- Capital: Dushanbe
- Date of independence: 1991
- Population: 8.33 million
- Urbanization: 27%
- Life expectancy: 67.7 years
- Unemployment rate: 10.9%
- Population living below poverty line: 31.15%
Find more country facts on: CIA The World Factbook – Tajikistan
- Date when Habitat started working in the country: 1999
- Individuals served in FY17: 86,605
- Volunteers hosted in FY17: 2,113
- Housing Solutions: Repairs, market development
Habitat for Humanity in Tajikistan
Habitat for Humanity has operated in Tajikistan since 1999 and seeks to generate community, sector, and societal impact for safe, affordable, and decent housing for everyone. The scope and scale of Habitat’s work spans from large-scale construction projects, to the development of market-based housing products with the private sector, to directly assisting individual families with their housing concerns such as promotion of secure tenure and housing rights of vulnerable groups.
The housing need in Tajikistan
Tajikistan remains one of the poorest and most economically fragile countries that emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union more than 25 years ago. More than 30 percent of the population lives below the poverty line on less than US$2 dollars a day.
After the fall of socialism, public services in Tajikistan disintegrated. Wages are extremely low, with an average gross monthly wage considerably below US$100. This is only a fraction of the average in other post-Soviet countries. Tajikistan also underwent a prolonged period of civil war and economic decline. As a result, living standards have gone down and a shortage of financial resources in the private sector and inadequate public budgets resulted in poor house maintenance. The state no longer could provide these services, and private owners had no own funds to invest into property maintenance.
Tajikistan has a housing stock of 1.23 million units (2011, Habitat’s Housing Review 2013). This is only 163 dwellings per 1,000 inhabitants, which is the lowest level of all countries in Europe and Central Asia.
Habitat’s contribution in Tajikistan
Habitat Tajikistan works in partnership with both local and international nongovernmental organizations, microfinance institutions and governments. Having a strong community presence, Habitat has implemented more than 30 projects in Tajikistan supporting the most vulnerable and remote communities. Currently Habitat operates in more than 10 districts of three provinces of Tajikistan. To date, Habitat has performed new house builds, repairs, and retrofits, as well as improved access to financial products and advocacy efforts.
Housing support services and affordable loans
Low-income families often live in substandard conditions because they don’t have access to solutions of housing finance. Habitat Tajikistan partners with microfinance institutions to develop loans for home improvement and house construction. Often, these loans are taken out by women. Habitat engineers and construction specialists provide construction assistance to these women to help them understand the scope of work, select necessary materials and properly budget for the works. In fiscal year 2017, Habitat Tajikistan and its partners served 84,270 people with financial services across the country.
Advocacy to develop and empower condominium associations
In Tajikistan, the multifamily housing sector is deteriorated and poorly maintained, buildings are energy inefficient, and apartment owners still lack full decision-making or control over their buildings. Less than 10 percent of the condominiums in the country have established homeowners’ associations.
We intend to address this problem using a multi-tier approach, working at the community, government and market levels. We will help to form new condominium associations as well as empower existing ones. Through our advocacy efforts, in close collaboration with city government regulations on the provision of supportive financial mechanisms, government funds, subsidies and grants will be developed to support the organization and operation of condominium associations, especially at early stage.
Energy-efficient renovation and disaster mitigation
Each year Tajikistan experiences tremors and earthquakes. Those who suffer the most live in sub-standard homes that cannot withstand quakes. Many houses that were devastated by a July 2006 earthquake are still not completely rebuilt and lack windows and/or doors. Habitat Tajikistan offers loans to improve insulation in apartments and houses as well as trainings on more solid and safer building practices in the vulnerable rural districts of Jaihun, Rasht and Panj.
Meet a Habitat family
Gaforova Bulbul, like many women in Tajikistan, became a victim of the country’s 1992-1997 Civil War. At a young age, she married a militant. He left her when she was 20 with two kids under 5. For the next 25 years she lived in a series of temporary rooms, sometimes in her parents’ and brothers’ homes. Her last temporary spot was a classroom in the school where she worked as a cleaner and cook’s assistant.
“A classroom, home for all of us,” Bulbul said. “Cold in winter as there is no proper floor, ceiling and windows there. And hot in summer. No shower or bathroom there.”
Her brothers and other relatives helped her to purchase a small plot of land and together they built the main structure of a house. The walls were not retrofitted and she could not afford the rest of materials to complete the home.
Things started to change when this family met with Habitat for Humanity Tajikistan field staff in Kimsangir. The family qualified both for retrofitting and winterization projects. First, the house was retrofitted and reinforced to make the structure earthquake resistant. Necessary materials to complete the house were obtained through by Habitat. The whole labor was provided by family, relatives, neighbors and other volunteers.
These days, Bulbul stands humble and happy in front of her new, safe house, the place she can call “my home” after 25 years of scattering, knowing her children will have stronger, healthier lives.
What you can do
You can help Tajik families improve their living conditions by taking one or more of the following actions:
Volunteer: Join one of the scheduled Global Village trips to Tajikistan or lead your own. Contact us to learn more: email@example.com.
Tithe: All affiliate tithe gifts are sent internationally to serve families outside of the United States. To support the work of Habitat TAJIKISTAN, please send your tithe to: Habitat for Humanity International P.O. Box 6598 Americus, GA 31709-3498.
To learn more about Habitat projects in Tajikistan or in other parts of the region, please contact us:
Habitat for Humanity Tajikistan
Cyrus Watuku, Director of Program Operations
Habitat for Humanity Europe, Middle East and Africa