Our Blog

      • Small is Beautiful– Applying Uzbekistan’s IWRM Experiences in Broader Central Asia

        29 Apr 2014

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        By online communications assistant James Brindley Trying to address a localised problem through a nationwide effort can be like trying to crack a nut with a sledgehammer, to use the common phrase. While the effort may seem holistic and broad-thinking, ultimately it may fail to solve the task at hand and the resulting benefits will be far smaller. From the 18th to the 19th of April the ‘Integrated Water Resource Management in Central Asia’ conference was held in Tashkent, attended by the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination (ICWC), United Nations Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA), UNDP, Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of the Republic of Uzbekistan (MAWR) and the Executive Committee of IFAS. The conference, opened by UN Resident Coordinator Stefan Priesner, was a chance to share perspectives and best practices in water management. In his presentation at the conference, manager of the UNDP Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) project Ulugbek Islamov highlighted the need to see water management as a localised effort. He emphasised the need for small-scale solutions supported by local government and the beneficiaries - IWRM works best when the ‘Small is Beautiful’ development principle is applied. “The concept of IWRM cannot be  Read More

      • Pistachios - A Positive Legacy for the Future of Rural Uzbekistan

        24 Apr 2014

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        From little things...Bastankul Saidkulov demonstrates how pistachio seedlings are best cared for.

        By Online Communications Assistant James Brindley For some farmers they were a means to improve the fertility of overworked soil. Some saw them a hardy crop that can deliver profits even in extreme conditions, while others saw their potential to boost employment in communities. Many considered them a long-lasting investment that would support not only themselves but also their children and descendants. In February 2014, 40 farmers from Uzbekistan’s Djizakh, Samarkand and Tashkent travelled to Tashkent city to learn about Central Asia’s native pistachio crop. They took part in the ‘How to create a varietal pistachio plantation – a new, cost solution for the effective use of land in the rain-fed area of the Tashkent Region’ seminar, held at the office of the Council of Farmers of Uzbekistan, at the nation’s capital of Tashkent. Organised by both the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) as implemented by UNDP in Uzbekistan, and its national partners, the event was a chance for farmers to discuss the crop and how its benefits. For Tashkent region farmer Joravoy Odinayev, who lives in a community with low employment, the nuts are a significant long-term investment. “It is a very export-viable product,” Joravoy told UNDP.  Read More

      • Paternity leave – to take or not to take?

        06 Mar 2014

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        Blog by Ugiloy Juraboeva & Zumrad Sagdullaeva Does it struck you too how strange it is that women in our offices take maternity leave automatically but among men it is not taken for granted? We, Ugiloy and Zumrad, were interested to know more about the trends among our male colleagues in UNDP on use of the paternity leave entitlement. If there are cases of refusal, we wanted to dig deeper and find out the rationale and possible hindrances which were ‘invisible to the eye’. That is how this blog idea came to us. In order to get answers to these questions we conducted interviews with male colleagues who had embraced parenthood for the last 5 years.  First of all, we have learnt that despite good ‘delivery rate’, very few decided to take paternity leave, but those who did seemed to have incredibly benefited from the precious memories and quality time spent with a newborn. You can enjoy reading, impressions of our colleague, Azizkhon Bakhadirov, in his blog. Secondly, the interviews revealed many interesting factors that influence men’s decision as to the paternity leave, particularly when it comes to reasons not to take it, which in summary include the following: ·         underestimation  Read More

      • Gender equality in Uzbekistan: why do I care about it?

        05 Mar 2014

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        Blog by Ziyodullo Parpiev This picture was taken several years ago as evidence that a UNDP project was helping a community to bring safe drinking water. In the picture you will see that the women are digging a ditch with ketmen, a traditional shovel-type instrument in Uzbekistan. What are men doing? They are standing nearby and commanding the earth-digging process. Maybe the picture was not intended to mean it, but for me it is a symbol of gender equality in the country. Just few numbers – women constitute 45.4% of all employed (in 2012), but they are primarily employed in low-paying sectors such as health care and education (76.2% and 68.4% of total employment in those sectors, respectively). Women are greatly underrepresented in sectors with higher wage such as construction (9.2%), transport and communications (12.2%) and manufacturing (39.3%). As a result, women end up earning on average 30-40% less than men. Very important difference between men and women is time spent on un-paid work at home: women on average spend almost 4 hours on housekeeping and other household chores, while men spend only 1 hour every day (data on time spent on different activities comes from 2005 ADB survey as reported  Read More

      • Making Education Better, from the Eyes of a Student

        02 Mar 2014

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        With the right technical know-how and assistance, good ideas can become great solutions

        By Online Communications Assistant James Brindley and the PR and Outreach Specialist of the UNDP/UNV 'Social Innovation and Volunteerism’ project Bakhrom Radjabov What makes a great innovator? The ability to see a problem that no-one else notices, and to come up with a solution that not only addresses the matter but helps to solve a myriad of other concerns. More often than not, such an insightful person can come from the most unexpected of places. When Ulugbek Musabekov was a high-school student, his interests ranged beyond those of his peers. While other students were merely focused on their studies, Ulugbek was interested in how the school functioned as a whole and asked questions beyond his years: How did students and teachers interact? How could the success and shortcomings of students be identified to parents, and how could greater communication improve the quality of education on offer? What had to be improved, he decided, was efficiency – an office full of paperwork did little to assist the exchange of information between homes and classrooms. When he left school and began his university studies, he felt a responsibility for ensuring his younger brother received a high standard of education. Later as a student  Read More

      • There is a small thing in my blood

        28 Feb 2014

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        Test for HIV today - be responsible for your health

