You can too! How the EU supports women entrepreneurs in Georgia

Published in Society
Friday, 06 March 2020 18:06

You can too! How the EU supports women entrepreneurs in Georgia?

 

  1. 1.       I want to start my own business, but I’m not sure my idea would work. Who can advise me?

The European Union is very active in supporting the development of new businesses, particularly among women and particularly in the regions of Georgia, often with a focus on rural and disadvantaged areas. So don’t think that you need to be in Tbilisi, to have a higher education or an established business in order to access EU support – on the contrary!

The EU supports a number of programmes and business support facilities that provide know how, practical help, and even funding to help you start your business.

Here are some examples:

If you are looking for support in agriculture, the ENPARD programme provides information, training, advice and financial support all over Georgia, with hundreds of thousands of farmers benefitting since 2013. Visit the programme’s interactive map to find regional initiatives, contacts, information centres and cooperatives near you.

The Mayors for Economic Growth programme supports local authorities in developing economic growth and job creation. Among the dozens of local authorities that have signed up in Georgia, three – Bolnisi, Gori and Tbilisi – are running pioneer projects including support for new entrepreneurs with training and business development facilities, ensuring the equal access of women to development opportunities.

 

  1. 2.       Business advice is all very well, but you need money to develop your business. How can I get funding when I have no money of my own and no business experience?

A number of grants for agricultural projects are available under the ENPARD programme. Follow the calls section on their website to see the list of grant competitions that are available.

While the local development projects funded under the Mayors for Economic Growth initiative do not provide grants, they will help you to access finance. For example, the SPARK business accelerator set up under the project in Tbilisi offers new businesses assistance in preparing a business plan, and puts you in contact with potential investors and sources of finance. 

One EU-funded programme offers loans that are specifically tailored to women: Women in Business can provide finance both to start and develop a business. The programme works with local partners Bank of Georgia and TBC Bank and offers preferential terms for women entrepreneurs to finance new business ideas or expand an existing business. Several other projects under the EU4Business initiative also work with local banks to provide loans for SMEs – from micro-finance to major investment loans.

 

  1. 3.       I already have a business, but I need help to take it to the next step: is there any EU support available for me?

If you already have a business and you are looking to develop, funding (and training) is available through a number of programmes under the EU4Business initiative, which supports private sector development across Georgia.

Apart from providing loans, Women in Business offers training and subsidised advisory services that are specifically tailored to women-led businesses. The programme also offers a personalised online tool – the Business Lens – to assess your business and see what kind of support you can access.

Some EU4Business programmes also offer finance for much larger businesses, but others such as the DCTA Initiative East offer microfinance loans up to €25,000. The European Fund for South East Europe (EFSE) also provides small loans (average loan size €14,300) to the smallest businesses (less than 10 employees) in sectors such as agriculture, industry, trade and services. Click here for the full list of finance programmes under EU4Business, here for projects offering training and business advice, and here for projects supporting access to markets.

Georgian entrepreneurs also have access to the Enterprise Europe Network, which helps Georgian SMEs find business and technology partners across Europe and beyond.

 

  1. 4.       I’m not sure I want to start a business, but I want to learn new skills: is there something for me from the EU?

Training and skills are a key priority of EU support in Georgia, and the EU provides considerable funding for Vocational Education and Training (VET). The EU recently launched a 150 million GEL programme supporting vocational education and labour market development. The 5-year programme will help 105,000 Georgians find jobs by expanding high quality vocation education, improving labour policies, and supporting entrepreneurship training.

In terms of direct support, the individual EU4Youth programmes – Say YES: Skills for Jobs, Enhancing Youth Education, Employment and Participation in Conflict-affected Areas in Georgia and Ukraine, Fostering Potential for Greater Employability, and Better Skills for Better Future – have a strong focus on skills for under-35s, especially in less advantaged regions of Georgia, providing training, mentoring and internships to help young people find jobs.

For young women under the age of 30, the EU offers exciting opportunities under its Erasmus + youth programmes. You can join the almost 10,000 young Georgians who have already learned new skills and developed valuable experience by participating in youth projects or volunteering for work abroad under the European Solidarity Corps.

And if you are in higher education, Erasmus + offers student exchanges and post-graduate programmes in Europe. Find out more about all the opportunities and how to apply.

 

  1. 5.       Are there women like me, who started their own business with EU help?

There are lots!

