Context and challenges
In Tajikistan, a land-locked country of 9 million people situated at the heart of Central Asia, 29% of the population live under the poverty rate (1.9 USD/day).
Most of the country is covered by high mountains and experiences extreme temperatures, from scorching heat in summer (up to 50°C) to extreme cold in winters (-45°C), and very scant precipitations. The large majority of people live in rural areas and largely depend on rain fed agriculture. With more than a million young people living and working abroad (mainly in Russia), households highly depend on remittances and on the feminisation of labour.
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the five-year Civil War that followed led to a break-down of the economy, institutions and infrastructure. The resulting lack of access to energy forced people to massively turn to fire wood to satisfy their energy needs, provoking massive deforestation and land degradation. Today, although forests cover less than 5% of the territory, wood still provides 35% to 85% of energy needs in rural areas (USAID, 2017).
With its high glaciers, Tajikistan is the water tower of Central Asia, offering a formidable potential for hydroelectricity. With 280 to 330 sunny days annually and a high level of solar radiations, the country benefits from an infinite potential supply of clean energy. However, Tajikistan is also the country the most affected by climate change in Central Asia. Although the National Development Strategy 2030 makes of hydroelectric development, energy sources diversification and energy efficiency some of its core objectives, the country increasingly turns to the 4.2 billion tonnes of coal buried in its soil to satisfy its energy needs.
Geres in Tajikistan
Geres works in Tajikistan since 2011. Geres Tajikistan is committed to improving people’s access to clean and efficient energy solutions in order to increase thermal comfort, decrease energy poverty and improve livelihoods.
Geres Tajikistan works in the housing/construction sector, which is directly responsible for a significant part of energy consumption and CO2 emissions. An estimated 12,500 individual houses are built every year in the country, while existing ones are often non-insulated. Our actions focus on the development and dissemination of Low-Energy Consumption Houses, energy-retrofitting of individual houses and buildings, and the dissemination of solar passive and thermal insulation techniques. Our activities also aim at increasing access to micro-finance and stimulating the local construction sector.
In the agricultural sector, Geres has been active since the beginning on the development and dissemination of passive solar greenhouses and bio-climatic cellars. By expanding the cultivation season and enabling the conservation of crops several months after the harvest, these technologies have profound impacts on rural households’ nutrition and livelihoods, especially in mountainous regions. Geres is now working in partnership with Caritas Switzerland to make these technologies available to schools.
Geres Tajikistan is also involved in research activities to develop locally adapted energy linked technologies: improved stoves, locally sourced insulation material, improved bricks, and waste to energy processes. It constantly tries to improve its technologies and approach to propose innovative solutions that are climate adapted and climate compatible.
Geres Tajikistan works in partnership with local communities, universities, local governments, micro-finance institutions and development organisations. The majority of our activities targets vulnerable and female-headed households. In a society in which heating and cooking chores largely accrue to women and farm work and food production is increasingly feminised, our activities directly contribute to women’s livelihoods and well-being. Together, our actions contribute to a development that is fair and compatible with the challenges of a changing climate.
GERES’ PROJECTS IN TAJIKISTAN
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