda Khodzhaeva

During planting season, more than five thousand residents of Tajik and Kyrgyz villages use   water coming through canals. Community work is not something new for local people as they follow traditions of ancestors but this year it is held in quite a large-scale.

Improvement and strengthening of the trust between the youth of the border of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are part of UNDP project “Cross border co-operation for sustainable peace and development”, funded by UN Peacebuilding Fund. Joint activities included not only getting to know each other but also many other social projects aimed at uniting young people of both republics.

“More than 3,000 residents of the border villages of Ortoboz (KR) and Khozhi Alo (RT), Karabak (KR) and Lakkan (RT), Pasky-Aryk (KR) and Chorkuh (RT), Uch-Dobo (KR) and Khojai Aulo (RT), Ak-Sai (KR) and Vorukh (RT) conducted joint "Ashar" Saturday works to clean the canals, which supplies residents of these villages with irrigation water,” - says UNDP specialist Akyn Bakirov.

Implementation of the projects takes place in cooperation with local authorities and border services.

“For International Tolerance” project coordinator, Dooron Marzabaev noted that youth as well as other residents of the neighboring villages of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are involved in these events. According to him, it is not always easy to organize mass social events for youth as there is no conctant presence among young people aged 18 to 25. About 40% of the initiative group that was created within the project is being constantly changed due to the labor migration to Russia.

“Despite this, many from among the local youth participated in cross-border schools and developed action plans, aimed at establishing friendly relations among youth residing in the border region. These plans have been implemented since January 2017 in partnership with local authorities on both sides,” – explained Dooron.

“There were several senior aged people among of the volunteers, who took the role of the guiding leaders but also passed on their skills to mobilize the younger generation. “Hashar” (voluntary community work in Tajik language) is a joint labor, which certainly unites people. I always herd this from my father, and now I am telling this to my grandchildren.” – said the resident of Laykkon village (RT) Abdul Malikov.

Most of the time residents spend in the field. This is also a wonderful opportunity to meet citizens of one republic with friends from another including those they met in cross-border friendship camps that had been taken place earlier in Osh.

Mavliuda Khodzhaeva, UNDP PR/Communications Specialist, Osh/Batken Area Based Development Programme