Nata, Manana, Irina and Dali all received grants under the ENPARD programme. Natalia and Irina come from Tbilisi, Manana from Tsalka, and Dali from Upper Alvani. Natalia grows cucumbers, Irina tomatos, Manana runs a tea processing enterprise, and Dali combines honey production with educational courses. They have all developed their business with the help of EU training and grants.

Irina Gloveliand Tekla Mamageishvili both received advisory support as part of the Women in Business programme. For Tekla, the project helped to plan the activities of her eye clinic more strategically and attract financial resources, while Irina received help to put her engineering company’s financial reporting in order, leading to a 7.5% rise in profits.

Manana Chqareuliworked from home as a seamstress. With the help of loans under the EFSE programme, she was able to upgrade her equipment, lease a proper workspace and hire staff to develop her business. Now her company is on its way to becoming a brand in its own right.

Diana Bakradze and Anna Varamashvili benefitted from skills training and internships under a project for ‘Support of vulnerable youth to become productive citizens through learning, training and employment’, an important step to an independent professional life.

Click here for more success stories from ENPARD, here to find out what the city of Bolnisi is doing under the Mayors for Economic Growth project, and here to learn about five Georgian women who have benefited from EU support across a range of areas.

 

  1. 6.       Whom can I ask for help?

Visit the ENPARD website to find contact information in all the different regions of Georgia, and check the programme’s interactive map to find regional initiatives, contacts, information centres and cooperatives near you.

Look at the Mayors for Economic Growth website to see if your town is among the signatories and what it is doing to support jobs and businesses near you.

If you already have a business and are looking to develop it, check out the training and funding opportunities available under EU4Business in Georgia.

For education and youth opportunities, contact the national Erasmus + office in Georgia.

And don’t forget to follow the EU Delegation to Georgia on Facebook for updates and new opportunities.

 

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  • Visa announces results of the research among Georgian female entrepreneurs within #She’sNext initiative

    She’s Next Empowered by Visa research highlights a focus on the challenges and motivations among women business owners in Georgia

    Tbilisi,October 2020– Under She’s Next, Empowered by Visa global initiative in Georgia, Visa commissioned a research that analyzed and surveyed female entrepreneurs and business owners to better understand their attitudes, experiences and challenges they face.

    She’s Next, Empowered by Visa connects like-minded female entrepreneurs with industry experts for education, inspiration and networking opportunities that help deliver immediate impact for their business. Launched in 2019 in the United States, today She’s Next, Empowered by Visa is expanding globally as a part of Visa’s ongoing commitment to support female entrepreneurs.

    The research in Georgia is designed to take the national pulse of female business owners: the goals they aim toward, the challenges they face and motivations that drive them the most.

    Key regional findings of the Women entrepreneurs research in Georgia include[1]:

    • What drives female entrepreneurs:  financial independence (68%) and the desire to make more money (59%), making a lifelong dream come true (21%) are the top three motivators for women in Georgia to start a business.

     

    • Funding is a tremendous hurdle: Main challenges faced by women entrepreneurs when starting their business were capital raising and funding. 50% of women said that they encountered difficulty obtaining the funding they needed to start their business. At the same time 72% of women entrepreneurs financed the business on their own, 45% took a bank loan and 11% received a grant.

     

    • Having a network empowers: 88% of women in Georgia knew another female entrepreneur before deciding to start their own business, and 45% wish they would have received an advice from other female business owners before starting their own business.

     

    • Expanding business: The main area for which women entrepreneurs need additional investment is creation of new products and services, entering new markets (41%).

     

    • Impact of COVID-19: 54% of the female entrepreneurs respond that running business compared to the previous years has become harder. The difficulty faced during the pandemic for the respondents was that they had to close the outlets partially or completely (49%). 44% of respondents mention that sales have dropped as customers have reduced their purchases. Two out of ten respondents experienced failures in the supply of products to consumers (22%). 

     

    • Shift to digital: 37% of the respondents are going to switch their business online. For 65% it was hard to answer what opportunities does online shopping channel bring to their business and only 13% responded that the switch will increase sales and competitiveness.

     

    • Educational platforms and tools: 74% of female business owners are interested in additional workshops to grow their business. The most interesting topics for them are payment systems and new technologies; dealing with crisis and stress; effective work in conditions of uncertainty; getting additional funding; developing a brand strategy;

     

    “Running a business requires a lot of hard work, investment and dedication. Scaling She’s Next initiative across the globe, now it’s turns to drive it in Georgia too. Visa is committed to empowering women business owners through a long-term program of education, cutting-edge digital payment technology and a powerful peer network. We will keep championing female business owners as they build, sustain and advance their businesses and local economy”. - said Cristina Doros, Visa Country Manager for the Caucasus region.

