UNHCR partners with TIKA to continue peacebuilding projects for local citizens, assists refugees become self-reliant

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22 December 2016, Bishkek – Turkish International Cooperation and Development Administration (TIKA) has agreed with UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to build a canal basin worth $62,000, which will supply water to two villages of Mirmakhmudov and Kara-Tash in Nookat district in the Osh province.  For several years, there has been tension between the two communities over access to irrigation water. This initiative by TIKA is a continuation of UNHCR’s Peacebuilding project, which will not only bring water to the villages but will help their residents live in peace and harmony.

“We are extremely grateful to TIKA to take on the small infrastructure work, using our peacebuilding methodology that has proven to make a difference in the communities,” said Maki Shinohara, UNHCR Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic. “Since the completion of our Peacebuilding program, UNHCR has actively reached out to development agencies to expand or replicate the infrastructure projects that serve to reduce community tensions. We are hopeful that there will be other development activities with similar focus in the near future.”

Between 2014 and 2015, UNHCR has implemented a peace building project in Batken, Jalal-Abad, and Osh provinces entitled, “Building Trust and Confidence among People, Communities and Authorities,” as part of UN Peacebuilding program. The project identified 27 areas, where UNHCR has found that much of the community tension derived from competition over resources or due to administrative or infrastructural issues. In total, UNHCR completed 107 small infrastructure projects and counselled over 200 legal disputes ranging from land ownership around the disputed border areas to bringing income to communities from resource extraction activities.

TIKA is also supporting UNHCR to provide sustainable livelihood for refugees in the Kyrgyz Republic. UNHCR in partnership with TIKA provided 120 sheep and 60 goats to six refugee families. A member of each family came together to engage in a ‘Halal Barakat’ project. The project allows aspiring refugees not only to become independent and better integrated into the local society but also to contribute to the local market and create potentials for hiring local workers. 

“Sheep and goat trade is a potential lucrative business, but it requires a lot of patience and hard work. So far, everything is going smoothly and soon we will start selling sheep and goats. We are thankful to TIKA and UNHCR for helping us make it happen,” says Mohammad Orfan Karimi, a beneficiary of the project.

In partnership with development actors, UNHCR launched this year several business projects to provide refugees with sustainable means of income and help them become contributing members of the Kyrgyz society.

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The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees leads and co-ordinates humanitarian action to protect refugees, asylum-seekers, and stateless people in the Kyrgyz Republic. UNHCR provides assistance to the state authorities in establishing fair and efficient asylum systems, preventing and reducing statelessness. UNHCR assisted population affected by June 2010 events in the south of the country.