12 February, 2019 –A two-year programme set to improve the livelihoods and well-being of up to 3,000 women with disabilities and veterans of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was signed today by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Population of Azerbaijan, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). The programme, which was developed at the initiative of the First Vice-President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, will help the Government produce gender and age-disaggregated data on disability and allow it to design inclusive policies for the employment of war veterans and women and girls living with disabilities. It will also foster positive attitudes and perceptions to eliminate stigma and discrimination towards vulnerable population groups.
Jointly funded by the Government of Azerbaijan, UNDP and UNFPA the Programme is worth around USD 1 million and is expected to provide an accessible and inclusive environment for personal and professional growth of up to 3,000 vulnerable people, including those who lived through traumatic experiences of war.
The programme is expected to be a life-changing experience for a country in which more than 6% of the population are people with disabilities and over 50,000 persons were left with war-related injuries, multiple forms of physical disabilities and mental problems as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. A new state-of the art Virtual Skills Development and Training Lab (V-Lab) will be launched for women with disabilities and war veterans offering them access to knowledge, information and employment opportunities through the use of modern ICT. A model art school will also be established in Baku to promote social inclusion and offer a wide range of innovation start-up and business development platforms to women and girls with and without disability as well as to veterans of war.
Awareness-raising and grassroots advocacy campaigns will be organised throughout the country to eliminate stigma towards persons with disabilities. This will also include sensitising the country’s top decision-makers, members of parliament, business executives, who are also potential employers, and the broader public on the importance of creating disability-friendly premises, attitudes and policies.
To address existing gaps in empirical data, conceptually new methodological guidelines will be developed to guide the integration of age and gender-disaggregated disability data in national monitoring and reporting schemes. The project will also improve the capacity-building of government institutions to ensure that such data can later be produced independently.
The programme will be implemented in the cities of Baku, Salyan and Masalli in close partnership with the State Committee for Family, Women and Children’s Affairs and the State Statistics Committee. It will entail close collaboration with local authorities, the public and private employers, media, grassroots communities and not-for-profit organisations.
The new collaborative framework is in line with the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and will address a number of Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 8, which aims to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for persons with disabilities. Echoing Goal 10, it will aim to reduce existing inequalities by promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of all, including persons with disabilities. The new programme will also contribute to Goal 17, by highlighting capacity-building support to countries to increase the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by disability.
- Arzu Jafarli, Communications and External Relations Analyst for UNDP in Azerbaijan – email@example.com
- Farhad Hajiyev, Communications Officer for UNFP in Azerbaijan –firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fazil Talibov, Head of the Public Relations and Communications Department at the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Population – email@example.com