January 14, 2022 Tashkent, Uzbekistan – Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Agribusiness Development activity established a “Gender Development Fund” and announced a request for concept papers to co-invest with craft enterprises and individual craftswomen. The funds will be used to add value to products and services allowing rural women entrepreneurs to access new markets, generate sales, create new jobs and improve income.
Economic hardships pose a greater impact on vulnerable groups of the population, especially rural women. In Uzbekistan, a majority of rural women are engaged in smallholder farms, usually as seasonal and low-skilled manual labor. The lack of specialized education and financial resources diminish rural women’s potential to pursue farming and entrepreneurship activities and limits them from contributing to the economic wellbeing of their families and communities. To address this issue, in 2021, USAID allocated $1 million through its Agribusiness Development activity to support Uzbek women in gaining employment and launching start-up enterprises.
The “Gender Development Fund” will co-finance the introduction of new technologies ranging between UZS 5 million and UZS 50 million for individual craftswomen, and between UZS 50 million and UZS 200 million for registered craft enterprises. USAID is particularly interested in co-investing in enterprises that want to employ women and female youth in managerial, technical, and other decision-making positions. Supporting such businesses will help Uzbekistan achieve women’s economic empowerment.
The deadline for the submission of applications is February 15, 2022. The announcement and concept paper template are available for download here.
This initiative is implemented by the USAID Agribusiness Development activity, a five-year activity implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan, that supports private sector-led growth in Uzbekistan’s agriculture sector by introducing new value-added technologies and management practices across the entire value chain for targeted agricultural commodities. These efforts are focused on increasing value-added production within Uzbekistan, engaging women and youth, linking educational institutions with private sector demand, and promoting favorable policies for agriculture.
USAID partners with the Government of Uzbekistan to diversify the country’s economy and increase regional trade, address serious health threats – including COVID-19 – and build the government’s capacity to respond to the population’s needs. For more information, please visit: https://www.usaid.gov/uzbekistan.