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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06DUSHANBE2149 2006-11-29 05:53:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Dushanbe
Cable title:  

IN TAJIKISTAN'S WINDY CITY, LOCAL GOVERNMENT WELCOMES NGO

Tags:   PGOV KHUM KDEM ENRG TI 
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VZCZCXRO0906
PP RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHDBU #2149/01 3330553
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P R 290553Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9144
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 1886
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1922
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1913
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 0642
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 002149 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KHUM KDEM ENRG TI
SUBJECT: IN TAJIKISTAN'S WINDY CITY, LOCAL GOVERNMENT WELCOMES NGO
WORK


DUSHANBE 00002149 001.2 OF 002




1. (U) SUMMARY: Whether building bridges, running an internet
access center, or publishing youth newspapers, international and
local NGOs operate effectively and with few bureaucratic
barriers in the city and district of Faisobod. District
Chairman Ismatullo Zaidov was quick to praise NGO contributions,
and noted the "excellent" working relationship his
administration maintains with local and Dushanbe-based
organizations. Zaidov and others called for help investing in
small-scale food processing operations to provide employment,
increase trade and avoid wasting Faisobod's fruit and vegetable
bounty. The agriculture-based district's single industrial
enterprise is a small Soviet-built cannery, which operated for
only two months this summer due to a nationwide shortage of
glass jars and sits idle now because of a lack of electricity.
Zaidov made a special push for increased exchanges and English
language instruction, noting the disadvantage Tajiks face by not
knowing English. Faisobod's residents and government seemed
positive about the future, despite a lack of economic
development and a crumbling infrastructure. END SUMMARY



2. (SBU) During a November 24 visit, Zaidov told EmbOffs the
district had a strong record of cooperation between his
"hukumat" (local government) and the local NGO community. Local
NGOs set up small knitting and sewing workshops and formed local
youth groups. International NGOs such as the U.S.-based IREX,
Aga Khan Foundation, CESVI (an Italian organization), Open
Society Institute, Relief International, and Counterpart
conducted a range of civil society, education, health and
construction projects. Zaidov had no complaints about any of
their projects, and seemed unaware of issues of registration and
reporting in Dushanbe.



3. (U) As in most of Tajikistan, conditions are basic.
Electricity is severely rationed from November to March, with
three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening.
Homes, schools, and offices rely on outdoor latrines, which at
40 degrees in windy conditions, made for a very cold bathroom
break during the visit. Most families have at least one male
member working in Russia, sometimes more, leaving women to raise
and sometimes support the family. Faisobod lies at the
southwestern end of the Rasht valley, on the road to Kyrgyzstan,
but sees little transit traffic and practically no trade with
its northern neighbor due to poor road conditions and lack of
established markets.



4. (U) Faisobod produces tons of organic apples, pears,
tomatoes and potatoes, but has extremely limited processing
facilities to maximize profits and package the produce for
markets further than Dushanbe and Khujand. Some residents
estimated that 25 percent of the harvest goes to waste. The
single canning factory used to have the capacity to produce up
to 3.5 million jars of preserves, but last summer turned out
only 80,000, when Tajikistan's only glass factory in the
northern city of Khujand was unable to provide it with
containers. A poultry farm down the road offered only limited
employment opportunities.



5. (SBU) However, Zaidov noted the great improvements in the
standard of living in Faisobod and offered some pointed
suggestions for development projects. "We now have imported
candies!" he gestured to a dish. As long as economic assistance
continued, the standard would continue to rise, but they needed
food processing facilities for employment. "We could use small
wind-power stations," he said, noting Faisobod's well-deserved
reputation for being one of the windiest spots in Tajikistan.
(COMMENT: Based on conditions during the visit, we concur. END
COMMENT.) "We need better English teachers, too." Zaidov
praised the benefits of international exchanges, noting how it
allowed participants access to information and experiences they
could not get in Tajikistan.



6. (SBU) Local NGO heads echoed Zaidov's point about their
strong working relationship with the district administration.
The Hukumat staff member sitting in on one meeting may have
subtly reminded them about the importance of that dynamic, but
even in one-on-one conversations, the NGOs felt the Hukumat
supported their work. NGO Shohin displayed several colorful
editions of its children's newspaper "Parvin," with a
circulation of over 2600 copies every two weeks, might rank as
one of Tajikistan's most widely read papers. NGO Jasorat
established a legal advocacy center for women to help the
growing number of female heads of households. Civil society and
health projects from the U.S.-funded IREX and Strav-plus
supported the local NGO Faizbaiksh to help set up knitting

DUSHANBE 00002149 002.2 OF 002


workshops and conduct seminars on human rights, and improve
drinking water quality. NGO Binokor worked closely with IREX
and CEVSI to improve drinking water and build small bridges on
mountain roads.



7. (SBU) EmbOffs stopped by the Relief International-run
Schools On-Line center, housed in School 35. Due to a poor
connection, the center had not had Internet for two days. "It's
always slow connection," said the new director, on the job only
two weeks. The Hukumat representative noted the center was the
only place in Faisobod with open internet access, and the
schedule was always full with students and residents. Despite
being hooked into the "clean" government power line, the school
did not have electricity when we visited. A generator sat in
the corner.



8. (SBU) COMMENT: Far from the bureaucratic and political
struggles facing some international organizations in Dushanbe,
NGOs in Faisobod seem to operate freely and effectively, limited
only by the finite amount of donor money. Due to a lack of
electricity and a lack of markets and transport networks, it's
unlikely any food processing facilities will be built until an
investor feels the infrastructure can truly support a small
enterprise. The productive operating environment for NGOs and
the strong push by local authorities for English language
instruction reinforce Post's convictions that a Peace Corps
program would be highly effective in Tajikistan. END COMMENT.
JACOBSON