Facilitation of community-based pasture management initiatives [Tajikistan]

Mountain Societies Development Support Programme - Aga Khan Foundation

approaches_2444 - Tajikistan

Completeness: 83%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Approach

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:

Pachova Nevelina


Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
Sustainable Land Management in the High Pamir and Pamir-Alai Mountains (PALM Project / NCCR)
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
Kyrgyzstan Mountain Societies Development Support Programme, Aga Khan Development Network (MSDSP KG) - Kyrgyzstan

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


2. Description of the SLM Approach

2.1 Short description of the Approach

Initiation of community-based solutions to slow down pasture degradation, and to improve pasture use and management in three pilot Jamoats of upland Tajikistan.

2.2 Detailed description of the Approach

Detailed description of the Approach:

Aims / objectives: During the Soviet times land users in Tajikistan were allowed to keep very little livestock individually and this was mainly in the vicinity of rural settlements. The majority of the livestock were managed by collective agricultural farms, which utilised different seasonal pastures. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the previously state-owned livestock was distributed among individual farmers, most of whom had limited knowledge and experience with pasture management (PM), and capacities to access the distant pastures used by the collective farms. As a consequence, the amount of livestock kept in the vicinity of rural settlements increased, leading to overgrazing and severe degradation of nearby pastures. In the framework of a project on sustainable land management in the Pamir-Alai region (PALM), funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), MSDSP facilitated the initiation of community-based solutions to the problem of pasture degradation at three pilot jamoats in Jirgital, and three in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO).

Methods: 1. Awareness raising and capacity building of PM issues. 2. Integration of PM issues in village development plans. 3. Grant support and community co-financing for implementation of targeted measures. 4. Monitoring of the impacts of the implemented measures as a basis for up-scaling.

Stages of implementation: 1. National pasture management experts from the Pamir Biological Institute held a training of trainers (ToT) session for MSDSP facilitators and district specialists, who conducted follow-up training on PM at the pilot communities in 2009. 2. Pilot communities identified key problems related to PM in the process of Village Development Planning facilitated by MSDSP, and prioritised targeted measures for improved PM. 3. A set of micro-project proposals were developed based on the prioritised measures, which focused on (re-) construction of roads and bridges for improved access to pastures, and construction of stables during spring/autumn, as well as summer pastures. 4. Monitoring of the impacts of the implemented measures as a basis for up-scaling.

Role of stakeholders: Community members were engaged in identifying and implementing targeted measures for addressing pasture use and management issues. Jamoat level non-governmental organisations called Social Unions for Development of Village Organizations (SUDVOs), coordinated and supported the identification and implementation of the selected projects in several village organisations. Governmental agricultural extension agents were engaged in training, and consulted in the review process. MSDSP staff facilitated the overall process and engaged in monitoring progress with implementation. PALM project staff engaged in the review, monitoring and assessment of the impacts of the supported measures.

2.3 Photos of the Approach

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Approach has been applied



Further specification of location:



Three pilot jamoats in the Jirgital region (Jirgital, Pildon and Yangishar), and three in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO), (Shitharv, Vankala and Alichur) were covered by the approach

2.6 Dates of initiation and termination of the Approach

Indicate year of initiation:


2.7 Type of Approach

  • project/ programme based

2.8 Main aims/ objectives of the Approach

The Approach focused mainly on SLM with other activities (rehabilitation of rural infrastructure to improve access to pastures, pasture and livestock productivity, animal diseases)

The main aim of the approach was to initiate the improved use and management of pastures, by raising awareness and knowledge on issues regarding pasture degradation and sustainable pasture management, mobilising community action, and pilot-testing selected technologies and measures for improving pasture management in highly degraded areas.

The SLM Approach addressed the following problems: pasture degradation, overgrazing, restricted pasture area and too many cattle garzing, lack of infrastructure (bridges, roads, shelters), lack of knowledge about pasture management

2.9 Conditions enabling or hindering implementation of the Technology/ Technologies applied under the Approach

availability/ access to financial resources and services
  • hindering

communities were lacking funds for infrastructure development and could therefore not invest in the construction of roads and bridges

Treatment through the SLM Approach: GEF funds were used to support communities in financing infrastructural improvements which allowed for more productive and sustainable use of available pasture resources

institutional setting
  • hindering

Lack of capacity to deal with pasture degradation problems

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Engagement of village organisations, and social unions of village organisations (SUDVO) in addressing pasture management issues at six pilot jamoats

legal framework (land tenure, land and water use rights)
  • hindering

Limited clarity regarding responsibilities and lack of incentives for sustainable pasture management

Treatment through the SLM Approach: MSDSP and PALM project members recommended the development of a pasture management law that addresses those legal constrains

The existing land ownership, land use rights / water rights moderately hindered the approach implementation there is no law about pasture management in Tajikistan, therefore it was difficult to regulate the process

knowledge about SLM, access to technical support
  • hindering

technical knowledge about pasture management was lacking as during Soviet times people were not allowed to keep a lot of livestock

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Community members of village organisations and relevant government experts were trained in various issues of pasture management

3. Participation and roles of stakeholders involved

3.1 Stakeholders involved in the Approach and their roles

  • local land users/ local communities

Village organisations

Only 20% of the participants were women, since men are responsible for managing the livestock, while women are concerned with livestock products only

Elderly members of the communities were engaged in discussions on the possible solutions

  • SLM specialists/ agricultural advisers

Governmental agricultural advisors participated in the training.

