Church works to provide clean water in Tajikistan

The Church is helping fund a two-year project in rural Tajikistan, working with Catholic relief agency Caritas

In Qubodiyon township in southwestern Tajikistan, 90 percent of the 12,000 residents lacked clean water and sanitation facilities. They had little knowledge of proper hygiene and sanitation practices, therefore becoming prone to diseases.

But now this community has new resources to help. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is working with Catholic relief agency Caritas to fund a two-year project in rural Tajikistan — a country in Central Asia surrounded by Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Caritas Tajikistan is halfway through the Qubodiyon project, which involves restoring and expanding two water supply systems, improving residents’ access to safe drinking water, improving sanitary facilities in the community’s schools, conducting sanitation and hygiene training and improving the waste handling infrastructure, reported the Church’s UK Newsroom.

One of the main focuses of the project is area schools, with improved infrastructure, new facilities and training. School children are receiving education on hygiene, sanitation and waste management.

Elder Robert and Sister Lizzie Harrop, a Church Humanitarian Service missionary couple who lead the project, reported that 69 training sessions for youth and adults were held in 2022.

Students receive training on proper hygiene and sanitation in Qubodiyon, Tajikistan, in a picture released on World Water Day, March 22, 2023. The Church and Caritas are working together on clean water projects in the country. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Ongoing training and tools provided to the local municipality will promote sustainability, self-sufficiency and ownership of the water systems. And the new facilities and knowledge will improve the lives of the rising generation, providing benefits in decades to come. 

Yormahmad Kholov, director of Caritas Tajikistan, said the project is doing well. Already, four schools with 3,000+ students are connected to the new or renovated public water supply systems.

“Work on improved public sanitation is going on in three communities and in three target schools. Students are already using improved sanitation facilities. Perhaps most important are the awareness-raising activities, with students and with the adult population,” Kholov said.

Gilles François, the Church’s Humanitarian Services manager for the Europe Central Area, said, “This is wonderful, practical, enduring service. It’s making a lasting difference for this community, and particularly for its rising generation. And it’s wonderful to collaborate with like-minded humanitarian organizations like Caritas. Together we accomplish much more that we could individually.”

Clean water priorities

Workers Install equipment at a borehole at the Akcha water pump station in Tajikistan in a picture released on World Water Day, March 22, 2023. The Church and Caritas are working together on clean water projects in the country. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

March 22 is World Water Day and also the beginning of the United Nations 2023 Water Conference, which Tajikistan is co-chairing.

One billion people suffer thirst and disease because they lack clean water, explained the Newsroom report. Tajikistan is the initiator of several global water initiatives supported by the UN, including sustainable development and management of water resources.

The Newsroom report explained that since the beginning of its Clean Water initiative in 2002, the Church has funded or partially funded over 1,750 clean water projects in 94 countries on six continents. In 2022, the Church supported over 150 such projects in 58 countries. Twenty-three of those projects were in Europe and central Eurasia, including the Qubodiyon project in Tajikistan.

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