USAID and AKF open new sports ground to support youth empowerment in Tajikistan

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The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have officially opened a new sports ground in Shahritous district of Khatlon province under the Thrive Tajikistan: Partnership for Socio-Economic Development program. The sports ground aims to improve the physical and social well-being of the community, particularly the youth, and is expected to benefit more than 2,700 people.

According to the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) Tajikistan, the opening ceremony took place at the new sports ground on May 31 and was attended by Shahritous Deputy Chairman, Mrs. Mehrinisso Rajabzoda; Head of the Shahritous Social Affairs Development and Public Relations Department, Mr. Saymuhiddin Loiqov; Principal of School #36, Mr. Saidmurod Khushmurodov; management board and community members of the Mahalla Committee (MC) Bahoriston; and AKF staff.

During the event, Mr. Loiqov stated, “The local government aims to fill the gap between the potential for youth to grow steadily both mentally and physically and their future opportunities. Today, we happily celebrate fulfilling one of the government’s strategic objectives. Without words, you can see in the eyes of the local people how proud and satisfied they are with the work that has been accomplished.”

The Bahoriston community was facing challenges in engaging in regular healthy activity. Many would travel by foot for eight kilometers to the closest sports ground. Based on this demand, MC Bahoriston decided that their community needed a sports ground and named it as one of the community’s priorities in their village development plan. AKF, with the support of USAID, worked with the MC to build the soccer field. In addition to being cheaper to use than others, the soccer field will provide employment opportunities for two people.

A representative for elderly people in the community, Mr. Isroil Zoghakov, conveyed his appreciation for the sports ground. “I am a former volleyball player and feel, with all my heart, how confident the young people are today. We observed for years how they walked for several kilometers to remote villages in order to play a soccer game. They worked hard to make their dream come true and deserve it. For the past few years, our soccer team has won the district championships, and we are looking forward to having the team win the regional prize as well.”

The five-year (2018-2023) Thrive Tajikistan: Partnership for Socio-Economic Development program expands the partnership between AKF and USAID to improve the quality of life for people in all 16 districts of Tajikistan along the country’s border with Afghanistan in Khatlon Oblast and Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO). Thrive Tajikistan aims to enhance integrated socioeconomic development for all.

AKF partners with communities, nonprofits, businesses, governments, and local leaders to make long-term investments, build permanent institutions, and cultivate an active civil society. Its work focuses on improving quality of life and breaking the cycle of poverty. For 50 years, AKF has been working for the common good of all citizens where we work, mainly in Asia and Africa, regardless of gender, origin or religion. AKF is a member of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), one of the world’s leading poverty solutions networks, established by His Highness the Aga Khan. The AKDN helps improve the quality of life for tens of millions of people annually in 30 countries. AKDN’s integrated multi-sector approach to development is grounded in decades of experience, learning, and evaluation. For more information on how to support the AKF, visit www.akfusa.org.

USAID is the world’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. In Tajikistan, USAID seeks to create a culture of reading by working with government officials, teachers and parents to improve reading instruction techniques and increase awareness of the importance of reading for children. USAID increases employment opportunities and income for agribusinesses in Tajikistan. USAID in Tajikistan partners with the government to improve nutrition and prevent morbidity and mortality of mothers and children under two.

Source: Asia-Plus