Sustainable herb collection in the Ishkashim District

  • TajikistanCountry
  • Korea Green FoundationDonor
  • ENGLanguage
  • rural developmentenvironmenteducationTopics

The Applicant/ Leader (in English)

Gulu Giyoh 

Background of the applicant


conservation and promotion of Badakshan plants

- preservation and revitalization of local ethnic languages, customs and traditions of Badakshan people

- raising people's awareness on properties of local mineral springs and their use 

Main acitivites:

- cooperation with local herb gatherers: assistance in processing/packaging/sale of herbal products (natural perfumes,  indigenous cosmetics, etc.) via equipment, on a small scale and for which the gatherers receive remuneration

- training of volunteers, creation of short films at the Ishkashim School of Volunteers (project “New educational programmes for Ishkashimi School of Volunteers: an avenue to boost Gulu Giyoh NGO assistance/support to heritage based sustainable development”; preservation of dying local languages (inl. Ishkashimi).

- trainings on Pamir handicraft product design, marketing; purchase of sewing and knitting machines, tools for training

Personnel & Organizational Structure    

Chairman: Davlatmamadov Shirinbek (surgeon). Operational unit: Oshur Ozodi (project manager); Muborakshoev Shakhriyor (pharmacist), Artur Khudonazarov (engineer, implementing new technologies); Usto Masain (traditional musical instruments, herbs); Amonbekov Muboriz (medical graduate); Husniya Mamadsafoeva (English teacher, translator)

Group of volunteers living in the Ishkashim district. 

Main Projects being carried out:

1. The Ishkhamir  School of Volunteers focusing on upholding cultural heritage (which also includes publishing encyclopedias on local herbs with reference to local languages (Ishkamiri, Wakhi)

2. “Community driven women entrepreneurship in Pamir rural areas, in Tajikistan” - current project useful, complimentary to this one, as it focuses on e.g. processing, packaging of herbal products (natural perfumes and essential oils), for which there is an increasing demand and of which herbs are a basic ingredient 

2015 Financials:

Total grants:

Polish Solidarity Fund – 15 000 euro (area of cultural heritage), Estonian Aid: 9050 euro

The Christensen Fund: 35000 USD  (awareness programs on natural springs, publishing encyclopedias of the Ishakashimi language and herbal plants).

3-5. Main Project Agenda/Plan for 2016:

 -  preservation Ishkashimi cultural heritage in Tajikistan (which includes processing herbs to indigenous cosmetics, essential oils, natural perfumes, making traditional mulberry and apricot jams).

- education concerning local herbal practices, preservation of the local environment complimenting efforts concentrating on poverty reduction and processing, promotion of local herbal-based products which are increasingly becoming popular amongst tourists. In this context, disseminating know how on sustainable herb gathering is an answer to an identified local need, complementary to the economic growth of the area via sustainable practices.


Applicant's legal status & registration data

Founded Date

1996 as 'Jamshed'

Registered Date

26.10.2010 (as Gulu Giyoh)

Applicant's email & phone

Address: Avj, Ishkashim district, Gorno Badakshan, Tajikistan

phone: + 992 935272292

Applicant's website/s or facebook

Contact Person for this Project

Oshur Ozodi  - project menager

phone: + 992 935272292


Partners & co-applicants involved


Name of Organization


The Development Policy Foundation


Al. Niepodleg?o?ci 163/2, 02-555, Warsaw, Poland

Contact Info.


Tel. + 48 221 881 264

Name of Representative

Wojciech Szpoci?ski


- “Supporting Gulu Giyoh activities targeting the local community, aiming at maintaining cultural heritage”

- “Natural products on Pamir. The Polish experience of market economy”

- “Bio-Badakshan. Volunteering for intergenerational cohesion and preserving the unique cultural heritge of the Ishkashim region”. 

- New educational programmes for Ishkashimi School of Volunteers: an avenue to boost Gulu Gyoh NGO assistance/support to heritage based sustainable development

The Christensen Fund


Central Asia Office
Gogol Str. 129/1 Bishkek 720011

Kyrgyz Republic

Contact Info.


Tel. +996 312 433.034

Name of Representative

Alibek Itambekov


Promoting cultural heritage, linked with bioversity: publishing “Medicinal Herbs of Badakhshan”, “Treatment with honey”, “Treatment with clay” in the local, dissapearing language.

