This month, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) began distributing over $200,000 worth of equipment to 226 female graduates of a USAID-supported entrepreneurship and vocational training program. The rural entrepreneurs will use the equipment to launch start-up businesses. The equipment handover is part of USAID’s $3.4 Million Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative.
USAID Mission Director in Uzbekistan Mikaela Meredith explained, “When rural women can access the training and financial support they need to establish their own businesses, then the way people think about gender changes and Uzbekistan’s economic growth becomes more inclusive, sustainable, and rapid.”
The Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative was launched in 2021. From April to August 2022, USAID, in partnership with the National Center for Socio-Economic Development “SABR” and 13 regional NGOs trained around 1,000 unemployed, rural women in entrepreneurship, financial and legal literacy, accounting, access to credit, labor rights, and awareness of gender-based violence.
In addition, targeted vocational trainings were provided in horticulture, beekeeping, dairy, silk, rabbit, and poultry production; as well as traditional ethnic crafts, hospitality services, confectionery, cooking, sewing, hairdressing, accounting, computer literacy, and IT. USAID launched additional training groups in September and October.
USAID’s support has already resulted in approximately 500 training graduates launching businesses or securing skilled employment. The two hundred and twenty-six training graduates receiving equipment will launch business enterprises in greenhouse production, milk processing, poultry production, carpet weaving, sewing, embroidery, and bakeries.