    Within the 1st wave of #She’sNext educational program Visa hosted 4 webinars with the leading business women, coaches, experts and motivational speakers. Up to 600 Women entrepreneurs and small business owners were able to develop their practical skills and gain knowledge in various aspects of business management, personal development, crisis management strategies, and negotiation skills.

    To ensure the connection within the participants of the program local networking community, a Facebook group #She’sNext has been established. After the 1st wave of the program, the online community for female entrepreneurs has reached more than 600 participants.

    Check out the She’s next platform created in partnership with Forbes Woman Georgia

    Detailed information about #She’sNext educational program is available on Visa webpage

     

    ###

    About Visa Inc.

    Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere.  As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit usa.visa.com/about-visa, visa.com.ge, facebook.com/VisaGeorgiaGE.



    [1] Visa research, conducted by ACT Global in September, 2020 on behalf of Visa to 300 adult, women entrepreneurs in Georgia

  • President of Turkmenistan addresses participants of the Exhibition of Economic Achievements and Conference on Digital Economy

    “I congratulate you opening of the Exhibition of Economic Achievements of Turkmenistan and the scientific-practical conference “Digital Economy - the Most Important Factor of Economic Development”! I sincerely wish great success to the forum dedicated to the 29th anniversary of independence of Turkmenistan!”- says President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, addressing the participants of the exhibition and conference.

    According to the President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, today neutral Turkmenistan occupies a leading position among the dynamically developing countries of the world, is known as the state that relies on high technologies, successfully implementing large-scale programmes. Initiatives aimed at ensuring well-being of the peoples in the region and the planet are widely supported by the international community that also contributes to the steady growth of the international authority of the country.

    “In a short historical period, Turkmenistan has carried out fundamental reforms and has achieved high results in all areas of the state's life.

    “We will continue implementing economic reforms, ensuring dynamic development of the country. We will strive for the main goal – to bring Turkmenistan up to the level of a number of highly developed states of the world.

    “Based on the principles of peacefulness and progressive development, the domestic and foreign policy of the country, large-scale activities in the interests of the state and society, as well as the peoples of other countries, the fundamental transformations carried out in the country serve a great goal - to ensure the comprehensive harmonious development of the independent state, to improve the living standards of the Turkmen people”, says the President of Turkmenistan in his address.

    In conclusion, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed confidence that the exhibition and conference would provide a platform for presenting Turkmenistan’s achievements in the economic and social sphere and wished their participants good health and great success in work.

  • Steadfast transit to digital economy is a factor of successful integration of modern system of the global economy

    Introduction of digital system into all spheres and branches of national economy is a main direction of the Programme of the President of Turkmenistan for social and economic development of the country in 2020 – 2025 and important condition for achievement of the level of developed countries, provision of stable rates of economic growth based on knowledge and innovations.

    The solution of this objectives will also support to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted by all country members including our state of the UN until 2030.

    President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has specified active implementation of information technologies, establishment of safe IT infrastructure, which provides relative terms for rapid digitization process, which gains acceleration every day, among national strategic priorities in mid-term perspective.

    Gradual and steadfast transit to digital economy is an important factor of successful integration of our state to modern system of the world economy.

    Today, all countries of the world pay special attention to digitization, legimately thinking that future level of the world economic growth will depend from the efficiency of using of digital technologies.

    Competiveness, innovations and opening of new work places, all of these is mainly determined by the technologies. That is why Turkmenistan actively pursues the course toward rapid modernization by cultivation of new industries using application of digital technologies.

    Review of objectives taking into account current external factors of globalization and appearing risks is required in any sphere. The Ministry of Finances and Economy, which practically implements financial, tax and budgetary, investment and pricing policy, policy in the sphere of insurance, auditing activity, accounting, financial reporting, financial safety as well as coordination of work of all ministries and departments of the country for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, carries out big work for digitization.

    The Single Portal of the State Service of Turkmenistan (e.gov.tm) presents the website of the Ministry of Finances and Economy (fineconomic.gov.tm), Tax Department (tax.gov.tm) and Service of Financial Monitoring (turkmenfmd.gov.tm/) together with websites of other ministries, departments, establishments and organizations of the country.

    The website of the Ministry has been updated, informational content has been expanded, in particular the page of Sustainable Development Goals and their implementation has been added.

