ACTED has started developing its activities in Uzbekistan in 1999 and to date remains one of the few International NGOs active across the country. ACTED has been active in the fields of food security, livelihoods, economic development, conflict mitigation, local governance, capacity building of civil society organisations, shelter and infrastructure, microfinance, health education, reproductive health care and water and sanitation. ACTED's programmes in Uzbekistan are particularly focused on marginalized groups in rural areas and the local civil society.
Uzbekistan, strategically located at the heart of Central Asia, offers a puzzling vision of development where mass poverty coexists with levels of education and life expectancy close to those of developed countries. Local populations, which majority lives in traditional rural areas, are confronted with socio-economic issues, poor governance and lack of access to natural resources.
Since 2016, Uzbekistan has achieved significant progress, in particular with the promotion of civil society, the relaxation of the foreign exchange policy, and the diffusion of tensions with its neighbouring countries that brought an unexpected and welcomed bowl of oxygen to the region. However, for some challenges a long way is still to go: Uzbekistan is facing lack of employment opportunities and strong disparities in living standards between rural and urban areas, leading to high levels of migration. Moreover, the Uzbek economy continues to depend on the exploitation of extractive and agricultural raw material, in particular cotton. Water management is another pressing issue: the country is faced with environmental vulnerabilities, with the disaster of the Aral Sea and the depletion of water resources linked to the culture of cotton, while securing water supplies is at the centre of political tensions with neighbouring countries. Other pressing issues include tackling desertification, gender inequalities and the potential rise of religious radicalization, all challenges that ACTED strives to address through its projects. Governance at central and local levels needs to be supported to improve participatory decision-making processes, transparency, and openness of government bodies.
ACTED focuses on the following programmatic priorities in Uzbekistan: