Dushanbe. December 7, 2011, Asia-Plus - U.S. Ambassador Ken Gross and Tursunzoda district Chairperson Davlatshoh Gulmamadov participated in the opening ceremony of a safe drinking water system in Pakhtaobod Village in the southwest Tursunzoda region. Local government officials and community members also took part in the ceremony, which featured an educational performance by local schoolchildren on the importance of safe drinking water and good hygiene.

Ambassador Gross told the audience, “Many villages lack safe drinking water, and the U.S. Government is proud to help solve this problem. This project will bring safe water to over 75,000 people in Tajikistan this year.”

Residents of Pakhtaobod and Qarateval Villages suffered from severe shortages of safe drinking water, resulting in the spread of infectious water-borne diseases, especially among children. To address these problems, the USAID Tajikistan Safe Drinking Water Project worked with the local government and community members to develop a Community Health Action Plan to improve access to safe drinking water and improve health and hygiene; 10,322 people in both Pakhtaobod Village and the neighboring Qarateval Village now have access to safe drinking water.

This water system in Pakhtaobod Village is one of 17 projects that are being completed by the USAID Safe Drinking Water Project in cooperation with rural communities across Tajikistan in 2011. Since 1992, the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe has provided approximately $984 million in programs that support Tajikistan’s democratic institutions, health care, education, and economic growth.