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February 26, 2004

NEW JOINT ACTIVITY ON IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT IN DONOR ORGANIZATIONS PROJECTS

On February 24-26 the USAID Central Asia Natural Resources Management Program (NRMP) and the World Bank Institute-financed Community Empowerment Network Project (CEN) organized a joint field visit and roundtable on the Importance of Community Involvement in Donor Organization Projects. The discussion focused on the future sustainability of the NRMP Water District Improvement Project in the Surkhandarya region of Uzbekistan.

Over 30 participants met with the NRMP and Amu-Surkhan Basin Irrigation Systems Authority staff to determine how to raise community awareness on project benefits, encourage NGO involvement in the decision-making process and increase further stakeholder participation. The discussion group included NGOs, government authorities, donor organizations such as the World Bank and Europe Aid, academic institutions and journalists from Fergana, Khorezm, Samarkand, Surkhandarya, Tashkent and the Republic of Karakalpakstan.

As Max McGowan, USAID/NRMP Water Task Leader says, the goal is to help make irrigation more reliable and productive throughout Surkhandarya. NRMPs main focus in Surkhandarya has been to assist the Amu-Surkhan Basin Irrigation Systems Authority to improve the main canal system. However, there are many organizations and many community-level agencies that are interested and committed to these same objectives. This event is about finding practical recommendations and opportunities for collaboration that can help us achieve our goals together.

During the field trip, participants learned about the project by observing NRMPs irrigation rehabilitation activities currently underway in Ok-Tepa, Jar-Kurgan, Zang 9, and Shorshara. Attention was also given to the NRMP Shallow Well Demonstration Project implemented at six locations throughout Surkhandarya. Shallow wells are a low cost way of producing enough water for supplemental irrigation supply to several hectares. NRMPs activities in Surkhandarya promote more efficient water monitoring and allocation that will result in improved water management and increased agricultural yields.

Charos Maksudova, Coordinator of the WB CEN Project in Uzbekistan commented that this is the third event we have conducted with USAID/NRMP to promote cooperation between NGOs, government and donor organizations in order to find solutions to make donor organization projects more sustainable. With a strong commitment from local leaders and a well-developed plan, successful teamwork can benefit everyone.

 

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