Modern village as a countrywide model of local self-governance

New school
The newly-built secondary school in the village of Belek (Photo: UNDP in Turkmenistan)

Grade nine student Annayeva Ashirgul and her 320 classmates now go to school full time.

Before their new school was built in the village of Belek in December 2012, students would go to school in shifts. The old school could not accommodate all the children at the same time, and was in need of major repairs. 

“Classes in the second shift affected the quality of Ashirgul’s learning and organization of her educational process as a whole,” says Ashirgul’s mother, Annayeva Bayramgul.

“As any other child, she wanted to have rest from school in the evening, enjoy the company of friends and family, and morning time was never enough for doing school homework.”

The villagers prioritized their development needs and came up with a plan - a new school was at the top of the list, as well as getting a regular supply of electricity and water to a number of homes in more remote areas of the village.

“Our proposal to build a new school was included in the socio-economic development plan for our village, that we called ‘The Future Model of My Village’,” says chairman of the Belek village council, Suleiman Begliyev.

Belek’s local development plan was later included in the development plan for the region, as part of a national programme to improve the quality of life for people in villages and towns.

With funds from the state budget, local authorities built a new kindergarten, a recreation centre, a hospital and a shopping centre. They reconstructed the railway station, set up telephone connections for 512 subscribers, and built 6.5 kilometres of new roads.                                                                               

With help from UNDP grants, residents in Belek partnered with local authorities to build an 800-metre water pipeline, electricity towers with new transmission lines and an additional transformer to ensure a steady supply of clean drinking water and electricity to 1,174 people.

As a result of the UNDP grant program

  • More than 200 new houses accounting for more than 2,000 dwellers in Gengeshlik “Berkarar” in Akhal province got access to uninterrupted supply of electricity following the installation of a new power transforme
  • More than 330 children of secondary school number 16 of the village of Abadan in Akhal province are now able to go to various sport classes in the renovated gym that was also equipped with modern sport equipment
  • More than 10 kilometers of the main road were laid in Gengeshlik “Chovdur” in Lebap province, connecting two villages with more than 9,000 residents, who now enjoy better transport services and safer environment
  • More than 1,000 residents of Gengeshlik “Paraw” in Balkan province got access to clean drinking water thanks to the installation of necessary equipment at the water well

UNDP grants totaling more than $90,000 funded 14 mini-projects in all pilot Gengeshliks, helped to connect homes to uninterrupted supplies of electricity, renovate schools, build roads and provide access to drinking water.

Over two years (2008 and 2009), citizens, local community leaders and representatives of local councils in 10 pilot Gengeshliks (territorial units consisting of one or several villages), and the city of Ashgabat, learned about:

●       Administrative management of local councils

●       Budgeting

●       Project management and planning

●       Community mobilization

●       How to strengthen collaboration between local councils and citizens

The training sessions were part of a three-year (2007-2010) joint project of the Parliament of Turkmenistan (Mejlis) and UNDP - with a budget of approximately $500,000 - to improve the quality of public services at the local level through strengthening capacities of local councils in 10 Gengeshliks.

UNDP also worked at the central level to improve the legal and policy framework for further development of local self-governance in Turkmenistan.

Pilot project grows into nationwide initiative

"The new form of interaction with local communities in the pilot Gengeshliks ... is now widely and successfully used in the system of state administration and management at the national level,” said Chairman of the Mejlis Committee on relations with local authorities and local councils, Ahmed Chariyev.

During the project, Members of Parliament and others working in the Mejlis met regularly with more than 800 heads of local administrations, community leaders and citizens, responding to requests and suggestions.

The Mejlis is now building on this experience as they develop a countrywide model of local governance that supports villages, Gengeshliks and districts to lead their own strategic planning so they can improve the quality of life within communities. The local development plans are then used to inform supporting national plans and budgets.


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