UNDP launches cash-for-work in southern Kyrgyzstan

08:34, July 23, 2010      

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More than 1,100 people in the cities most affected by violence in southern Kyrgyzstan last month have started work on repairing roads, cleaning up irrigation systems, removing litter and restoring parks as part of an initiative by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and local municipalities, UN officials said in the United Nations Thursday.

Following the crisis that displaced some 400,000 people in the region last month, UNDP has launched a cash-for-work program in the major cities of Osh and Jalalabad aiming to bring short-term jobs to unemployed youth and women, the official said.

Workers qualified for the program are provided with regular work and income for a period of two weeks. They then rotate with others to maximize the spread of the salary which amounts to 300 soms (6.50 U.S. dollars) daily, paid in twice-weekly installments.

The payments inject much-needed cash into the local economy and provide people with funds they need to restart their lives and begin reconstruction of essential public infrastructure. The initiative is part of a larger public works program launched in July.

Cash-for-work has been a successful tool for economic recovery, stabilization and reconciliation in other post-crisis situations, for example in Haiti and Liberia.

"The cash-for-work program can give communities of southern Kyrgyzstan a sense of ownership of the reconstruction process," said Kori Udovicki, UN assistant secretary-general and UNDP director for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States ( CIS). "That and our ability to engage with local groups of youth, women, Kyrgyz and Uzbeks, can turn the public works into a key contributor to the long-term recovery and reconciliation process."

UNDP has set aside 1.4 million U.S. dollars for the southern Kyrgyzstan program which is scheduled to run until the end of 2010. It is actively seeking additional funds to scale up the program.

One participant in the Jalalabad program, Gulnar Bidokhimova, was trained as a nurse but had been working as a market trader when the protests and violence started.

"Due to the violent events, the local market was closed and I lost my job," Bidokhimov said. "When I heard about this opportunity from my friends, I approached the Mayor's office and registered with a team of painters. I am very thankful to all organizers of the project for this opportunity to have an income."

Besides cash-for-work, UNDP plays a key role in supporting Kyrgyzstan's constitutional reform: making an essential contribution to drafting and consulting for the country's new constitution, organizing the June 27 referendum and planning October 2010 parliamentary elections, the officials added.

Source: Xinhua


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