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Elevating Communities: AFEW International and ISHONCH Va Hayot’s collaborative Project Empowers Vulnerable Groups in Uzbekistan

On December 29, 2023, our partner organization in Uzbekistan, “ISHONCH VA HAYOT,” hosted a round table in Tashkent dedicated to reviewing the outcomes of its socially significant projects in 2023. Noteworthy among these initiatives was the collaboration with AFEW International on the project titled “Advocating vulnerable groups’ rights through a stronger civil society in Uzbekistan” which has been in progress with financial support from the European Commission in Uzbekistan since 2022.

The project, scheduled to conclude in August 2024, demonstrated remarkable results in 2023. Within its scope, 30 participating organizations honed their advocacy skills for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) operating in the Republic of Uzbekistan. They acquired the ability to identify institutional opportunities for funding their projects involving civil society, learned effective communication strategies for their projects, established relationships with the media, and received training on HIV awareness and AIDS prevention. Additionally, subgranting organizations underwent training on Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) and conducted applied research on Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs). Notably, 9 out of 10 organizations that received sub-grants have already completed the implementation of their projects, effecting positive changes in people’s lives.

One pivotal project within this initiative provided 76 talented participants with the guidance of an experienced curator to master key skills in creating and developing an online business through the Instagram platform. The program encompassed training on launching online stores, configuring targeted advertising, implementing social media strategies, and developing effective advertising creatives. Thanks to this project, many participants not only successfully launched their own online stores but also continued to develop, solidifying their position in the online business realm. This experience served as a crucial step toward achieving financial independence for many program participants, opening up new perspectives and opportunities in entrepreneurship.

Another impactful project initiated the development of recommendations for collaborative efforts with vulnerable women, extending beyond the city of Tashkent to include the Tashkent region. Once finalized, these recommendations will be transferred to the gender commission under the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Furthermore, post-project, the trust office continues its work based on the mahalla committee of the “Bar Hayet” mahalla in the Yunusabad District of Tashkent, providing practical assistance to women and girls facing challenging life situations.

Sergey Uchaev, the director of ISHONCH VA HAYOT, expressed, “The project “Advocating vulnerable groups’ rights through a stronger civil society in Uzbekistan”. aims to bolster the role of civil society in Uzbekistan. Throughout the project’s implementation, our sub-grantor organizations significantly strengthened cooperation and partnerships with government bodies responsible for supporting families and mahallas, as well as with local self-government bodies. This joint effort has markedly increased the experience and skills of our partners, crucial for the effective implementation of activities safeguarding the rights and interests of vulnerable groups. The acquired knowledge will be leveraged to advance our common goals and ensure sustainable social development.

In the project’s final year, we anticipate heightened activity and involvement of civil structures in protecting the rights of vulnerable populations. We also hope that, post-project completion, our subgrantees will continue and maintain the initiated work at a high level. Our endeavors will not only focus on promoting shared values but also on supporting our sub-grantees, expanding their capacity to implement activities initiated by the mini-grants. It is important to note our commitment to supporting them not only during the projects but also beyond, fostering the durability and sustainability of the results achieved through the provided support. In the long term, our organization is dedicated to enhancing the process of making claims to the government on behalf of our partners and strengthening our influence on public opinion. These steps are designed to contribute to the reduction of discrimination and social stigma, creating a more tolerant and equitable society».

In the end of the roundtable presentation, Sergey Uchayev also revealed plans to launch in 2024 a new project in collaboration with AFEW International with the financial support of European Union.  This upcoming initiative aims to bolster inclusive development opportunities for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Samarkand, Namangan, and Tashkent that are dedicated to working with women and youth. The project will extend its reach to 15 local CSOs in the Tashkent, Namangan, and Samarkand regions, seeking to enhance their effectiveness in the realm of development. Specifically, the focus will be on improving their role in youth engagement, promoting gender equality, and empowering women. Priority will be accorded to selecting CSOs that are directly involved with youth and women.

For reference

AFEW International,  in partnership with ISHONCH VA HAYOT, and with financial support from the European Union, is implementing the programme “Advocating vulnerable groups’ rights through a stronger civil society in Uzbekistan”. It is dedicated to empowering underserved groups in Uzbekistan, such as people vulnerable to discrimination – women, people with disabilities, people living with or at high risk of HIV and migrants, and to protect their rights and freedoms through strengthening and building local CSOs’ own organisations and capacities, thereby strengthening civil society in Uzbekistan.

By giving voice to vulnerable groups and seeking to participate in decision-making, the project contributes to the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 16 on developing an inclusive society and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions.


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