Tajikistan Appeal No.01.53/2002 programme update No.01

Appeal Target: CHF 8,903,148 (USD 5.6m I EUR 6.1m)
Period covered: 1 January - 15 May 2002
"At a Glance"

Appeal coverage: 24.5%

Related Appeals: Europe Central Asia programmes (01.52/2002)

Outstanding needs: CHF 7,417,559 (USD 4.6m I EUR5.1 m)

Update: The Red Crescent Society of Tajikistan (RCST), with Federation assistance, continues to support vulnerable people. The national society is steadily building its capacity to work with those in need. Further donor support is required to maintain this progress.

Operational Developments

Since the beginning of the year, the International Federation and the Red Crescent Society of Tajikistan (RCST) started the implementation of the 2002 annual appeal objectives, while at the same time continuing with the management of the second successive emergency operation in response to the acute food deficit in the country.1 In the past four months, the focus was put on food relief, health and organizational development activities, while other programme components are awaiting confirmation of funding. Efforts have been made to explore possibilities of linking the ongoing food deficit emergency operation with longer-term activities, mainly through development of early warning systems and other disaster preparedness tools, as well as health, particularly community-based first aid.

Despite the country's recent slight economic recovery, the general poverty of the population is still deep and diversified, with the country's overall ranking of 103 out of 174 on the UNDP Human Development Index. In March 2000, the Government of Tajikistan initiated the work on the poverty reduction strategy, with support of the World Bank and the United Nations, and the strategy paper is currently in the finalization process. The strategy is focusing on encouraging economic growth, improving social services, targeted support to the poorest groups of the population, as well as governance and security. This paper demonstrates the Government's commitment to reduce the core causes of poverty in Tajikistan over the next 10 years. To achieve that, however, a concerted technical and material support will be needed from the international community. The Red Crescent Society of Tajikistan took part in the development of the strategy, thereby demonstrating its commitment to contributing to the set objectives through its humanitarian work. The National Society and the Federation are currently working on the Cooperation Agreement Strategy (CAS) for Tajikistan for the period 2003-2005, which will be built in line with the four main pillars of the national poverty reduction strategy, as presented above.

Disaster Response

Objective 1: To assist approximately 73,000 vulnerable people in the city of Dushanbe by distributing 45,000 rations of wheat flour, vegetable oil and iodised salt over a period of nine months.

In the first half of the year, the Federation and the RCST have brought to an end the complementary food programme for Dushanbe and the surrounding Rayons of Republican Subordination (RRS), funded by ECHO and the Finnish Red Cross, respectively. Approximately 40,000 people received standard food rations consisting of 50 kg of wheat flour, 10 litres of oil and 2 kg of iodised salt. The programme targets the most vulnerable urban population, i.e. the isolated elderly without family support or sufficient social assistance (some 68% of all beneficiaries of this programme), as well as multi-children families, mainly headed by women. The first round of distribution was completed in January, with delays caused by difficulties in the timely delivery of food by the supplier, as well as losses caused by poor packing of oil. Despite those delays, the second distribution round was completed in March, within the original programme period. However, more time was needed to complete the improved post-distribution monitoring system, targeting some 20 percent of the total beneficiary lists, as well as to procure and distribute additional 550 tonnes of wheat flour, from the saving incurred in the original procurement process. For that purpose, ECHO approved an extension of the programme until the end of June 2002. Post-distribution monitoring has been completed and the results are currently being analyzed, while the additional wheat flour will be distributed in June to 20,000 most vulnerable out of the total beneficiaries of this programme.

In the meantime, the Federation submitted to ECHO a new proposal for funding of the complementary food programme in Dushanbe. The proposal includes a number of improvements related to targeting as well as composition of the food basket, in order to increase the impact of the food aid provided. The change of food nutrients (reduction of the quantity of oil and inclusion of split peas) is based on the result of the national nutritional survey which was carried out by several humanitarian agencies under the leadership of CARE International and Action Against Hunger in November 2001, and subsequent inter-agency discussions. Pending the signing of the contract, the programme is scheduled to start in June 2002.

Objective 2: To support a total of 8,000 beneficiaries in possession of small plots of land with water and to strengthen their self-reliance through the limited provision of wheat seeds and fertilisers for the 2002 autumn planting season.