Project Summary

The results-oriented workshop on the sustainable methods of gathering herbs (stinging nettle/great nettle, (Urtica dioica L.), garden sage, (Salvia officinalis L.) will be held in the Ishkashim district for the residents of three border region villages. The two-tier workshop will target both adults and children, adding an inclusive, intergenerational learning element to the project and strengthening intergenerational cohesion; ICT and English/local lang. (e.g. Ishkamiri) env.-centered class will add an innovative, modern (for Tajiskistan) resource to the project, which will disseminate of eco know-how and awareness of biodiversity to strike a balance between ecological values and income generation (herbs as ingredients of increasingly popular among tourists herbal products – essential oils, natural perfumes, indigenous cosmetics – a budding market with potential in poverty reduction)..

High-quality photos will be used to create educational materials – a guide in the form of a calendar (offline/online-open-source): 70 printed calendars (edu., promo. content – when, how to gather/harmful practices) to be distributed locally(for each household), and will serve as an extension to local non-participants of the project, and promo. material for the region (documenting the rich biodiversity of the area)

Background Outline & Justification

The Gorno Badakshan Autonomous Region is located at the border of Tajikistan and Afghanistan, which suffers from very poor communication (240hour journey to Dushanbe, usually inaccessible in the winter/spring), widespread poverty among the Pamir Tajik residents, who make up a minority that is politically marginalized. A high unemployment rate in comparison the rest of the country (here it is 20%) and internet access is rare in the target villages; agriculture is difficult due to a short vegetative period and lack of machinery, but the Pamirs are also a biodiversity hotspot, with over 2000 species of plants to be found, also in the upper vegetation belts (over 3000 meters asl), for which in particular many precise names in local dying languages (e.g. Ishkamiri and Wakhi – hence also the org. efforts to preserve/upohld via herb encyclopedias (project with the Christensen Foundation) and in this project.

As herb gathering is commonly an activity undertaken by the poorest (the plants are then sold to the budding producers of essential oils/natural perfumes, increasingly popular among tourists) the project presents a high degree of usefulness for the local community: income generation will be influenced by better handling of herbal ingredients, while at the same time limiting harmful effects of improper gathering to the environment: the area is characterized by a rich natural habitat, under threat by and unsustainable practices and a strong risk of over-exploitation. Uncontrolled, improper gathering leads to the disruption of natural balance, negatively impacts replenishing of flora, hinders capacity of regrowth and leads to biodiversity loss. Hence the current project aims to fulfill the specifically identified need of training herb gatherers in order to both preserve the environment and improve livelihoods. In the area there is an identified, distinct lack of edu. activities aiming at increasing eco-awareness, knowledge on the rich immediate natural environment, partly due to lack of inter-generational cohesion, significant economic migration. Interactive/innovative/attractive and integrated methods aren't used – workshops will add. facilitate cumulative/pooled knowledge (with high potential for reproduction, TOT approach via local teachers, further dissemination of eco know-how via locals).

Gulu Giyoh is the only such organization in the Ishkashim valley, and has been working with the local community since its foundation in 1996 (is well-established, known). It cooperates with herbal product producers (previous projects included equipping producers the org. with processing/packaging equipment. The org. is supporting local community efforts to enhance market potential of herbal products, marketing and promotion of e.g. natural perfumes herbal teas, essences, natural wax candles with essential oils (also via Facebook, the websites, making videos and shorts films- see appendix), all part of a coordinated and complimentary to create an enabling environment, improve living conditions, create jobs, reduce poverty and promote the region through sustainable and eco-friendly initiatives, taking into account and preserving the rich biodiversity and unique landscape of the area. The current project is complementary to to the general aim of promoting economic growth – but in a nature-friendly, harmonious, sustainable way that does not harm and protects the environment.  It's complimentary to other undertaken projects (we do have basic workshop equipment, ie. projector, computers – Solidarity Fund/Christensen Fund and also processing/packaging equipment). Our org. aids in processing, packaging, marketing, sale on a small scale of the herbal products while remunerating herb gatherers.    