  • national government (planners, decision-makers)

Agrarian University in Jirgatol, Pamir Biological Institute

  • pilot communities
3.2 Involvement of local land users/ local communities in the different phases of the Approach
Involvement of local land users/ local communities Specify who was involved and describe activities
initiation/ motivation none
planning interactive Members of village organisations were involved in training and planning on pasture management, and actively participated in discussions
implementation self-mobilization The village organisations developed their own project ideas and submitted those proposals to MSDSP and other funders
monitoring/ evaluation interactive Land users were engaged in the monitoring and evaluation of the impacts of the implemented projects
Research interactive The Pamir-Biological Institute and the Institute of Botany under the Academy of Sciences were engaged in research and technical consultations

3.4 Decision-making on the selection of SLM Technology/ Technologies

Were decisions on the selection of the Technology(ies) made:
  • pilot communities

Community members were engaged in identifying and implementing targeted measures for addressing pasture use and management issues.

Decisions on the method of implementing the SLM Technology were made by pilot communities and facilitators. Community members were engaged in identifying and implementing targeted measures for addressing pasture use and management issues.

4. Technical support, capacity building, and knowledge management

4.1 Capacity building/ training

Was training provided to land users/ other stakeholders?


Specify who was trained:
  • land users
  • field staff/ advisers
Form of training:
  • courses
Subjects covered:

Short training courses were provided for land user, field staff/agricultural advisors

4.2 Advisory service

Do land users have access to an advisory service?


  • through trained experts
Describe/ comments:

Name of method used for advisory service: Engineering support and technical consultations

Advisory service is quite adequate to ensure the continuation of land conservation activities

4.3 Institution strengthening (organizational development)

Have institutions been established or strengthened through the Approach?
  • yes, greatly
Specify the level(s) at which institutions have been strengthened or established:
  • local
Specify type of support:
  • capacity building/ training
Give further details:

village organisations were trained

4.4 Monitoring and evaluation

Is monitoring and evaluation part of the Approach?



economic / production aspects were regular monitored by project staff through observations; indicators: changes in economic benefits for households before and after implementation of project

bio-physical aspects were regular monitored by project staff through observations; indicators: changes in vegetation coverage, edible grass species, etc.

area treated aspects were regular monitored by project staff through observations; indicators: Established at the start of project implementation

There were several changes in the Approach as a result of monitoring and evaluation: Some areas were grazed although they should not have been, project staff then talked to the responsible people in the village to ask about the causes for this and to try and initiate changes in practice.

4.5 Research

Was research part of the Approach?


  • pasture management
Give further details and indicate who did the research:

Aimed at problem, option and impact assessment

Research was carried out on-farm

5. Financing and external material support

5.1 Annual budget for the SLM component of the Approach

If precise annual budget is not known, indicate range:
  • 2,000-10,000
Comments (e.g. main sources of funding/ major donors):

Approach costs were met by the following donors: international (PALM): 70.0%; national non-government (MSDSP): 30.0%

5.2 Financial/ material support provided to land users

Did land users receive financial/ material support for implementing the Technology/ Technologies?


5.3 Subsidies for specific inputs (including labour)

  • infrastructure
Specify which inputs were subsidised To which extent Specify subsidies
roads partly financed
bridges, shelters partly financed
If labour by land users was a substantial input, was it:
  • voluntary

5.4 Credit

Was credit provided under the Approach for SLM activities?


6. Impact analysis and concluding statements

6.1 Impacts of the Approach

Did the Approach help land users to implement and maintain SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Reduced pressures on pastures in the vicinity of rural settlements

Did the Approach empower socially and economically disadvantaged groups?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Elderly herders with improved access to health facilities

Did the Approach improve issues of land tenure/ user rights that hindered implementation of SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

talks with the government were started to make way for a law on pasture management

Did other land users / projects adopt the Approach?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Strong interest by other communities but limited financial means for replication

Did the Approach lead to improved livelihoods / human well-being?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Improved access to fodder, reduced loss of livestock, etc

Did the Approach help to alleviate poverty?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

The primary beneficiaries are the groups with a medium income

6.2 Main motivation of land users to implement SLM

  • increased production

Increased pasture area and livestock productivity, reduced loss of livestock, reduced labour inputs

  • environmental consciousness

Increased awareness of the degradation of pastures

  • well-being and livelihoods improvement

Improved convenience, reduced conflicts over livestock tramping and grazing of croplands

6.3 Sustainability of Approach activities

Can the land users sustain what has been implemented through the Approach (without external support)?
  • yes
If yes, describe how:

The village organisations have the responsibility to teach their community members

6.4 Strengths/ advantages of the Approach

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Reduction of conflicts over resource use and strengthened social capital (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: utilise the improved social capital for addressing other pressing environmental and community development issues)
Improved income from livestock provides a strong incentive for sustaining the established infrastructure (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: a proportion of the obtained income should be reinvested in maintenance e.g. through collection of user fees )
Improved environmental conditions in the vicinity of rural settlements, and reduced labour inputs into livestock breeding (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: capitalise on those environmental improvements through the development of alternative income-generating activities such as bee-keeping and eco-tourism that will limit the need for further increases in livestock numbers)

6.5 Weaknesses/ disadvantages of the Approach and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Improved access to new pastures and possible further increases in livestock numbers may lead to their degradation in the future Community members and village organisations have to make sure that the new pastures are being used in a sustainable manner e.g. through controlled grazing and pasture rotation, designation of no-grazing areas in pristine forests in the vicinity of new pastures, etc.
The approach contributes to improve the well-being of the medium income groups of the communities in question, as accessing distant pastures is most often not a problem for the better-off, while the poor often have only limited or no livestock use as part of the generated additional income in the community for support of poor households
The approach is economically beneficial but difficult to up-scale due to the high initial investment costs identify appropriate mechanisms for stimulating replication through relevant legal and policy incentives or alternative financing

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users

Links and modules

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