Community development helping to provide local services during harsh winter

Local people gathered at the new kindergarten building
Local people in Naryn province village gathered at the newly built kindergarten.

Communities helped improve local health and education services in the villages of Kuybishev, Uchkun and Kazybek in Naryn Province.

The village of Kazybek sits at the foot of the mountains, and winter is harsh with an average winter temperature of -20Cº and a low of -40Cº. New heating systems were installed at the kindergarten and the hospital in Kazybek, At-Bashy District.

Highlights

  • Over 100 children are now able to attend the kindergarten all year round
  • A new electrical power transformer installed for 200 residents
  • Improved irrigation of additional 2,000 hectares of land used by 650 families
  • A new heating system for a local school for 600 students

Previously, the kindergarten was only open during the warmer seasons and closed for the winter – for nearly five months from November through March – leaving 117 children at home. The heating system supplies both heat and hot water. 

"We launched our kindergarten in 2003 from scratch as a community initiative and worked without a salary for nearly six years," says director Gulayim Moldakunova. "With parents’ support and promotion, the kindergarten is now funded from the municipal budget since April 2009 which enabled us to hire full-time staff."

"We have three teachers and technical personnel and can keep kids for almost four hours in the kindergarten even during the winter season thanks to the new heating system. As a next step, we are going to raise funds to purchase beds for children to be able to keep them for a longer period of six to seven hours a day."

Being able to send children to kindergarten frees up time for parents, in particular mothers, to earn a living and provide much needed income for their families.

All initiatives were identified during joint planning with the local communities and government.

They also helped to pay for the community projects (with approximately $45,000), with additional funding from a Millennium Development Goals grant (of approximately $57,000).

UNDP in Kyrgyzstan brought together provincial and local self-government officials and communities in Kuibyshev, Uchkun, Kulanak, and Kazybek in Naryn Province. UNDP helped communities in the “model Millennium Development Goal villages” to articulate their goals and objectives for community development. These strategic community development plans also helped to integrate short and long term, genuine and diverse local needs into the province’s development plan.

"In the course of identifying needs, communities realized that the key socioeconomic needs of young families have been ignored and marginalized resulting in greater local poverty," says Guljigit Ermatov, UNDP Capacity Development and Knowledge Management Component Coordinator.

"Young families experienced a permanent shortage of basic infrastructure such as electricity and heating, especially in winter, contributing to resentment and marginalization. Local stakeholders also articulated the importance of preschool education in addressing issues of gender inequality and child health in the community."

Full basic health services restored thanks to new heating system

Previously, doctors were not able to provide full medical services to patients during winter months, and hospital staff had limited shifts.

Now the community has access to full basic medical services, including pediatrics and obstetrics, helping to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and address HIV/AIDS.

Approximately 200 residents in new settlements near Kazybek received a 100 kW transformer substation, which provides uninterrupted electricity to all residents, and Kytat channel was reconstructed and cleaned – helping to improve the lives of 650 families now able to irrigate an additional 2,000 hectares of land.

This will help to increase the harvest by at least 20 percent, also helping to increase family incomes.

Residents in the village of Kuybishev have experienced problems with energy supplies for many years. The community successfully applied for a grant to build a new transformer substation.

More than 40 families now have an uninterrupted supply of electricity. This issue is especially acute during winter, since most families cannot buy coal or use electric heaters.  This new supply of electricity also allows for processing of grain, dairy and meat products at home.

For the first time, residents of Kuybishev are able to send their children to their own kindergarten, which can accommodate 120 children.

Communities and local governments helped to pay for the new kindergarten, with financial assistance from the Public Foundation on Development of High-mountainous Communities (MSDSP), the Community Development and Investment Agency (ARIS) and UNDP.

Over 60 community members were involved in construction of the kindergarten and the kindergarten employs 10 people from the community.

The local community in the village of Min-Bulak started construction of a public sauna, which is expected to serve 400 people of Kuybishev village. The community wanted to provide favourable sanitary-epidemiological conditions in the communities.

Over 600 students and 64 staff members of Uchkun village high school were glad to hear that their school will have a heating system and they can forget the days when teachers had to come to the school before dawn to light a fire.

"Children would sit in coats in classrooms filled with smoke," said Ryskeldi Sydykov, the school’s logistics manager.

"When the frost came, the school had to send the children home to warm up. This affected the quality of education for our students. Now they can have a normal, uninterrupted education."

The community decided that the local government would provide the school with coal and conduct maintenance work.

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