Project location

Awj, Sandjun, Andarob villages in the Ishkashim district, Gorno Badakshan Region, Tajikistan 

Project Start & End Date:

2016/05/01 – 2016/10/31

Amount Requested, state the currency

5000 USD    

Overall objective or goal

1. dissemination of eco-knowledge on sustainable gathering practices of local herbs among residents of the three target villages in the Ishkashim region

2. to enhance quality & boost attractiveness of ecological & environmental oriented formal & informal education for kids & youth in Pamir via/ through employment of versatile modern standard cross-cutting edu-approaches: combination of open-air/field eco-classes with photo & ICT & ENG/ local languages knowledge & skills advancement

3. promotion of the region and its rich biodiversity, cultivate and spread knowledge on local herbs

 4. create an enabling environment for sustainable, eco-friendly economic growth in the region (herbs as ingredients of increasingly popular e.g. indigenous cosmetics, wax candles with essential oils, perfumes)    

Specific objective(s)

1. spreading knowledge on sustainable gathering practices of local herbs among residents of the three target villages in the Ishkashim region.,promotion of the Ishkashim region and its rich biodiversity

2.To enhance quality & boost attractiveness of ecological & environmental oriented formal & informal education for kids & youth in Pamir via/ through employment of versatile modern standard cross-cutting edu-approaches: combination of open-air/field eco-classes with photo & ICT & ENG/ local languages knowledge & skills advancement

3.  value chain support of locally produced, herbal-based products, e.g. indigenous cosmetics, essential oils/essences/herbal teas/tinctures/infusions/ natural wax candles with essential oils  ; supporting income generation    

Description of the activities

1. kick-off meeting – June.

2. intensive 10-day workshops. Day 1 (adults&children). morning/ introduction, ice-breaker Gorno-Badakshan natural environment introduction; afternoon/ interactive mapping of prevalence of particular herbs – project work using cameras, maps,  photo-trap installation.

Day2-3. Mornings/herb gathering/biodiversity preservation w/energizing exercise for adults; child./open-air eco. classes with language (Eng, Ishk.) components. Afternoons/ interactive demonstration (day 2) and tour (day 3) – common for adults and children

Day 4-5: mornings - herb gath./bio. pres. w/energ. exercise and discussion;   environ. games for children. Afternoons/ moderated Q&A – brainstorming session involving generational transmission of know-how (common)

Day 6-7: mornings - adults/ herb gath./bio. pres. w/energ. exercise. Q&A/ interactive demonstration and environ. classes for children. Afternoons/ best-practices story-session for adults; environ. games with ICT component for children 

Day 8 (adults&children):morning/afternoon/practical field experience-intergenerational group work .

Day 9: morning - adults/ herbs as ingredients (of wellness products, essential oils, natural perfumes) – biodiversity/ecology for children; afternoon/ field work cont (with children).  Day 10: summing up, break, closing of the workshops - common

3. June-Sept.: 5 1-day follow-ups,  problem-solving, photo-documenting gathered herbs

4. October: design and printing of 70 guides, guide distribution. Concludig conference (incl. inviting other GBAO schools, donors – Christensen Fund, Agha Khan Found. Representatives; promo. of our method/program  for possible follow-up and extension.

Ongoing activities: photo-documentation, regularly updating Facebook and the organization website    

Outputs or immediate project products or results:

1. promotion of the Ishkashim region and its rich biodiversity/unique landscape, conservation of local biodiversity via sustainable herb gathering practices,  practical implementation of gained knowledge, heightened awareness of ecological practices, combined with a multiplier effect – participants of the workshops can disseminate sustainable practices among non-participants

2. 1 attractive, cross-disciplinary, integrated, innovatory ecu-envi edu programme inv., children and adults, launched & implemented involving at least 3 schools ; easy scalable & multiplicative: developed edu mat/tools available as an open-source; TOT approach, possibility of ext. to others school in the region via trained local teachers

3. create an enabling environment for sustainable, eco-friendly economic growth in the region (herbs as ingredients of increasingly popular e.g. indigenous cosmetics, wax candles with essential oils, perfumes)

4. production of guides (calendars) – tangible result which will yield a multiplier effect (educ., inform. , practical content: which herbs, where and how to collect, their use, which practices are harmful/unsustainable (short- and long-term)  – via a simple, attractive medium, incl. photos/drawings)    


( Exchange rate : 1USD =   7.87    TJS  )




(Local currency)

USD ($)

Activity Cost

(Direct expenses for the project)



Edu. equipment for children (e.g. 1 photo-trap, small cameras)



calendar production (design, printing) x 70



photo-documentation, website/Facebook updating



remuneration of conducting workshops  (2 persons)



room and board for participants and the tutor



flight ticket, visa costs, insurance of the tutor



local transportation costs (from Dushanbe)



conference room rental






Operational Cost

(Indirect expenses)

coordination and accounting