In-depth

Programme overview


Woman working on the fields, Photo by Mikhail Romanyuk

Globally, UNDP advocates for nationally-owned solutions to reduce poverty and promote human development. UNDP sponsors innovative pilot projects, connects countries to global good practices and resources, promotes the role of women in development, and brings governments, civil society and outside funders together to coordinate their efforts.

In Tajikistan, UNDP contributes to poverty reduction both by working on the central policy level and by supporting local level development. On the policy level, UNDP and its sister UN agencies have been active in supporting the government of Tajikistan to align its development planning with the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). At the local level UNDP supports implementation of national development priorities which is mainly carried out by the Communities Programme.

UNDP’s Communities Programme (CP) is aimed at the sustainable development of the most marginalized communities throughout the country. CP is a multi-year initiative launched in 2003 and built on the previous achievements of UNDP since 1996. UNDP CP supports localization and operationalization of the MDGs and the implementation of Tajikistan’s National Development Strategy 2015, Livelihood Improvement Strategy 2013-2015. The mission of UNDP CP is to support poverty reduction efforts of the Government of Tajikistan through improving local governance and creating conditions for sustainable local economic development. CP’s operations on ground are implemented through five Area Offices (AO) located in Sughd and Khatlon regions, as well as in the Rasht and Zerafshan valleys. To date, UNDP CPs operations have covered 2/3 of the country’s territory and 4 out of 10 people living in the country.

Owing to its strong network of local, national, and international partners, CP goes beyond its focus areas – reduced poverty and improved local governance – and substantially contributes to other areas addressing development challenges related to health, crises prevention and recovery, as well as energy and environment. UNDP CP applies an integrated approach to local development. This is achieved by enhancing both the supply and demand sides of governance. On the supply side, CP has consistently engaged with local, sub-national and national governments in order to improve governance accountability, accessibility and representation, and to bring about positive changes in poverty alleviation across the country. On the demand side, UNDP CP builds the capacity of the civil society and private sector representatives and thereby ensures their active engagement in local planning and decision making processes. At the same time, CP provides tools such as methodology on district development planning and creates platforms such as participatory District Planning Process that brings together the supply and demand sides around their needs. To date, with the support of UNDP CP, 33 out of 67 districts and towns of the country have been covered with the planning process.

The Communities Programme applies programmatic approach and sharpens focus on sustainability. CP contributes to the following key pillars of UNDP’s Country Programme Document:

  • build capacities of sub-national governments to plan, budget and monitor development on their territories in a participatory and inclusive way and in line with PRS targets, as well as to secure investments and provide public services in such areas as rural economic development, natural resources management, health and disaster risk management, and
  • enhance capacities of private sector and civil society to develop, participate in decision-making, exercise influence and hold governments accountable.

During the current phase, the Programme intents to build stronger linkages by feeding policy level discussions with evidence generates as result of the programme’s work in the field. This will be achieved through supporting national institutions in elaboration and setting key policies, reforms, framework regulations and other strategic documents within the areas of UNDP CP’s interventions.

What is Communities Programme?


We are a development programme aimed at improving livelihoods of the poor and marginalised community groups.

Who do we work with and why?

  • We work with the local governments to make sure they deliver quality services for the poor.
  • We work with the private sector to make sure they generate employment for the poor.
  • We work with the poor themselves to bring confidence in their plans for tomorrow.

How do we work?

  • We don’t create new knowledge, but rather build on existing experiences.
  • We don’t create new structures, but strengthen existing ones.
  • We don’t duplicate, but rather complement the work that has already started.
  • We don’t impose new ideas, but rather support the ones coming from our beneficiaries.
  • We first talk about the available resources and only thereafter we talk about the missing ones.
  • Whatever we do, we make sure that we have men and women, young and elderly, without questioning ethnicity and any other minority groups they represent.

Key achievements:


  • A methodology on participatory development planning process developed jointly with and further endorsed by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. Mainstreamed poverty, climate change, environment, energy, gender, migration, and disaster and conflict prevention into local development programmes. As a result, 33 districts have formulated participatory district development plans benefiting over 2,5mln people;
  • Supported the design of the Soughd Regional Trade Development Strategy further adopted by the Soughd Regional Administration;
  • Strengthened capacities of and the dialogue between public, private sectors and CSO, and ensured their active participation in promoting and implementing reforms for good governance and  local economic development;
  • Improved access to finance to more than 150,000 beneficiaries including 40% women to enhance income generation and to create employment/self-employment as well as established Business Challenge Fund for SMEs;
  • Strengthened cross border collaboration  through improving opportunities for regional and cross border economic development between bordering districts of Tajikistan and Afghanistan;
  • Facilitated and promoted establishment of local  public and private dialogue platforms aimed at  improving business environment and economic development conditions;