Over 400 women to benefit from new joint initiative by the Government, UNDP and UN Women, funded by Switzerland
Baku, 13 March 2019: Today, a new Women’s Resource Centre was opened in the Baku Khazar District, in the presence of the Chairperson of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs, Ms. Hijran Huseynova, the UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS, Ms. Mirjana Spojlaric Egger, the Deputy Regional Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office for the South Caucasus, Dr. Simone Haeberli and the Head of the Baku City Khazar District Executive Power, Mr. Elshan Salahov.
“The Women’s Resource Centres have created an ecosystem for women to learn from and support one another in their quest for personal fulfilment and economic opportunity,” said Ms Egger in her opening speech. “The Centres have not only supported women entrepreneurs in setting up their own businesses but helped them gain confidence and equality in the family and grow in stature to become role models in the community.”
Since the launch of the Women’s Resource Centres in 2011, more than 6,000 women have been provided with free training, ranging from accounting and financial literacy, computer science, fundraising methods, women’s human and economic rights to resumé writing, presentation skills and networking techniques. These trainings have directly helped hundreds of women across the country launch their own businesses with in-kind grant support.
Speaking about the success of these landmark resource centres, Head of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs Ms. Hijran Huseynova noted that women empowerment and gender equality are at the top of the Government’s agenda in Azerbaijan. “The main objective of these joint projects that we are implementing together,” said Ms. Huseynova, “is to change the status of women from jobseekers to job creators”. Ms. Huseynova emphasised that “women who are strong financially and economically feel much more secured against adversaries and risks”. “That is why it is important that there are centres like this one, which help women earn confidence, get them enrolled in vocational training courses, build their entrepreneurial knowledge and practical skills,” she then added. In closing her remarks, Ms. Huseynova said that “the Women’s Resource Centres that we created together with our international partners are of paramount significance”.
Emphasising the importance of investing in women empowerment programmes, the representative from Switzerland, Dr. Simone Haeberli, expressed her firm belief that “every employed or self-employed woman is an asset for her country, her community and her family. Economically empowered women have a very positive impact on the education and health of their families, as they often chose to spend family resources differently. Switzerland is indeed happy to be supporting the establishment of more Women Resource Centres in Azerbaijan in areas with high IDP populations and ethnic minorities.”
Thanks to a new initiative worth USD 637’000 funded by Switzerland through its Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Austrian Development Cooperation, and implemented by UNDP Azerbaijan, three Women’s Resource Centres in three districts will provide support to over 400 women to gain skills that will help improve their employability. This regional initiative is part of a UN Joint Project between UN Women and UNDP entitled “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus” which will run until July 2021. In Azerbaijan, the project is carried out by UNDP in partnership with the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs
In addition, it is expected that this year this initiative will help 70 women launch their own business start-ups and that over 30 women will be enrolled in vocational educational courses.
Furthermore, this year the project will establish cooperation with 12 large and medium-sized private companies in the country that will join over 2,000 business leaders around the world who are part of the UN Global Compact Network. In partnership with UN Women, technical support will be provided to the private companies to adopt the Global Compact Women’s Empowerment Principles to implement gender-responsive corporate policies and practices are integrated in their business strategies to increase women’s access to decent work. This work is a follow-up work of the Gender assessment “Women in Private Sector” presented to the public in December 2018, which was also financed by Switzerland.
On behalf of UNDP, Ms. Egger thanked the Government of Azerbaijan and the development partners for supporting crucial initiatives that have a major transformative impact on people’s lives. Ms. Egger also acknowledged the importance of UN Agencies working together to bring their comparative advantages together recognizing UN Women’s specific mandate on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
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Arzu Jafarli, Communications and External Relations Analyst