Tajikistan faces many challenges, including extreme poverty, food insecurity, low economic productivity, declining literacy rates, high unemployment and a growing prevalence of tuberculosis (TB). With a highly mobile population of 8 million people, Tajikistan grapples with crippling diseases such as multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) and HIV/AIDS. The country ranks as one of the most remittance-dependent economies in the world, with remittances equaling 52 percent of the gross domestic product. These conditions, coupled with winter power shortages and undernutrition, leave Tajikistan vulnerable to economic and social shocks.
USAID partners with the people of Tajikistan to overcome these development challenges. The U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative addresses food insecurity by improving agricultural production and profitability as well as improving nutrition outcomes for mothers and their children. USAID strengthens civil society and local governance and supports implementation of national education and health strategies. In the energy sector, USAID promotes closer economic integration among the Central Asian countries and between Central and South Asia by helping to create an economically competitive regional energy market that will increase access to and stabilize the cost of energy for the people of Tajikistan. Key accomplishments include:
- Since 2010, USAID has established and registered 56 water users associations, providing nearly 100,000 farmers with irrigation water to improve food security;
- USAID advanced local governance reform by supporting an Inter-Ministerial Working Group that passed legislation enabling four pilot municipalities to control their own budgets for the first time ever;
- A USAID-funded network of legal aid centers has helped more than 27,000 farmers learn about and assert their land use rights since 2010.
Agriculture and Food Security
Nearly 10 percent of Tajiks live in extreme poverty and more than one-quarter of children under 5 are stunted. The U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative helps farmers increase production of profitable, nutritious crops while teaching families more balanced dietary habits. Feed the Future targets smallholder farmers living in 12 districts in southwestern Khatlon, where the largest concentrations of poor, at-risk populations live. Efforts include increasing the availability of diverse, nutritious crops while strengthening the foundation of agriculture: secure access to land and water. USAID has helped many farmers in Tajikistan gain reliable, legal access to these essential resources for the first time in decades. USAID has organized 56 new water users associations, benefiting over 100,000 farmers, improving irrigation water management and increasing crop yields on over 120,000 hectares (296,500 acres) of land. Through a network of legal aid centers, USAID has provided legal consultations to 27,000 farmers on their land use rights.
Democracy, Human Rights and Governance
To strengthen stability throughout Tajikistan, USAID promotes improved local governance and service delivery, in addition to increasing citizen participation in local government decision-making. Further, USAID strengthens media legislation to enable independent and objective journalism, and supports independent media outlets in their production of satellite broadcast content on issues concerning the public, including consumer awareness and life skills. USAID also works to fight human trafficking and builds the capacity of civil society organizations. More than 60 percent of Tajikistan’s 3,000 non-governmental organizations received USAID assistance with their legal re-registration efforts in compliance with changing legislation, and USAID’s civic education project is bringing together leaders across Central Asia to learn from each other and better meet the needs of their constituents.
Health and Education
USAID also works to improve maternal and child health, nutrition, and family planning. Activities are aligned with our Feed the Future portfolio in the Khatlon region, where over 30 percent of children under 5 suffer from stunted growth. As a result of USAID activities, exclusive breastfeeding has increased from 37 percent to 85 percent since 2009 in target areas. USAID’s programs enhance prevention and treatment services for TB, MDR TB and HIV/AIDS for the general population, with a particular emphasis on the most at-risk populations.
With 50 percent of Tajikistan’s fourth graders unable to read at grade level, USAID education programs work to bolster the reading culture for pre-primary and primary school students. Efforts focus on improved reading instruction, increased availability of appropriate reading materials, greater after-school reading time and renewed government support for literacy. Other activities target older students, especially girls, who are most at risk of dropping out of school. USAID also supports cross-border vocational education through courses in English, information technology, accounting and construction for participants from Tajikistan and Afghanistan to foster cooperation and improve employability in both countries.
Last updated: March 24, 2016