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The Governor of Issyk Kul Oblast Welcomed the “Home Comforts” Project

Towards affordable rural infrastructure and new business opportunities in the Issyk-Kul villages, Kyrgyzstan.

11.01.2012 |Claudia Wendland

The winter is beautiful in the Kyrgyz landscape, cold and snow have covered the Kyrgyz landscape again, which is however a yearly recurring challenges for the rural people.The winter in the villages is much more difficult than in the cities, there is a large divide related to the infrastructure, water, sanitation and heating, which hinders, not only but especially in the cold months the economic development such as touristic activities in the rural areas.

Read the article in the Times of Central Asia.

The EuropeAid funded project “Home comforts” demonstrates solutions how to find affordable and sustainable ways towards improved living conditions in rural areas of Kyrgyzstan. “It is so important to bridge the divide between rural and urban areas in Kyrgyzstan“, says Anara Choitonbaeva, chairman of the Kyrgyz Alliance for Water and Sanitation (KAWS), “thus applying adapted and sustainable technologies for rural areas.” She coordinates the activities taking place in nine villages in the Issyk-Kul oblast. “Especially women and girls are suffering from insufficient infrastructure in the villages”, adds Aijamal Bakashova, gender expert of ALGA, who prepared the baseline study about the situation in the villages.

Anara Choitonbaeva, Project Coordinator from KAWS
Anara Choitonbaeva, Project Coordinator from KAWS

The selected adapted technologies cover three aspects essential for an improved living standard: comfortable heating, warm water and safe sanitation in the house. Energy efficient stoves, solar collectors for warm water and ECOSAN toilets have been installed in each of the nine villages for demonstration. They are located in public places, mostly in the Community Drinking Water Users Unions (CDWUU) so that the villagers can see and touch the new technologies, e.g. in the village Chyrak, the energy efficient stoves were installed in the post office and in Toguz Balak in the village ambulatory. “The energy efficient stove is an advanced stove technology which saves fuel, heats more space and protects the indoor air quality better than a traditional stove”, argues Ruslan Isaev, expert of Camp Ala-Too. 18 stove masters were trained by Camp Ala-Too in October this year and more than 20 stoves have been constructed up to now by the new stove masters.

Ecosan toilet in the demonstration center in Munduz village

The ECOSAN toilet is an innovative technology which does not need water for flushing neither smells nor attracts flies. “We appreciate that the ECOSAN toilet can be implemented inside the house or attached to the house,” says Imash Azarbaev, chairman of CDWUU in Chyrak and elected president of the CDWUU’s network of Jeti-Oguz rayon. The CDWUUs will support the construction, operation and maintenance of the ECOSAN sanitation facilities in the villages. The toilet seats and the doors are produced in the installed resource centre.

Energy efficient stove in the demonstration center in Munduz village

The solar collector built from local material makes use of the suns energy, provides warm water for the houses and will complement the home infrastructure. Bakyt Choitonbaev, chairman of Territorial Self-governance Public Union “Bokonbae-Manjyly” of the village Bokonbaev underlines, “the energy efficient stove, the solar collector and the ECOSAN toilet are the infrastructure needed for a guest house to set up tourist business activities.”

A boy benefiting from warm water from solar collectors

“After successful installation of demonstration objects, the key challenge for sustainably implementing and up-scaling the environmental infrastructure technologies are the lacking financing options for the villagers”, explains Claudia Wendland, the overall project coordinator at WECF, Women in Europe for a Common Future, “there are many micro finance opportunities in Kyrgyzstan available, however they offer commonly high interest rates which are unaffordable for many villagers. Thus social financial mechanisms for this type of infrastructure up-scaling in rural areas are needed. The project foresees a social housing microcredit scheme being made available for the villagers.” The governor of Issyk-Kul oblast, Mirbek Asanakunov, welcomed a delegation from the village and the project coordinators on 14 December 2011 : “these activities are very important for the Issyk-Kul oblast and will be integrated into the strategy development plan”. He promised to visit the project villages soon and to support all project activities.

To read more about the project, please visit Kyrgyzstan: Creating local capacity for improved rural living standards via sustainable energy and sanitation.

Learn more about WECF activities in the fields of Water & Sanitation and Energy & Climate.

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