Improving access and livelihoods by strengthening the infrastructure for water, health and electricity

Reconstruction of the water supply system of Gal City, Abkhazia Georgia. (2007)

22 March 2012

Georgia: Anvar Atabaev (Tajikistan) is a former UN Volunteer who worked with the Abkhazia Livelihood Improvement and Recovery Programme (ALIR) in Georgia.  ALIR was implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and funded by the European Commission and Norwegian Government.  

After more than a decade of civil conflict in Abkhazia Georgia, the purpose of ALIR was to support peace and reconciliation in the region by improving livelihoods through rehabilitation activities.  This included improving the infrastructure and building the capacity of the water supply systems, reducing the vulnerability of the rural population through support to farmers, and strengthening local and district governance structures through capacity building of village councils and district level stakeholders in agriculture, water and sanitation.

As a UNV Civil Engineer and Project Coordinator with ALIR, Anvar oversaw all water, sanitation, irrigation and electricity project activities.  To enhance information sharing and to support coordination, collaboration and planning, he liaised with international and national organizations.  Anvar also raised awareness on issues related to water and sanitation through games, plays and other activities involving teachers, pupils and parents. He took professional approaches to project design, supervision and providing access to the safe drinking water, and organized various capacity building training and information programmes involving local non-governmental organizations.  As a result of the work of Anvar and others involved in the project, access to safe drinking water for 17,000 people in the project areas was improved and waterborne diseases decreased threefold. 

“I worked in close collaboration with the owners, operators and staff of the water supply systems, epidemiological services, community-based organizations and relevant local and international organizations involved in the three districts to ensure sustainable operation and management of the water supply systems.”
– Anvar Atabaev, former UN Volunteer

Anvar also facilitated and mobilized people to create community organizations as Water Users Groups (WUGs).  This linked local communities and local authorities to collaborate on project and partnership planning for the improvement of livelihood conditions.  Such actions were important for trust and social cohesion in these multi- ethnic, post-conflict communities, as the local authorities started to create better conditions for people regardless of ethnicity.

“The most enriching achievement for me as a UN Volunteer was the respect of the people in the communities, which I achieved through working collaboratively and treating their local traditions and culture with respect and professionalism,” says Anvar.

Bio: Anvar Atabaev worked as a UNV Civil Engineer and Project Coordinator with the Abkhazia Livelihood Improvement and Recovery in Georgia from March 2005 to July 2007.  Before becoming a UN Volunteer, Anvar had several years of work experience in UNDP Tajikistan as a Civil Engineer and Deputy Area Manager of the UNDP country programme,  as well as 17 years of  work  experience in construction. Today, he is an International Senior Construction Supervision Engineer with the Emergency Assistance for Recovery and Reconstruction (EARR) project funded by the Asian Development Bank.

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