    Legal and regulatory base for digitization of activity has been made in the country. It is permanently improved taking into account modern requirements, scientific and technical developments including exchange of data and electronic documents, general identification processes. Work for introduction of digital technologies in regional services and lower structures is carried out on this base.

    Central balance commission coordinates development of methodological bases of internal system controls of accounting and reporting of economic entities. Digital systems have started to be introduced in this sphere in the last years.

    Thus, digital support is used during the sessions. It includes provision of huge volume of analytical and calculation materials reflecting outcomes of financial and economic activity of the branches, facilities and organizations to the members of the sessions. In future, this work will be arranged with regional commissions, in particular by introduction of information technologies.

    According to the Law of Turkmenistan on Accounting and Financial Reporting, initial accounting documents and registers will be made in hard and soft copies and both formats have equal legitimate validity.

    Digitization of accounting has started to be applied starting from collection of initial data to producing of reporting. Programme products for automation of accounting and reporting are developed and started to be used. In future, it will be implemented in all spheres. However, capability of provision of qualitative, reliable and convenient accounting is the main requirement for the software.

    Adoption of the Law of Turkmenistan on Electronic Document, Electronic Document Management System and Digital Services, which specifies legal provision of these documents and services and their main requirements, was an important event of this year. The law is aimed at regulation of relations appearing in this sphere as well as at establishment of single space for informational exchange.

    Based on this law and by the request of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the Ministry of Finance and Economy has introduced electronic document management system in the Central Administration, General Finance and Economy Departments of Ashgabat and regions as well as in all structures under its supervision from July 1 this year.

    It has allowed significantly improving the exchange of information, efficiency of using of work time, making the base for archiving of materials and provision of control for timely fulfilment of the documents.

    System of Electronic tax is introduced to document management system of Tax department. The main goal of this system is to transfer to electronic format of obtaining of tax declaration from taxpayers, which will facilitate the system of reporting from one hand and to enforce control of collection of tax payments including provision of information to tax payers about arrears to the State Budget of the country on another hand.

    At the same time, it is proposed to make desk audits of taxpayers in electronic format without invitation of them to relative authorities and based on tax declarations and other documents. Activity with crediting organizations for establishment of electronic document management system will be introduced on the second stage.

    The Department of the State Registration of legal entities and investment projects also works on introduction of the electronic document management system in certain procedures related to the state registration, re-registration and elimination of legal entities.

    At present time, local network between the central administration and regional registration departments has been established and operates. It allowed facilitating the system of agreeing on the documents between structural divisions in the regions and Ashgabat.

    Automated order of reception of applications for confirmation of name of legal entities and approval of documents for their registration or re-registration is introduced. It will also give an opportunity to increase the level and quality of work of registration departments, eliminate barriers and reduce material and physical cost of citizens and legal entities in registration procedures.

    The website of the Ministry has published normative documents and list of required documents, samples of applications in the section of registration of legal entities. Online format of applications has been made. It is planned to organize payment for registration and confirmation of names in online format.

    Structure of new database of the Single State Register of Legal Entities (SSRLE) is under development. Soon, it is planned to launch several online services for registration of legal entities as well as to facilitate the order of registration and provision of information from the SSRLE.

    Objectives and measures of digitization are discussed at the government sessions and meetings. The Head of the State always points out that innovations are not only implemented technologies but the process of their permanent update and the way of further development of Turkmen economy.

    Financial and economic sector gradually improve work for digitization, introduces electronic systems to various activities. Thus, organization of various online seminars, conferences, trainings with international financial institutes, organizations and foreign partners has been established.

    “Invest to Turkmenistan” website (invest.gov.tm) has been opened for fulfilment of assignments of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on promotion of information about economic reforms, projects of regional and international significance, attraction of investments of foreign and international banks, financial institutes and industrial groups.

    Digitization is very important for implementation of the SDGs providing many opportunities for economic and social growth. Development of information society and entire complex of digital technologies and services is carried out by digital transformation, which is the main vector in achievement of the SDGs.

    Implementation of economic potential of Turkmenistan in the context of the SDGs is significantly expanded, opportunity of branches during transfer to digitization, which main directions make direct effect on achievement of several goals in the sphere of sustainable development, is activated.

    These goals are: the Goal no.8 “Decent Work and Economic Growth”, Goal No. 9: Industrialization, Innovations and Infrastructure”, Goal no. 10 “Reduced Inequalities within and among Countries”, Goal No. 12 “Responsible Production and Consumption”, Goal no. 17 “Partnership for the Goals”.