        Blog by Liya Perepada She was looking down at the passing cars through the window of the ninth floor. Her long black hair made the phrase ‘almost like Rapunzel’ float in my mind. She made me turn around - I had not seen such a beautiful face before, with unusually delicate features. Such beauty always makes one squirm a bit. Regardless of what people say, appearance is always the first thing we appreciate about a person… In a moment Malika starts telling me her story. Everything was as usual - a childhood in a Mahalla, going to school and university, her marriage and two children. Malika says her two sons give meaning to her life – they are her treasure and happiness. Seemingly nothing could disrupt the natural course of events, even a ‘small thing’ – as Malika calls it – the human immunodeficiency virus which has now been living in her blood for five years. It was something that she had not expected. Unfortunately, five years ago her husband passed away suddenly and doctors asked her and the children to take a HIV test. HIV was not found in children, but Malika’s results were positive. ‘I can’t see it, I  Read More

      • Cutting Through the Red Tape

        17 Feb 2014

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        Steps are being taken to ensure that national finances are delivered to the sectors that need them, in a timely and efficient way.

        By Online Communications Assistant James Brindley and the PR Specialist of the ‘Budget System Reform in Uzbekistan’ project Malika Tayjanova In 2013 and in years before, the formulation of annual budgets in Uzbekistan was an arduous task. In a centralised process, producing annual budgets required referrals to 50 often-contradictory documents and two laws. This process was invariably slow in regional Uzbekistan. However, three years of extensive collaboration between UNDP and the Ministry of Finance has led to the development of a Budget Code. The main focus of UNDP’s work towards establishing a Budget Code, officially introduced in January 2014, has been to simplify budgetary processes while also ensuring the use of Performance-Based Budgeting. Making steps towards streamlining Uzbekistan’s budgetary process has, first and foremost, required the simplification of related legislation. Before the Budget Code, financial experts developed annual budgets by using two separate laws (the first addressing budgetary processes and the second addressing budgetary funds), along with a range of often contradictory documents associated with these processes. Today both laws have been compiled into a single piece of legislation, and a Budget Code has been formulated. By clarifying the budgetary process and eliminating the possibility of misinterpretation of key documents, the  Read More

      • HIV - Living Behind a Disguise

        17 Feb 2014

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        By UNDP Online Communications Assistant James Brindley - In many ways Sherzhod is the face of Uzbekistan’s younger generation; he is a tech-savvy  urban youth who is always on the hunt for next idea. Right now he works a typical job that a 22-year-old could expect, but dreams about a future career in medicine, so he knows that extra studying lies near in the future. Like many of his peers in Uzbekistan, he is expected to get married and start a family, but for now he is content to pursue his career and to try and make an impact. He is also living with an illness. In reality, he told me during an interview at the offices of the NGO where he works in Tashkent, his illness is not that bad. There are plenty of things that could make his life harder and shorter, but in the scheme of things he is relatively healthy. What distresses him more are not his illness’s symptoms, but its reputation, and the fact that he cannot tell anyone about it. Sherzhod is not his real name, and he is one of an approximate 24,000 Uzbek people who are HIV-positive. HIV is a persistent problem in Uzbekistan,  Read More

      • Gender-based violence in Uzbekistan

        23 Jan 2014

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        Why victims remain silent in Uzbekistan

        By Komila Rakhimova - Putting gender-based violence on the national agenda is of paramount concern for Uzbekistan, as there are few statistics on this issue and services for victims are scarce. The subject of violence against women is taboo not only in society, but also in policy discussions by the nation’s leaders. Across Uzbekistan, only a few shelters and non-governmental organizations, some unofficially, provide services for women and children who have been victims of violence. That’s why we used the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women as an opportunity to get the word out about this subject. The global day is designed to do just that: Get people thinking and talking about an issue that is often unspoken of in day-to-day life. UNDP collaborated with national partners on activities for the annual joint United Nations 16 Days of Activism campaign, From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World, which ran from 25 November to 10 December. Campaign activities, including interactive games and quizzes, took place across all 14 regions of the country. Sports associations also played a large role in this year’s campaign by providing demonstrations of self-defence techniques. We also updated our information booklet, which contains contact information for organizations that provide legal,  Read More

      • A Day in the Life of … a UNV Community Volunteer Coordinator in Uzbekistan

        13 Dec 2013

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        Maksuda with volunteers at a workshop on raising awareness about preventing HIV and AIDS

        By Andreas Karpati - Meet 40 year old Maksuda Muhsinbaeva, Community Volunteer Coordinator based in Namangan, the most populous city in the Fergana Valley in Eastern Uzbekistan. She has a background in psychology, a decade-long record in community development with both local and international organizations, and is now one of several National United Nations Volunteers throughout the regions of Uzbekistan. The project that Maksuda is part of, Social Innovation and Volunteerism in Uzbekistan, is led jointly by UNDP and UN Volunteers. Its mission is to create an environment that’s more supportive of youth volunteerism, civic engagement, and to encourage the use of innovative approaches to tackle community challenges. The project is based in the capital, Tashkent, and it has no national counterpart, so bringing the project’s benefits outside the capital is a challenge. Given that there’s a considerable opportunity gap between the well-developed metropolitan area of Tashkent and provincial cities (not to mention more rural regions), it’s imperative to make sure the project reaches these areas too. This is where Community Volunteer Coordinators like Maksuda come in. They help deliver the benefits of initiatives like small grants schemes, social innovation workshops or youth-run debating clubs, tried and tested in Tashkent, throughout the country. It’s satisfying but challenging  Read More