AKIPRESS.COM - New funding from the Government of Japan in the amount of $1.9 million will expand UNDP’s work to address the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic’s in Uzbekistan.
The additional $1.9 million will complement and scale up ongoing UNDP COVID-19 Rapid Response, initiated with its core funding, for a total of $3 mln.
In Uzbekistan, UNDP’s response focuses on groups that experience highest degree of socio-economic marginalization and require specific attention: women, youth in informal sector/ unemployed, returned migrants, existing micro, small and medium size enterprises, starts ups.
To strengthen the government capacity to deliver services while working mostly remotely (e.g. through telecommuting) due to COVID-19, UNDP is harnessing the power of digital technology by helping Uzbekistan to ensure the business continuity of the state bodies under the lockdown circumstances including digitalizing mahallas (local communities). UNDP will support Government’s effort to pilot the transformation of the 9,600 branches of the Ministry to electronic document management system, as a pre-requisite to the reform objectives to fully digitalize the functioning of the Ministry and strengthen effectiveness of COVID crisis response and recovery in the area of social protection. The Ministry identified 100 mahallas/communities in highest need to be equipped with required hard and software and piloted for the roll-out for the information management system. The support will be coupled with training for increased capabilities of the newly created Ministry’s personnel and a web-platform.
Supporting innovative business start-ups – Small businesses have strongly felt the negative impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding provided by the Government of Japan will be also used to host UNDP Uzbekistan’s annual start-up competition, through which young people are encouraged to pitch business ideas with potential for positive social impact. 40 young men and women will receive seed funding to implement their ideas in social innovation, competitively selected through the Start-up Challenges.
UNDP’s response in Uzbekistan is also focused on employment for those who are at most risk hit by the crisis. Jobs creation interventions will address needs of most affected groups - youth, women, small enterprises and agricultural cooperatives from remote rural areas. Interventions will have short-term, immediate focus, and will provide online advisory services to 990 SMEs, medium-term measures, including business advisory and coaching to 80 SMEs. Financial support and equipment will be provided to 30 small companies and six cooperatives which service over 240 farmers from remote areas. The support will contribute to increasing employment opportunities and livelihoods for women, youth, farmers.
And empowering women in workplaces and society - last but not least. The funding offered by the Government of Japan will support key activities of the ‘Empowering women to participate in public administration and socio-economic life’ project. The funds will support initiatives encouraging women to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), along with an additional technovations programme to target young women, and our growing assistance offered to women-led cooperatives. 300 young women will be engaged in such technovations challenge.
UNDP and the Government of Japan have previous experience of successful collaboration including implementation of the UN Joint Programme ‘Building the Resilience of Local Communities Against Health, Environmental and Economic Insecurities in the Aral Sea Region’. Part of the funding for this programme, worth USD$128,000 is allocated to strengthen the communities against the COVID-19 pandemic, providing necessary medical equipment and capacity building.