The above-mentioned ECHO-funded complementary food programme contained a small food-security component, targeting 3,000 rural households in RRS with wheat seeds and fertilizers, in order to contribute to their building of self-reliance for basic food items. The beneficiaries received the agricultural inputs by November 2001, in time for the autumn planting season, and their fields were monitored since the beginning of the year. Thanks to abundant rainfall in the first months of the year, the wheat is growing successfully, and the only danger for a reduced harvest represents a fear of a possible locust infestation, which has recently been noticed in the north and south of the country. The agencies, under the leadership of FAO, are taking measures to prevent this menace from occurring.

In addition to 3,000 beneficiaries in RRS, the Federation and RCST are also following up some 5,000 households in the regions of Sughd and Kulyab who benefited from the food security component of the drought emergency operation in 2000-2001. All 8,000 of them will receive an additional allocation of fertilizer in May, in order to further boost their expected harvest.

The Federation is planning to continue the food security component in RRS, pending the approval of a renewed ECHO funding in May 2002. The focus of the new programme will, however, be on the distribution of vegetable seeds (potatoes and onions), instead of wheat seeds, to some 2,000 households with access to kitchen gardens. This will be done to improve the dependency of the harvest on weather conditions and to contribute to the diversification of people's diet.

Objective 3 To assist some 6,000 most vulnerable in urban areas throughout the country by providing them with one hot meal two times a week in 15 RCST public canteens.

Since the beginning of the year, 18 RCST public canteens continued providing support to the most vulnerable urban population, mainly the isolated elderly, by way of two to three hot meals per week. The programme has traditionally been funded by the Swedish Red Cross, who recently announced a possible 3-year financial support to it, with a gradual decrease of inputs and an expected RCST full take-over of financial responsibilities of the programme by the end of this period. Prior to making the final decision, the Swedish Red Cross visited the programme in early May 202 and discussed ways to improve its cost-effectiveness and quality of services.

A working group has recently been established, consisting of the Federation and RCST representatives, as well as soup kitchen managers, with the main task to develop a strategy for increasing financial sustainability of the programme, through local fund-raising and a more active involvement of Red Crescent volunteers in the programme. In addition, the RCST is further developing the concept of social services by exploring the possibilities of providing more services to the beneficiaries such as access to newspapers, laundry services and housing.

Objective 4 To provide 25,000 school children in GBAO with winter shoes to enable them to attend school during the winter months in 2002-2003.

With support from the Finnish Red Cross, the Federation procured a total of 27,000 pairs of shoes for the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO). Beneficiary lists were expanded accordingly, and shoes distributed in February in all eight districts of GBAO. The newly recruited field delegate for that region will take up his duties in late May, and will immediately carry out post-distribution monitoring of this programme component.

Objective 5 To improve educational conditions in most vulnerable areas by assisting in carrying out small-scale repairs on 316 schools in GBAO.

Implementation of this programme objective has not commenced, and is awaiting confirmation of funding.

Disaster Preparedness

Objective 1 To initially strengthen the capacity of the RCST regional disaster preparedness centres, as well as the headquarters in Dushanbe.

Within the framework of the Netherlands Red Cross' bilateral support to the RCST disaster preparedness and organizational development programmes, the RCST conducted several workshops in the southern region of Khatlon in early May, with the aim to improve the skills of RCST staff at district level on disaster preparedness and response. Representatives of local authorities and district emergency committees attended the seminars. The next step in the RCST-NRC bilateral cooperation is procurement of basic relief items and replenishment of seven regional DP stocks.

Objective 2 To increase the community and RCST capacities to respond appropriately in times of local or national emergencies.

The RCST is preparing for participation in the development of a national disaster preparedness plan, to be initiated and lead by the Ministry of Emergency Situations (MOES). The plan will establish National Society's roles and responsibilities vis-a-vis the government in times of disasters. The cooperation between the RCST and MOES has already been functioning successfully on the practical level, through joint response to a number of small-scale disasters that occurred since the beginning of the year, such as the earthquake and flooding in the southern region of Kulyab in March and April this year.

The Federation and the RCST are currently developing a methodology for the vulnerability and capacity assessment (VCA), with support of the Swedish Red Cross. For more details, please refer to the organizational development chapter below.

Objective 3 To reduce the risk of landslides in the most vulnerable mountainous rural areas of Tajikistan through hydro-insulation of irrigation canals, tree-planting campaigns and community training in water management.

Implementation of the second phase of the disaster mitigation programme in GBAO, funded by the Finnish Government through the Finnish Red Cross, has been awaiting the deployment of the new Federation's field delegate in Khorog, as well as improvement of weather conditions in late spring 2002. It is expected that the phase II will start in late May - early June.

