THE WORLD BANK GROUP A World Free of Poverty

Summer is hot in the Kyrgyz Republic while the winter is freezing. The land is mountainous and villages are often remote and difficult to reach except on horseback.

A Need for Safe Drinking Water
Need for Safe drinking Water.
Water for the household is hard to come by in these villages. Most of the standpipes that were provided during the Soviet era have stopped working and now the women and children have to carry large bucketfuls from the springs and streams down narrow tracks to meet their needs. In winter the streams freeze over , while in summer livestock share the streams to drink and bathe there. In most cases the water is not safe to drink . The incidence of water- borne disease is rising and recent years have seen outbreaks of typhoid and hepatitis and a rise in infant mortality.


Consulting People at Each Stage
Since March 2002, the World Bank has sought to help the poorest oblasts of Naryn and Talas, as well as Issyk Kul, make safe drinking water available to their people at a very low cost. In order to promote a sense of ownership and ensure that community assets are cared for, the people of the local villages have been involved at each stage of the project, from planning, to operation and maintenance. This Community Driven Development approach is a reversal of the system of central control that was the norm during the Soviet era, and the response from local communities has been very enthusiastic.

Leaving Decisions to the Community
At the outset the villagers are explained the various options available to them, ranging from hand pumps to piped water systems, leaving them to decide whether they want to participate. Once decided, they are free to choose the option that is best suited to them, based on their ability to contribute to the cost and maintenance of the system. Experts then assist them in designing and calculating the cost of the project, with every effort being made to use local know-how and materials. Involving local workers at each stage not only increases community participation, but also ensures that skills are developed to maintain the system on an ongoing basis.

A Sense of Ownership

Solutions vary from village to village, depending on local conditions and the ability of the community to sustain the project on an ongoing basis. Pilot projects are presently being conducted in 15 villages , with construction being undertaken in the warm summer months from April to September. In 2003 it is hoped to involve an additional fifty villages. Judging by the response so far, there is great eagerness to participate.
Although the participatory process takes longer to implement, it builds a strong sense of ownership. Said Altinai, a young woman who lives in the village of Mantysh in Naryn oblast, The new water system will make a great difference to our lives and we will make sure it works.

Task Team Leader : Jonathan S. Kamkwalala
For more details of the project , please click here