While currently stable, Tajikistan struggles with extreme poverty, low economic productivity and high unemployment. With a highly mobile population of more than 7.7 million people, Tajikistan is also a potential path for crippling diseases such as multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) and HIV/AIDS. The country has the most remittance-dependent economy in the world. Money from relatives abroad makes up about 47 percent of gross domestic product. These conditions, coupled with recurring food shortages and winter electrical power shortages, leave the country vulnerable to crises.
To address these challenges, USAID partners with the people of Tajikistan to increase food security, improve health and nutrition, strengthen basic education and enhance good governance. The U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative addresses food insecurity by improving agricultural production and profitability as well as nutrition outcomes for mothers and their children. USAID also works to strengthen civil society and local governance, supports implementation of national education and health strategies, and prevents and treats TB and HIV. In the energy sector, USAID promotes closer economic integration among the Central Asian Republics and between Central and South Asia by helping to create an economically competitive regional energy market that will increase access to and stabilize the cost of energy for the people of Tajikistan.
- USAID established and registered 11 Water Users Associations, providing nearly 200,000 people with access to irrigation water to improve food security.
- USAID advanced press freedom by successfully advocating for a change in law so that journalists no longer face a criminal penalty for defamation or insult.
- A USAID-funded network of legal aid centers has helped more than 100,000 farmers learn about and assert their land use rights since 2010.
Agriculture and Food Security
Through the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative, USAID trains farming households to diversify and intensify food production for consumption and sale to market. USAID also supports efforts by community-based organizations to improve irrigation water management; builds capacity of private and public sector extension services that help farmers improve their methods and incomes; and assists the Government of Tajikistan in the implementation of agrarian reform focusing on land ownership rights and water management.
In August 2012, USAID assistance to the Government of Tajikistan facilitated passage of a set of amendments to the land code that introduced the concept of the right to buy, sell, mortgage and transfer land rights and strengthened the security of land tenure. Previously, all land was owned by the government, and it was very difficult for farmers to obtain rights to the land they had been cultivating — sometimes for generations. Owning land use rights enables men and women to grow more nutritious or profitable crops on individual farms and ends their dependence on unprofitable cotton production.
Democracy, Human Rights and Governance
To strengthen stability throughout Tajikistan, USAID promotes improved local governance and service delivery, in addition to increasing citizen participation in local government decision-making. Further, USAID strengthens media legislation to enable independent and objective journalism, and supports independent media outlets in their production of satellite broadcast content on issues concerning the public, including consumer awareness and life skills. USAID also works to fight human trafficking and builds the capacity of civil society organizations. More than 60 percent of Tajikistan’s 3,000 non-governmental organizations received USAID assistance with their legal re-registration efforts in compliance with changing legislation, and USAID’s civic education project is bringing together leaders across Central Asia to learn from each other and better meet the needs of their constituents.
Health and Education
USAID’s programs enhance prevention and treatment services for TB, MDR TB and HIV/AIDS for the general population, with a particular emphasis on the most at-risk populations. USAID also works to improve maternal and child health and nutrition. Activities are aligned with our Feed the Future portfolio in the Khatlon region, where 24 percent of children are stunted. As a result of USAID activities since 2009, exclusive breastfeeding in intervention areas has increased from 37 percent to 85 percent. With 40 percent of Tajikistan’s fourth graders unable to read at grade level, USAID education programs work to bolster the reading culture for pre-primary and primary school students. Specific efforts focus on improving reading instruction, increasing availability of grade-appropriate reading materials, increasing out-of-school reading time and increasing government support for improved literacy. Additional activities target older students who are most at-risk of dropping out of school. School-based interventions help parents and teachers encourage students to finish high school.
Last updated: November 14, 2013