Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

UNDP has updated this digital tool for connecting day laborers with work opportunities, helping maximize employment rates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

24 October 2020, Tashkent  -Utilizing funding from the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund, UNDP has updated the useability of the ‘Job Café’ mobile application for day laborers and their employers, first launched in early 2019, to help limit unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ‘Job Café’ application has been designed to reduce unemployment levels in Uzbekistan, and helping young people find new sources of daily income, by making it easier for day laborers and potential employers to find each-other and make work arrangements. The digital space eliminates the need for travel and other hassles often required to make contracts, and has allowed all parties to maintain social distance during quarantine. As of June 2020, 1,000 citizens were registered on its database.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused loss of income and high unemployment rates in countries around the world, mostly impacting people working in informal sectors, and impoverished persons. In the first six months of 2020, Uzbekistan’s unemployment rate rose 13.2%, to a total of almost 2 million people. 20.1% of people aged 16 to 30 are unemployed, as are 17.4% of women. Currently 5.1 million people are employed in Uzbekistan’s informal sector.

In April 2020, the UN released a framework for an immediate socio-economic response to the COVID-19 crisis, to support countries in their recoveries. One main direction of the programme has been to preserve jobs, and to support SMEs and informal sector workers.

‘Job Café’ allows day laborers to register themselves, through uploading their personal data, photographs and passport copies, along with photographs of their work, and to indicate their geolocation on the application’s map. Payments can also be made through the tool. This application’s digital functioning has made it even more critical for providing employment opportunities during the COVID-19 period.

In response to higher levels of expected use during the current pandemic, the ‘Job Café’ application’s interface has been fully redesigned and given a new look, in order to make it more user-friendly. For instance, through the updated format, an employer seeking a laborer will be able to quickly find an appropriate specialist through a comprehensive list of categories.

In addition, the application’s new control panel contains a feature that allows data to be presented in the form of infographics. This will allow government agencies to easily access and analyze stored data on employment rates and other matters.

Currently the management of the ‘Job Café’ mobile application has been transferred to the Ministry for Mahalla and Family Affairs. Later it will be operated under the authority of either the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations, or the Agency for Youth Affairs.

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