Health and Care

Objective 1 To improve the quality of health care services in 785 health care institutions in Khatlon and RRS regions through distribution of limited quantities of essential drugs and education of staff on their rational use.

The implementation of the ECHO-funded health programme was successfully completed at the end of March 2002. All targeted health institutions, including primary health care units (FAP and SVA ) and central district hospitals (CRH) in the regions of Khatlon and RRS, received their medical supplies in January. The supplies are expected to last for 6 months, providing the local population with free-of-charge medicines. A total of 765 additional medical kits for FAPs and 6 emergency health kits were purchased from the savings that incurred in the original procurement of medical supplies. The medical kits will be distributed to FAPs in June 2002, while the content of emergency health kits was distributed in March to six CRH and 60 SVA in the Khatlon region.

In order to bridge the gap in the availability of medicines between the distributions which are part of the recently completed programme and the new forthcoming one, both funded by ECHO, the Federation used part of the German Government/Red Cross donation to its food deficit emergency appeal to procure 496 FAP kits. The kits were distributed in March 2002 to the same institutions that are part of the above-mentioned programme. Such a schedule of medical distributions will ensure that facilities have the basic medicines continuously available through mid-2003.

In addition to provision of supplies, staff in health facilities are given guidance on the rational use of drugs and case-management of most common diseases, to improve the quality of health care services. Twenty-nine RCST monitoring teams regularly visited more than 90% of all health care facilities included in the programme. Analysis of monitoring reports showed that approximately 52% of all institutions had carried out medical tasks (rational use of drugs, proper keeping of medicines, maintaining acceptable sanitary conditions in institutions) in accordance with the Federation requirements, while the remaining institutions need some improvement to achieve the minimum standards in those areas. As part of efforts to improve this record, in March 58 monitors were trained on the rational use of drugs, so as to be better equipped to guide the health staff from targeted institutions during the monitoring visits. This issue will also be addressed in the new ECHO-funded programme, through improved and strengthened guidance and training of health staff.

In March, the Federation submitted a request to ECHO for a new round of funding, scheduled to start in May. The new programme is covering 454 FAPs, 309 SVAs and 23 CRH. These institutions will serve approximately 500,000 to 600,000 patients a month.

Objective 2 To increase the population's awareness of major health issues and contribute to a decrease in the incidence of the most common diseases through health promotion and public awareness campaigns carried out by the community health workers and Red Crescent volunteers.

RCST trainers, with support of the International Federation, conducted 29 seminars in topics of prenatal care and breast feeding in the Khatlon, Sugd and RRS in February and March 2002. In total, 885 volunteers participated in the seminars. Some 1,000 albums and over 8,000 brochures on the topics of prenatal care and breast feeding, as well as 2,000 leaflets on the topic of hepatitis were provided to participants, with the view that they will train other volunteers and disseminate brochures amongst the population. Furthermore, 360 volunteers attended 24 workshops on the prevention of acute respiratory infections and care for the patients at home/community level. Some 360 albums and 2,000 brochures were given to the participants. A total of 89,000 health leaflets containing essential messages on prevention of most prevalent diseases were printed and disseminated to the population of RRS and Khatlon regions. The International Federation and RCST health staff carried out monitoring of public health campaigns at community level. The analysis of monitoring reports showed that community members have a generally high level of understanding of the topics they received training on.

Objective 3 To organize functional first aid posts in 5 regional RCST branches through first aid training of Red Crescent volunteers and provision of first aid kits.

Two hundred sixty RCST volunteers attended six 2-day first aid training seminars throughout this reporting period. All participants were provided with first aid brochures and booklets, as well as first aid kits. Twenty first aid posts (1 in Dushanbe, 2 in RRS, 5 in GBAO, 7 in Khatlon, and 5 in Sughd region) were provided with training and administrative items to improve their capacity in conducting training sessions on first aid. As part of the evaluation of their knowledge and practical skills, simulation exercise tests were conducted. 112 participants attended the tests and demonstrated the ability to deal with different emergency cases on the community level of care.

Objective 4 To raise awareness on STD/HIV and their prevention among the general population and particularly youth throughout the country, through public health campaigns carried out by trained youth and volunteers.

The Federation, RCST health and youth departments, together with National AIDS Centre are working on the development of the training curriculum and information material for Red Crescent volunteers, for carrying out health education campaigns covering the subjects of substance abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention.

Objective 5 Following the directly observed treatment short course (DOTS), monitor the treatment of 100 selected tuberculosis (TB) patients.

