Photos: UNDP Uzbekistan

The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives helps improve economic opportunities and access to clean water in Uzbekistan’s Sydarya and Karakalpakstan regions

5 June 2020, Tashkent –The Government of Canada, through the Embassy of Canada’s Fund for Local Initiatives allocated today 250,000 Canadian Dollars (CAD) to enhance UNDP’s livelihood development activities in the Syrdarya region, and in the Aral Sea area of the Karakalpakstan region.

The financial support offered will help build resilience to the pandemic in rural areas of Uzbekistan, by increasing employment opportunities for women-led rural households in the Sydarya region and enhancing access to clean water and safe disinfectants in Karakalpakstan

Combined with resources from other donors, this funding will be utilized by the Rapid Response Facility created to address COVID-19’s consequences in Uzbekistan

Given the essential role small businesses play in Uzbekistan’s economy, and the major impact COVID-19 has had on this sector, supporting entrepreneurs has been a national priority. The funding provided by Canada will improve employment capacities and training opportunities for women-led households in Syrdarya by establishing women-led businesses including pasta production, barbershops and hair salons, sewing workshops, and a handicrafts training center

The funding will also be used to improve clean water access for sanitation purposes, helping prevent COVID-19 infections in women-led households and schools in both Sydarya and Karakalpakstan regions. In Karakalpakstan, water will be sourced from shallow wells and collector-drainage systems, and further purified through a reverse osmosis process. The resulting brine waste product will be processed by hydrolysis equipment to make sodium hypochlorite, a safe disinfectant which is effective against COVID-19. In Syrdarya, access to clean water will be achieved by reconstructing existing wells and creating a new water distribution system.

These initiatives have been planned together with women leaders of community organizations, such as the women-led Association of Pasture Cooperatives of Karakalpakstan, while also being informed by needs-assessment studies. These national partners will play an instrumental role in helping to achieve the project outcomes, while they will also provide training and support to community residents, thereby helping ensure the project’s sustainability.

The initiative will also create at least 100 jobs for women, and train at least 1,500 unemployed women in marketable skills which will help them gain greater economic independence.

The Embassy of Canada and the UNDP have collaborated since 2015  through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives,  contributing to efforts to empower women and most recently ,and most recently tothe UNDP project ‘Developing climate resilience of farming communities in the drought prone parts of Uzbekistan’ (May 2020). UNDP will continue working in close collaboration with the Fund over coming years, to accelerate peace and development in Uzbekistan.

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