"Water is life " a Beneficiary Interview - mission east
Islombeg-Bobo is a 67-year-old man from Ushkharv, a remote and mountainous village in Darvoz District Tajikistan, where he was born in 1945.
He lives in the village with eight other family members in a 3-room mud-and-stone house that is not earthquake resistant.
Few or no hygiene and sanitation facilities are found within his compound. The family has no private toilet: defecation takes place in the open air, the livestock shed is next to the house, and there is no water tap close to the house. The family is therefore exposed to parasitic infections and other pest and waterborne diseases that seriously affect the health of the children, adults and elderly people in the family.
Islomberg-Bobo's government pension of 50 USD a month does not cover the household's basic monthly costs. From halfway through the winter until the next harvest period the family often experiences hunger. One of Islombeg's sons is physically handicapped and two of his grandsons are mentally handicapped. They need additional care and can only make a very limited contribution to the household's income.
With the PATRIP project the living conditions of the Islomberg-family are to change. "After the collapse of the Soviet government we never thought we would get any more support. Now that day has come."
The closest water-point for the Islomberg-family is about 300 metres from the house. Due to the mountainous area, the walk to the tap along a slippery slope takes 40-45 minutes. The family of eight needs 80 litres a day to meet their basic needs for washing, cooking, cleaning and also self-sufficient gardening. See Figure below in line with the international SPHERE standards. One walk to the water tap brings in two 10-litre buckets of water. The household therefore needs 8 trips a day to meet their basic water requirements! This results in 6 hours a day being spent on water collection only.
In practice, the Islomberg-household and many other families with them, compromise on hygiene in all areas: cooking, cleaning, washing, etc. A piped village water system which would bring the water down the hill into the village would save hours every day, in particular for Islomberg's only daughter, on whose shoulders most of the household water collection chore rests. After the system was build she replied: "It is said that water is life and for us life is now much better".
Parallel to the construction of the water system, there has been a change in people's attitudes towards hygiene in the village. "Day by day, I am noticing that the people of our village are trying to pay serious attention to keeping the yards and streets clean, to have kids wash their hands, and others are trying to manage waste water better in order to avoid the water-borne diseases that the Village Health Team has talked about."
The PATRIP supported project in Badak
shan area has been set up with the aim of reducing chronic vulnerability to Tajikistan.disease and malnutrition among families, and improving the living conditions of families in extremely remote rural villages on the border of Afghanistan and
Islomberg-Bobo is aware of this: the nearest medical centre for the villagers of Ushkharv is located 45 kilometres away: an hour-long trip through the mountains - if it is accessible at all, as mud-slides and floods often block the roads to the centre. "With the hospital being so far away and the need to spend 80-90 Somoni for a trip, a visit will cost us almost a week's worth of food for the whole family. It is therefore important to apply what the team has been teaching us. I am sure that if we can continue with these activities and maintain this new mood of courage within our village, our family will be better protected and we won't need to visit the doctor so frequently."
Figure 1. Basic use of water for an 8-person household