Long awaited, the implementation of DOTS programme initiatives has recently been approved by the Ministry of Health. Subsequently, RCST and the Federation have elaborated the TB pilot project plan, which is based on providing nutritional support to some 100 TB patients in Dushanbe through one of the RCST's public canteens. The project is due to begin in June.

The International Federation and RCST, together with Project HOPE and the Ministry of Health, carried out public health awareness activities on the occasion of the World TB Day on 24 March. A total of 1,000 leaflets and 1,000 pocket calendars containing information about TB and DOTS strategy were developed, printed and disseminated amongst the population. Also, the Federation's Central Asia regional delegation supported RCST to print 500 TB wall calendars which will be distributed to medical facilities in the country.

Water and sanitation

Objective 1 To provide drinking water to 57 villages in the north and south of the country.

An almost total lack of funding for the annual water and sanitation programme in the first four months of the year has prevented RCST and the Federation to start implementing the objectives set in the annual appeal. Apart from the ECHO-funded activities carried out within the framework of the food deficit emergency appeal, no other water and sanitation activities have so far been implemented. However, two cooperation agreements have been reached with DFID and UNICEF respectively, which will allow full-scale implementation of all water and sanitation objectives. DFID announced a contribution of approximately 500,000 GBP, which will be used to cover the costs of water and sanitation components of both the annual and the food deficit emergency appeals. In addition, the Federation and RCST are currently finalizing a cooperation agreement with UNICEF, focusing on a joint implementation of water and sanitation projects on the community level, with focus on awareness raising and community mobilization, rather than technical/material input. The implementation of both initiatives will start in June.

Objective 2 To provide water supply for household consumption and sanitary facilities to 20 villages in the RRS around the capital Dushanbe.

At the initiative of the Netherlands Red Cross, the Federation recently submitted a proposal for funding of projects aiming at provision of safe drinking water in rural areas of RRS, around the capital, and is expecting a positive response shortly.

Institutional and Resource Development

Objective 1 To assist RCST branches in strengthening their capacities, skills and resources over a period of two years, by carrying out local vulnerability and capacity assessments (VCA) and introducing and implementing community-based activities within the four core areas of the Strategy 2010.

In early May, the Federation and RCST started working on the development of VCA training material and methodology, with support of the Swedish Red Cross. The aim is to implement VCA in selected local communities and to encourage community participation in the identification of vulnerabilities, needs and solutions. Following the finalization of the material, five RCST branches which have been involved in the implementation of health and disaster preparedness activities will be selected for VCA training, and will subsequently conduct VCA in their respective communities.

The volunteer guidebook named "Red Crescent and Volunteers" has been drafted and its pilot testing carried out in March, in order to review the contents, training material and methodology. The guidebook aims at providing guidance for the local Red Crescent branches in volunteer recruitment, management and basic training. The results of the testing, which included chairpersons of local RCST branches, volunteers and RCST staff members, indicated that there is a common agreement on the content of the guidebook and its usefulness.

The development of the training of trainers (ToT) course and trainers' resource package for 15 regional RCST staff has been finalized. A total of 15 regional trainers have been recruited (3 in each region: the youth coordinator, the first aid or medical coordinator and one volunteer) and trained by the RCST and Federation development programme coordinators. Ten trainers passed the examination and obtained certificates. They will be responsible for conducting the training in volunteer recruitment and management for all local Red Crescent branches. The training of chairpersons of the local branches by the trained trainers is planned to be conducted in June- July 2002. The trainers will also act as resource persons for the local branches in regard to volunteer recruitment and management.

As part of efforts to provide the RCST branches with basic material support, a set of basic training equipment and material were purchased and distributed to all five regional RCST offices. In addition, basic furniture and office materials were ordered for 20 local Red Crescent branches. The distribution is expected to be finalized by the end of May.

Objective 2 To assist the RCST in developing its youth activities, with special focus on promotion of healthy lifestyles and voluntary services among the youth of Tajikistan.

A survey among young people (15 - 30 years) regarding their interest for volunteering was conducted in 12 local Red Crescent branches, in Kurgan-Tube region and in Dushanbe, and its results will be analyzed in the second half of May. The results will be used to better target volunteer recruitment and promotion of voluntary work among young people. On 8 May, the World Red Cross/Red Crescent day, the RCST and the Federation have initiated a campaign for the promotion of voluntary service among young people. The impact of the campaign will be evaluated in a similar survey scheduled for April 2003 in the same area.

