Upgrading Municipal Services in FYR Macedonia
June 23, 2014
Farmer Trajco Prodanov returns to his home every afternoon in the Macedonian village of Chanaklija after long hours of plowing his fields.
Each moment at work represents sorely-needed income, so no longer having to worry about collecting water for his household is a big relief, he says.
“When we didn’t have the water system, we had to leave our work in order to fetch water. Since last year we have water at home. It saves us a lot of time. It is life. We can have water whenever we want it,” he says.
Prodanov and others in his village benefited from a municipal services program, which installed a new water supply system in their area in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The water system was paid for through a sub-loan to the local municipality, as part of the government-run program, termed “the Municipal Services Improvement project.”
“Now we can rest and do something else. Before, we couldn’t because we had to collect water and we lost a lot of time. It was very hard,” says Bozana Lazarova, who also lives in Chanaklija with her children and grandchildren.
Under the World Bank-supported project, more than 30 municipalities across FYR Macedonia have signed loans for investments in high-priority areas, such as water supply, energy efficiency, sanitation and other public services.
Now we can rest and do something else. Before, we couldn’t because we had to collect water and we lost a lot of time. It was very hard.
In the village of Monospitovo, the local municipality used a loan from the improvement project to finance construction of a small but enormously important bridge.
Before construction of the new bridge, Monospitovo farmers say they previously had to travel up to an hour to the nearest bridge in order to get to their fields, greenhouses and markets on the other side of the river. It now takes only minutes.
“It is important because the village of Monospitovo has land across the river that is fertile, and easy access there is necessary,” says local farmer, Vasil Bonev.
And Gorancho Chorev, another Monospitovo farmer, says that because of the new bridge, “the transport of goods is now more secure and our produce doesn’t get damaged or spoiled along the way.”
Both Bonev and Chorev say that the resulting savings in time and fuel have also led to increases in the amount of vegetables, fruits and other food items they are able to harvest and sell at market, leading to the hiring of more farm hands at home!
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