The Zerafshan Tourism Development Association (ZTDA) is a young public community based organization, which aims to develop sustainable tourism in the region, adapted to local society, culture and the fragile environment. As ZTDA is promoting community-based tourism, we pay attention to the ecological and cultural aspects by initiating ecological actions at a community level as well as other small projects.
For the most of the tourists, Zerafshan Valley and the Fan Mountains are known for their variety of natural attractions: lakes, waterfalls, mountain peaks, and beautiful valleys with alpine meadows, juniper forest, and pastures. The Zerafshan Valley has an important mountain ecosystem with diverse flora and fauna, but at the same time it faces many ecological problems. The population of the Zerafshan Valley lives in hilly and mountain areas, where most of agricultural land they farm is pasture and a small part is in perennial crops and orchards. Rural poverty, shifts in land management responsibilities, lack of integrated land management, and poor access to technical support are causing increasing land degradation. Pastures host plenty of rare plant species, but face threats from localized overgrazing. The unique juniper forests of the valley are decreasing year by year due to need for firewood.
The awareness amongst locals of the environmental issues is limited, even though their lives directly and indirectly depend on the natural integrity. A sustainable future for the region is only possible if local environmental awareness is significantly raised and joint actions are taken to prevent the destruction of this fragile environment. In summer 2008 for the first time the environmental awareness group “Clean Iskanderkul Lake” was organized by ZTDA.
In October 2009 the ecological action group also carried out some work in Padrud village, which is located close to the 4th and 5th lake of the chain of Marguzor Lakes. The local school children took part in a drawing competition. In the drawings the young painters expressed their attitude towards their native region, the Seven Lakes area. From 200 drawings, the 10 best were chosen.
The garbage on the shores of Nofin and Khurdak Lakes was collected by three eco-patrols. The school children received new sports equipment: volleyball net, balls and horizontal bar in reward for their efforts.
Next year ZTDA is going to expand its environmental awareness campaign, targeting the school children not only in the village of Saratog, but also in 11 other villages.
For more information about the campaign, please contact us at tic_panjakent yahoo.com
We welcome any interest and or feedback regarding our work.
Handicraft development project
Manufacturing and selling handicraft products (souvenirs) to tourists can become a good additional source of income for many women in rural areas of the Zerafshan Valley. This development would build on the regions long tradition of wool crafts.
In 2009, Zerafshan Tourism Development Association launched its “Community Based Tourism in the Zerafshan Valley” project. This is a small initiative focusing on handicraft development in the Zerafshan Valley. Three groups of handcrafters from three Jamoats (Voru, Chinor and Shing) are presenting their crafts in the Zerafshan Art Store, Armugon which opened on the 7th of July 2009 in Penjikent.
In March 2010 a new four month project on handicraft development was launched. The project was implemented with financial support from the Open Society Institute.
In April and May training began for local women. This involved demonstrations on preparing the wool for the manufacture of new products. The local women were also given the chance to meet some handicraft associations whose products are currently selling well. The handcrafters will become members of the ZTDA, which will promote their products.