The medical and youth departments of the RCST are developing a curriculum for the training of youth trainers on HIV/AIDS and drug awareness.

Coordination and Management

Objective 1 To ensure strong coordination and effective management of the Federation's activities in Tajikistan.

During the first five months of the year, all five Federation's field offices remained fully staffed and operational, although the Khorog office has been without a delegate until May. The process of rationalization in structure and streamlining of the setup in the two field offices involved in the food deficit operation, Khujand and Kulyab, has been initiated. The upcoming evaluation of the emergency operation, and the ensuing decision on its future nature, will determine the final arrangements in this respect. In May, two new delegates have joined the delegation - a disaster preparedness delegate and a field delegate for Khorog.

The delegation has strengthened cohesion between relief and development, so far mainly by integrating the RCST volunteers in the implementation of food relief activities, through post-distribution monitoring in Dushanbe. This trend will continue and will very much be the focus of the Federation's activities in the coming months, through the implementation of VCA and its use as a linking agent for all programmes. Similarly, links have been made between the food deficit emergency operation and the annual appeal activities, mainly in the field of organization development and health, and further strengthening is expected in light of the upcoming VCA activities.

Effective donor reporting and communication has been maintained throughout the reporting period. The new locally recruited reporting officer is undergoing on-the-job training with the aim to fully take over the function as of June.

Objective 2 To ensure close and efficient cooperation within the Movement, as well as with as with external partners.

The Federation delegation in Tajikistan is pursuing a policy of close cooperation with all internal and external partners. The second generation of the Cooperation Agreement Strategy (CAS) for Tajikistan, for the period 2003 - 2005, is currently being developed by the RCST. The delegation is acting as a facilitator in the process, in order to ensure its participatory nature by involving the main partner-National Societies, as well as its alignment with the Federation's Regional Assistance Strategy for Central Asia 2002 - 2004, and the national Poverty Reduction Strategy, developed by the Government of Tajikistan with support of the United Nations and the World Bank.

The Federation is currently in the process of gradually taking over responsibilities for support to RCST branches in the Rasht Valley (formerly known as the Karategin) from ICRC. Since mid-1995, this area of the country was off-limits for the Federation for security reasons, and was therefore assisted by ICRC. With the stabilization of the security situation, the Federation and ICRC have agreed on this hand-over. As the fist step in the process, two joint Federation/RCST/ICRC visits to the region were carried out in March. Pending the final agreement with ICRC, the Federation will begin with supporting the Rogun district branch, as well as two additional branches that are yet to be identified, in the second half of the year. In this first phase, activities will focus on the community-based first aid, as well as VCA which will be carried out in the districts of Rogun and Faizabad. This initial step will be followed by the expansion of the Federation's support to other sectors of intervention, as well as to other districts of the region.

The American Red Cross is considering launching a seismic mitigation project for Dushanbe city, through a bilateral cooperation with the RCST, pending the confirmation of funding. It is designed as a three-year programme aiming at reducing the impact of a possible disastrous earthquake in Dushanbe. The Federation delegation has been involved in the discussions, so as to ensure that the bilateral programme is executed within present disaster management and organizational development strategies, as well as the CAS.

Traditionally good cooperation with external partners is ongoing through cooperation in the implementation of a number of programmes, as elaborated above. The Federation also continues supporting the RCST in building stronger external partnerships, which was also demonstrated in fruitful discussions RCST representatives held with partner-National Societies during the International Federation's Conference of the European Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, held in April 2002 in Berlin.

Outstanding needs

By May 2002, the Federation has ensured the crucial funding necessary for the implementation of most of its disaster response, health and water and sanitation activities. The Canadian Red Cross' support to the disaster preparedness programme will finally allow the Federation and the RCST to initiate full-scale DP activities, and this momentum needs to be supported further and for a longer period of time. Similarly, the organizational development programme has seen considerable achievements, especially in view of the scarce funding available in the recent period. The results made so far in the RCST capacity building process have to be further supported by both technical and financial means in the coming 18 months.

For further details please contact: Michaela Told, Phone : 4l 22 730 4424; Fax: 4l 22 733 03 95; email: told@ifrc.org.

All International Federation Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at http://www.ifrc.org.

John Horekens
Ralationship Mangement Department

Lynette Lowndes
Europe Department


1 For more information on this emergency operation, refer to the operations updates on the appeal 26/01, posted on the Federation's web site.

Annex 1

APPEAL No. 01.53/2002








84' 000


99' 000


100' 072

1' 845

95' 000

420' 000






36' 909





400' 000




103' 859