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Kyrgyzstan: Home Comforts - Creating local capacity for improved rural living standards via sustainable energy and sanitation

Reduce poverty via sustainable development, specifically through improved access to basic resources such as energy and safe sanitation

15.02.2011 | WECF Project

Countries: Kyrgyzstan
Donors: European Commission with the additional aid of Natracare and Sjef Jorritsma & Hanzehogeschool Groningen
Partners: KAWS, ALGA, Camp Alatoo
Issues: Water & Sanitation and Energy & Climate
Duration: 01/2011 - 07/2013

The living conditions in many Kyrgyz villages are very difficult. Most households do not have access to improved water and sanitation systems. In the cold winters, the heating costs are very high. This project focuses on priority areas for women, improving the basic services and living condition in and around the rural household.

The EuropeAid funded project “Home Comforts” demonstrates solutions how to find affordable and sustainable ways towards improved living conditions in rural areas of Kyrgyzstan.
“It is so important to bridge the divide between rural and urban areas in Kyrgyzstan“, says Anara Choitonbaeva, chairperson of the Kyrgyz Alliance for Water and Sanitation (KAWS), “thus applying adapted and sustainable technologies for rural areas.” She coordinates the project activities being implemented in nine villages in the Issyk-Kul oblast (region). “Especially women and girls are suffering from insufficient infrastructure for water, sanitation and energy in the villages”, says Aijamal Bakashova, gender expert of ALGA, who prepared the baseline study about the situation in the villages.

The brochure on the project can be found here


The project installs and tests adapted technologies covering three aspects essential for an improved living standard:
  • heating
  • warm water
  • safe sanitation in the house
Energy efficient stoves, solar collectors for warm water and ECOSAN toilets have been installed in each of the nine villages for demonstration. They are located in public places, mostly in the community buildings of the “Community Drinking Water Users Unions (CDWUU)” so that the villagers can see and test the new technologies. For example, in the village Chyrak, energy efficient stoves were installed in the post office and in Toguz Balak in the village medical ambulatory. “The energy efficient stove is an advanced stove technology which saves fuel, heats more space and protects the indoor air quality better than a traditional stove”, explains Ruslan Isaev, expert of WECF partner “Camp Ala-Too”. 18 “stove masters” were trained by Camp Ala-Too in October 2011 and more than 20 stoves have been constructed up to now by the new stove masters.

The project also demonstrates ECOSAN toilets, an innovative technology which does not need water for flushing neither smells nor attracts flies. “We appreciate that the ECOSAN toilet can be implemented inside the house or attached to the house – a great improvement over the outdoor pits,” says Imash Azarbaev, chairman of CDWUU in Chyrak and elected president of the CDWUU’s network of Jeti-Oguz rayon. The CDWUUs support the construction, operation and maintenance of the ECOSAN sanitation facilities in the villages. The toilet seats and the doors are produced in their community “resource centre”.

The project also demonstrates solar collectors, built from local material and making use of the suns energy, provides warm water for the houses. Together, the three technologies help to increase the tourism potential of the rural areas. Bakyt Choitonbaev, chairman of Territorial Self-governance Public Union “Bokonbae-Manjyly” of the village Bokonbaev underlines, “the energy efficient stove, the solar collector and the ECOSAN toilet are the infrastructure needed for a guest house to set up tourist business activities.”


After successful installation of the demonstration objects, the key challenge for sustainably implementing and up-scaling the environmental infrastructure technologies are the lack of access to finance for the villagers”, explains Claudia Wendland, who is the overall project coordinator at WECF “there are many micro finance businesses in Kyrgyzstan, however they operate with high interest rates which may apply to a short-term commercial investment, but not for non-productive infrastructure investments. Social financial mechanisms for this type of infrastructure in rural areas are needed.
The project develops a social housing microcredit scheme. The governor of Issyk-Kul oblast, Mirbek Asanakunov, welcomed a delegation from the village and the project coordinators on 14 December 2011: “these activities are very important for the Issyk-Kul oblast and will be integrated into the strategy development plan”. He promised to visit the project villages soon and to support all project activities.
In all activities, WECF and its Kyrgyz partners employ local staff and expertise with aim of ensuring the long-term sustainability of their initiatives.

Claudia Wendland,

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