Between August 7-17, a series of trainings for Uzbek women NGOs took place in Tashkent and Samarkand, within the framework of “Advancing women’s rights through enhanced protection and self-employment” project of ACTED which is financially supported by the EU. These training aimed at strengthening the capacity of civil society to prevent domestic violence in Uzbekistan as women NGOs continue to be the key echelon in the protection of women vulnerable to domestic violence.
The issue of violence against women and girls continues to be a very low priority in Uzbekistan. Domestic violence in particular is still often considered culturally as a personal affair and not as a crime. When confronted to domestic violence, with little to no means to address their situation, they mostly rely on the few shelters and NGOs offering refuge as well as psychological, judicial and financial support. However, women NGOs are facing great difficulties to operate: with a lack of funding opportunity, limited project management capacity as well as substantial administrative barriers, shelters operate well under their potential while some are obliged to close down and most are unable to continuously deliver the different range of support to victims of violence. But the recent change in government in 2016 opened a new era ready to discuss gender-related issues and support women CSOs as evidenced the resolution of the President of Uzbekistan “on measures to improve the system of social rehabilitation and adaptation, as well as the prevention of domestic violence” of July 2, 2018, for example.
Recognizing this situation, ACTED conducted key capacity building trainings in order to address the lack of investment in support services for survivors of violence against girls and women and women at-risk to facilitate their reinsertion in society. Through these activities, selected women support services from all across Uzbekistan beneficiated from reinforced capacities to both deliver quality care to survivors of violence against girls and women and prevent domestic violence. Staff from 15 NGOs received substantial training sessions on project management and fundraising in order to support their capacities to deliver services adapted to the needs of VAWG survivors. The functioning and sustainability of women support services were strengthened by improving domestic resource mobilization capacities, which will increase women NGOs’ attractiveness vis-à-vis donors to increase, and ultimately their number of funding opportunities as well. “By strengthening the capacities of women NGO to develop and implement projects, these trainings will ultimately participate to improve women’s rights in Uzbekistan,” stated Farzona Khashimova, ACTED project manager and former Gender Advisor for UN Women Uzbekistan and Central Asia.