On April 15, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a comprehensive program for rural women across Uzbekistan to improve their workforce development knowledge and skills and empower them to gain employment. Implemented in partnership with the National Center for Socio-Economic Development “SABR” and 13 regional socio-oriented NGOs, USAID will also finance investments in equipment to support female entrepreneurs in launching startups.
“USAID’s support will allow women, especially in rural areas, to obtain more skilled and qualified jobs, improve their income, and increase their contribution to the wellbeing of their communities. These initiatives will help Uzbekistan achieve its goals to enhance women’s economic empowerment,” said Mikaela Meredith, USAID Mission Director in Uzbekistan.
Under the SABR program, rural women will be trained in entrepreneurship, including business operations and financial management, basic accounting, marketing, and business planning, as well as labor rights and gender equality. Targeted vocational training will be provided in greenhouse and backyard horticulture production, beekeeping, dairy, silk production, rabbit and poultry production, traditional ethnic crafts, hospitality services, confectionery, cooking, sewing, hairdressing, accounting, computer literacy, and IT.
Out of nearly 1,000 rural women who will benefit from this program, at least 30 percent will be provided with income generation opportunities, such as employment or start-up financing. SABR will provide micro-loans to select training graduates, and USAID will provide the equipment needed to start up or expand their businesses. Training graduates will be linked with local businesses to obtain internships, employment, as well as mentorship.
This program is part of a larger initiative which USAID launched with $1 million to support rural women in Uzbekistan by equipping them with business skills and vocational training, microfinance, mentorship, and employment programs.