Uzbekistan to improve rural services, infrastructure with community participation

TASHKENT (TCA) — The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a $100 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Prosperous Villages Project in Uzbekistan. The project will improve the quality of basic infrastructure, including schools, roads and internet service, with village residents deciding collectively which priorities will receive funding, the World Bank said.

“This is a very exciting project because it will directly help people in rural villages through investments in their communal assets and services,” says Hideki Mori, World Bank Country Manager for Uzbekistan. “Furthermore, it will help strengthen the partnership between the villagers and the Government by ensuring the active participation of villagers—both men and women, old and young—in decision making on matters that have a direct impact on their day-to-day lives.”

Participating rural communities may select small-scale rehabilitation or construction projects of facilities including kindergartens, schools, health clinics, tertiary roads, street lighting, bus terminals and stops, and even antennas for wireless internet. They can also make improvements to water supply and sanitation or solid waste management among others.

Approximately 300 villages in Andijan, Ferghana, Namangan, Jizzakh, and Syrdarya regions of Uzbekistan will receive funding for community-level projects. In each of these villages, community members will collectively decide on the types of projects based on village priorities and resources.

The Government plans to implement this new World Bank-financed project in tandem with its own nation-wide Obod Qishloq (Prosperous Village) Program. The World Bank project uses a community driven development approach which emphasizes decision making by community members. The project applies the World Bank’s strict environmental and social safeguards to protect workers’ rights and village residents’ property rights.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is also expected to provide financing to the project through a $82 million loan to the Government of Uzbekistan.

Sergey Kwan