“It was difficult for my husband to maintain our big family by working in the farm,” says Olufta, 35, a housewife and mother of five. The past two years have brought some positive change to the family budget as Olufta, along with nine other women in her districts, received four beehives into her care from the UNDP Communities Programme within the Livelihood Improvement of Rural Population (LIRP) project. Within two years the number of Olufta’s bee colonies has risen to ten.
“Last year we have sold more than 50 kg of honey and this year we are expecting to get around 100kg,” she says. “We made sufficient income to purchase better school uniform for the kids, provide them with better, varied food, and add honey to our menu. All of this has positively affected the kids’ progress at school and the wellbeing of our family in general,” she adds with a happy tone.
LIRP is among several other UNDP projects in Lakhsh District aiming to combat poverty. In April the UN Resident Coordinator Pratibha Mehta has been on a tour to visit and talk to the beneficiaries of these projects. “UNDP supported elaboration of the Social and Economic Development Programs in many districts of the country, including Lakhsh, and is committed in further supporting the local administration in the implementations of their programs, in bringing their priorities in-line with the National Development Strategy 2016-2030, with the Midterm Development Strategy 2016-2020” says the Resident Coordinator.
Ms. Pratibha Mehta, also visited sewing workshop for wives of labor migrants and unemployed housewives in Lakhsh district during her visit to Rasht Valley. This subproject provided job opportunity for 26 wives of labor migrants and unemployed in the district. 15 modern sewing machines were purchased and installed in the center. The services provided by the center assist to improve the quality of produced goods and satisfy a demand of the local population. Women of Rasht Valley in Tajikistan are eager to contribute to the development of their motherland. UNDP is working with rural communities to empower and support women.
As well as the workshop for processing wool was established in Rasht district. Two carding and washer machines, wool drying machines, press for sealing woolen fibers, felting machines, and other necessary equipment purchased and installed in the place. The total capacity of processing over 120kg of raw materials per 8 working hours. The workshop creates 24 (10 women) permanent jobs and 120 (30 women) seasonal jobs. Confectionery workshop is established in Tojikobod district. 15 young girls from low-income families, including graduators of the secondary school from neighboring jamoats are taught on baking skills. Six of them are employed in the workshop.
To maximize the coverage and reach out to potential beneficiaries, the UNDP has identified target groups and developed projects based on the needs of each of those groups, including people with disabilities, unemployed women and young women, who have just finished school. The aim of these projects is to teach these people not only producing goods locally, starting from embroidery and apparel to food processing, but also basic trade skills to make a better use of their production.
Basket production and fruit processing workshop is designed for disabled people. A local home-based mini-workshop has been established within the frameworks of the project, allowing 40 women and men from disabled families to engage in income-generating business. In the first four months after the completion of the project in December 2017, the Society for Disabled People of Lakhsh district has generated a total revenue of more than 12,000 TJS (1300 USD) from selling locally produced food. In fact, 12,590 Tajik Somoni is total revenue, out of which: 5,010 TJS spent for salary of employees of Society of Disabled People of Lakhsh district (12-15 women 300-400 TJS / monthly salary); 5,350 TJS spent for humanitarian aid for disabled people/ members of Society around Lakhsh district (4kg sugar and 4kg rice to each disable family, totally 64 disabled people / families benefited from humanitarian aid distribution); And, some 2,230 TJS is leftover (balance) – which has been saved for development of Society of Disabled People of Lakhsh district.
“When it comes to contributing to the economy, disabled people are often an overlooked group. We are trying to change that by including people with disabilities in our local economic development initiatives and we hope that more changes and more opportunities will come along now that Tajikistan has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities,” says Zebo Jalilova, UNDP Communities Programme Manager.