Initiative to support women’s business initiatives as Ukraine recovers from effects of pandemic

Photo: UNDP in Ukraine

Kyiv, 23 April 2021 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine together with the International Labor Organization (ILO) presented a new joint pilot project called “Economic Empowerment of Women as a Response to the COVID-19 Crisis in Ukraine.”

The project aims to contribute to a sustainable recovery of living standards of the COVID-19 crisis-affected population in Ukraine by promoting and supporting women’s economic empowerment. This is to be done by improving the relevant institutional frameworks, and increasing economic opportunities to improve women’s livelihoods. The project will be implemented in two target regions of Ukraine – Rivne and Sumy oblasts.

UNDP Resident Representative to Ukraine Dafina Gercheva speaking at the launch of the joint project, said that it aims to address shortcomings that were exposed by the pandemic, and to scale up efforts to support vulnerable groups.

“The promotion of women’s economic empowerment is a crucial step that brings us closer to gender equality,” Gercheva said.

“I’m confident that this project will serve as a starting point for a great partnership, promoting equal economic opportunities, and supporting women’s economic resilience – despite the formidable challenges the current crisis is posing.”

Director of the ILO Office for Central and Eastern Europe, Markus Pilgrim, noted that access to the labour market is a key issue in Ukraine – 36 percent of women between 15-64 years are outside the labour force.

“The pandemic sharpened the existing problems of the Ukrainian labour market,” Pilgrim said.

“In times of crisis, entrepreneurship constitutes an important and sometimes unique opportunity for women to get out of poverty, but could also lead to further improvements – decent employment, gender equality and economic empowerment.”

During the presentation of the joint initiative, Regional Development Programme Manager UNDP in Ukraine Mustafa Sait-Ametov and Technical Officer for Enterprise Development and Job Creation at the ILO Office for Central and Eastern Europe, Judith Dongus, provided an insightful overview of the joint pilot project.

“This project is all about promoting gender equality and women empowerment at all levels, including national, sub-national and community levels,” said Sait-Ametov. “Overall, the project aims to contribute to a sustainable recovery of living standards of the COVID-19 crisis-affected population in Ukraine.”

The joint project has a total of four activities with several sub-activities, holistically addressing the topic on the macro-, meso-, and micro levels. Besides several events to encourage inclusive policy dialogue, four local communities and two Business Membership Organisations will be supported to strengthen their portfolio to support women-led businesses.

Dongus said that the project would provide 100 women with training to advance their entrepreneurial skills by applying modules of the world’s largest entrepreneurship development programme.

“Of the 100 women, 60 bankable business plans should be developed,” she said. “Afterwards, 25 women entrepreneurs will receive mentoring assistance to certify their business or other related activities. Furthermore, 25 micro-, small and medium enterprises are selected to receive e-commerce training in the target oblasts. This will allow the businesses to become more resilient through access to digital markets.”

More details of the joint pilot project can be found in the recordings of the presentation in Ukrainian and English.

Media inquiries: Anton Sydorenko, UNDP Communications and Monitoring Associate, anton.sydorenko@undp.org

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