Eurasia Foundation Central Asia - Tajikistan (EFCA) has launched implementation of a three year project, Activating the Potential of CSOs as Actors and Partners in the Governance, Accountability and Implementation of Rural Development Projects, which is funded by the European Union.

The Delegation of the European Union to Tajikistan says that in many areas of Tajikistan, Mahalla Committees have lacked the will and know-how to establish formal organizations, and have not been free from government interference.  Furthermore, members are often unaware of the legal position of Mahalla Committees as established in the 2008 law “On Public Initiative”, which assures real local government support for the committees.

In order to advocate for an increased role in local government for Mahalla Committees EFCA – Tajikistan intends to build the capacity of Mahalla Committees to lobby for local reforms, secure government buy-in, and improve the living standards of mahalla residents.  The existence of Mahalla Committees in the early phases of their development presents an opportunity for civil society in Tajikistan to shape their membership and structure, including more diverse cross-sectoral rural development stakeholders, granting communities a greater and more inclusive voice in management of their resources.

The main goal of this project is therefore to strengthen the role of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the design and implementation of rural development projects in Tajikistan by increasing collaboration between CSOs, government agencies, and rural civil society structures and actors.

Project activities aim to enable 50 CSOs from five locations in Sughd, Khatlon and districts subordinate to the center (RRP) to build capable Mahalla Committees as an accountable  platform for governance while ensuring sustained participatory rural development.  Increased and improved rural development will be achieved through financially viable and needs-based initiatives implemented through collaboration between CSOs, Mahalla Committees and other local authorities and relevant stakeholders.

As part of this project, EFCA-Tajikistan will organize a series of capacity building trainings on topics such as, working with the government, financial management, and proposal writing for rural development CSOs in the project target districts.  Following the training sessions, the participating CSOs will have the opportunity to submit their project proposals and EFCA - Tajikistan will support the CSOs with the best projects to implement inclusive rural development initiatives, via Mahalla Committees, which promote cross-sectoral management of resources and increase the sustainability of involved actors.