Working under the same roof - the Rural Development Programme I from the European Union - but in two different projects, the Consortium of the Welthungerhilfe (“Enhancing Water and Natural Resources Management and Protection in upper catchments of Zarafshon Watershed”), and the Consortium of the Aga Khan Foundation (“Improving livelihoods and food security through sustainable Natural Resource Management”), showed in late September that it is possible to bring different organizations, partners and colleagues together and create a fruitful and positive environment, to share experiences and ideas for an improved management of natural resources in the upper catchments of the Zarafshon valley.
Almost 200 participants took part in the conference which was organized by the two consortia in the cultural center “Farhang” in Ayni. The event started with a fair showcase in the outside yard, where some agricultural equipment such as a motorblock with several apparatus, a ram pump and different solar systems was displayed. This was followed by a welcoming speech by the mayor of Ayni, the representative of the EU Delegation, the representative of the Aga Khan Foundation as well as the Country Director of Welthungerhilfe and a presentation of the two consortia. After lunch, the participants got together in small working groups to discuss best practices, lessons learned and recommendations for topics such as watershed management, agro-sector/value-chain/business/products, WASH/Drinking water/Nutrition, pasture/livestock/transhumance, forest/energy efficiency and irrigation/soil protection.
The participants of the event were representatives of the local authorities and the project watersheds of the three districts Penjikent, Ayni, Kuhistoni Mastcho, as well as representatives of international and national development organizations, which contributed to the liveliness of the discussions.
The conference ended with a variety of new ideas and recommendations, which will be considered for our future work in Zarafshon valley.