Irish Senator, Fiona O’Malley, volunteered through VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) with The State Committee on Youth Affairs, Sports and Tourism of Tajikistan and the local government of Penjkent. Open Central Asia tracked her down to get an exclusive interview.
Please tell us a little bit about your background?
I have been in politics for more than ten years – as a counsellor, TD and Senator. The Prime Minister of Ireland (Taoiseach) appointed me to the upper house of The Irish Parliament in 2007. I am a public servant and believe passionately in my responsibility to represent the people who put me where I am today. Continue reading →
Dushanbe is the capital and largest city in Tajikistan. Originally, this city was only a small village made famous by its Monday Market that has been in operation since the late 17th century. Afterall, the name, Dushanbe, is derived from the Tajik word for Monday. Following the Red Army’s victory in Central Asia, the village was upgraded to a town in 1925 and made the capital of the newly created Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Tadjik ASSR). After the transformation of the Tajik ASSR to the Tadjik Soviet Socialist Republic (Tajik SSR) in 1929, Dushanbe was renamed Stalinabad, after Joseph Stalin. Continue reading →
Two CATBIG countries, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, have been in focus recently following visits from Nigel Peters of British Expertise to produce business opportunity reports on the countries. Continue reading →
It is a harsh, unforgiving existence for the 1,200 Kyrgyz people who live at the end of the remote and inhospitable Wakhan corridor in Afghanistan, a 140-mile-long strip of land surrounded by China, Tajikistan and Pakistan. Less than half of the children there live to see their fifth birthday. And it is commonplace for women to die during childbirth. There are no doctors and no roads or vehicles. They live so high up there are no trees. In winter, the temperature goes down to 40 degrees below zero, and there are as many as 340 days of freezing weather a year. They live in near-complete isolation in a place so removed that the Afghan wars never made it this far. For thousands of years, the Kyrgyz lived a nomadic life, wandering from Siberia and Mongolia to Kazakhstan and China into Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and eventually — about 150 years ago — into the Wakhan. The grass there was good. The Kyrgyz would spend their summers fattening up their animals and during the harsh winters would move into the lower valleys, which were then in Russia or, on the other side, China. But the Russian Revolution in 1917 cut off part of that route, and when the Chinese closed their border after the revolution in 1949, some Kyrgyz were trapped in this desolate section of Afghanistan. Cut off from their brethren on the other side of the borders, they had to adjust to the brutal winters. Continue reading →
Dushanbe, Tajikistan, January 24, 2013 – The USAID Land Reform Project hosted an event in Dushanbe to mark the completion of a three-year project to create a market in land use rights and celebrate the major achievements of the Tajik government in advancing Land Reform. U.S. Ambassador Susan M. Elliott and Deputy Prime Minister Murodali Alimardon opened the event attended by donor representatives and government officials.
Ambassador Elliott noted that “Land reform is essential for the development of the agricultural sector, and the security of land use rights is a critical for the development of this sector. When farmers have confidence in the security of their land rights they are willing to make long-term investments that will increase land productivity and profitability.” Continue reading →
Dushanbe, Tajikistan, December 10, 2012 – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Country Director, Kathleen McDonald participated in a ceremony to officially open the office for the Nahri Kalon Water User Association in Yangiyul Jamoat of Qubodiyon district. The ceremony was attended by local government officials, U.S. Embassy representatives, local citizens, and implementers of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative. USAID established the Water Users Association through the Family Farming Program. The water users’ association will facilitate steady access to irrigation water for over 25,169 residents in this food insecure district. Continue reading →
CATBIG is delighted to welcome to their first CATBIG meetings HM Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, Judith Farnworth (the first resident Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan from the UK), and HM Ambassador to Tajikistan, Robin Ord-Smith LVO.
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are the two least-developed countries in Central Asia, without (at present) significant oil and gas reserves, although they do have other mineral deposits which are attracting international investors. They are also major recipients of development aid, particularly in the infrastructure sector, where the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction & Development, EuropeAid and our own Department for International Development all have significant programmes offering a wide range of business opportunities. Continue reading →