House renovations to improve energy efficiency and food security in Tajikistan

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Vulnerable households in Tajikistan often spend up to 80 percent of their income on food. During the winter months, these expenditures compete with fuel and heating costs which often leads low income families to reduce the number of their meals or to resort to less expensive, unhealthy food, according to Geres Tajikistan.

Combined with low room temperatures and bad air quality, this reportedly leads to serious health problems. Improving the thermal insulation of low income families’ houses brings a decrease in the expenditures linked to fuel consumption and an increase in the share of the income that can be spent on food.

The selection of low income families was made in cooperation with local authorities, based on vulnerability criteria established by the World Food Programme and on the technical requirements of Geres Tajikistan. All participating households reportedly received insulation material to be installed on floors, ceilings and doors, a double glazed window and two LED bulbs. One person from each participating household was selected and trained in energy efficiency: Following the training, they were involved in the insulation works of their own houses through the WFP Food Assistance for Assets (FFA) modality by which they received entitlements for each day spent on those assets creation activity.

36 local carpenters from 9 district communities were recruited, equipped and trained in thermal insulation techniques by the technical staff of Geres in order to assist the households and perform technical tasks.

Over a period of 50 days, 2,500 m2 of ceilings and 2,500 m2 of floors have been insulated, and 300 m2 of ordinary windows were replaced with double glazed windows. A post insulation survey showed that families have already been consuming less fuel during this winter, with an average fuel saving of 10 12 kg of coal per day. In addition, there is a reduction of air flow in the rooms and room temperature has increased leading to benefits on the health conditions of all the targeted household members. It is calculated that the achievement of this project’s objectives guarantees each target family with a reduction on fuel expenses ranging between TJS 700 to 1,000 that can be used for other basic needs, in particular food.

Set up in 1976, Geres is a development NGO working in Europe, Africa and Asia to improve living conditions and fighting against climate change and its impacts. As it operates in the field, the energy transition is a major lever in its activities.

In Tajikistan, Geres has worked in Tajikistan since 2011. Geres Tajikistan is committed to improving people’s access to clean and efficient energy solutions in order to increase thermal comfort, decrease energy poverty and improve livelihoods.

Geres Tajikistan works in partnership with local communities, universities, local governments, micro finance institutions and development organizations. The majority of its activities targets vulnerable and female headed households. In a society in which heating and cooking chores largely accrue to women and farm work and food production is increasingly feminized, its activities directly contribute to women’s livelihoods and well being. Together, our actions contribute to a development that is fair and compatible with the challenges of a changing climate.

Source: Asia Plus