    To some extent, use of digital technologies effects implementation of other sustainable development goals. Taking into account that our country has already integrated the SDGs in different state, profile and regional programmes, the transit to digital economy will allow accelerating social and economic progress of our state. At present, financial nd economic sector together with statistic bodies actively works on establishment of the SDG database.

    International online seminar on financing of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals has been organized last May. It was dedicated to the role of integrated national financing mechanisms and was a part of events under the Decade of Activity for achievement of the SDGs in Turkmenistan. It has also become one of important events in the programme of activities honoured to glorious 25th anniversary of permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan.

    Delegations on ministerial level of the country members of the UN Special Programme for Economies of Central Asia (UN SPECA), representatives of the UN European Economic Commission, number of other UN agencies, international financial institutes such as the World bank, International Monetary Fund and other took part in the meeting.

    This is another visual example how the use of digital video conference communication allowed active implementation of planned events inside the country with participation of international institutes and organizations.

    Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Partnership between the Ministry of Finances and Economy of Turkmenistan and Swiss company SICPA SA, which is specialized in secured identification, signed last January was another important measure in integration of our country to international trade and economic and financial relations including in trade and tax spheres, prevention of spread of counterfeit production.

    Cooperation with one of the leaders in this sphere allowed mastering and implementing modern technologies in our country, which would be the base for the formation of new digital environment and development of digital economy in general.

    Objectives of rapid industrialization of the country set by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov can be solved with active development of colossal volumes of current world information and rapid exchange of data.

    This is a highest priority taking into account joining of Turkmenistan as an observer to the World Trade Organization in July this year. Cooperation in electronic trade is discussed on the WTO platform at present. In near future, electronic commerce will be an important and perspective direction of development in our country as well.

    For implementation of budgetary reform, introduction of the Budgetary Code and transfer to result-based budgeting, introduction of intellectual technologies will support to establishment of actual state system of management of financial information, which provides precise control of budgetary resources, rational management and use.

    Acceleration of work of financial sector and economy in general by digitization, provision of efficiency, trustfulness, accuracy and high quality of information provided to the participants of the process of development, execution and reporting on the budget is the main advantage of this system.

    Perspectives of development of digital financial and economic institutes of Turkmenistan a related to development and application of compatible programmes and digital solutions providing reliable traceability of document management and reporting. It is proposed to expand the range of advance technologies, which will significantly enhance efficiency of economic processes.

    Introduction of single registration window, full transit of work of tax authorities with taxpayers to online system will allow not only improving the work of all economic entities but also making favourable environment for business and improving investment attractiveness of the country.

    Digital transformation based on use of latest technologies provides not only opening of new work places but also the provision of higher level of relations of economic entities by the formation of new standards of their social behavior.

    Digitization implies rapid transit to innovative way, stimulation of business and investment activity, growth of labor employment in scientific branches and work efficiency both in government and private sections, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlights. In the result, all of these will make positive effect on improvement of life quality and wellbeing of our people.

    The state news agency of Turkmenistan

     

  • EU launches new project to target organised crime in the Eastern Neighbourhood

    A new Europol-led project, funded by the European Union, has been launched, focused on strengthening the capacity of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to fight organised crime more effectively. The project will contribute to reducing crime and creating a safer living space for citizens in the region.

    Through this four-year initiative, Europol will support cooperation between law enforcement authorities, both on a strategic and operational level. Special funding will enable the Eastern Partner countries to participate in operational activities against some of the ten most significant threats to EU security listed under the EU Policy Cycle. Existing networks for information sharing and operational cooperation may be further extended into joint investigations to improve the effectiveness in fighting transnational organised crime.

    “This initiative is an important step in developing strong operational cooperation and trust between the law enforcement authorities of the EU Member States and our Eastern partners,” said Catherine De Bolle, Executive Director of Europol. “Our aligned efforts will bring a stronger response to the common challenges and cross-border threats we face.”

    Lawrence Meredith, Director for Neighbourhood East at the European Commission, stated: “Organised crime networks operate across national borders and destabilise the entire region. Tackling serious and organised crime is a shared challenge by the European Union and its partner countries. By strengthening the strategic and operational cooperation between Europol and partner countries, we are proud to contribute to joint investigation successes.”

    Located along the Black Sea and forming part of the ‘heroin route’ from the Middle East to Europe, all six Eastern Partner countries are threatened by organised criminal groups active in the area. These groups are involved in migrant smuggling, organised property crime, trafficking in human beings, firearms and drug trafficking, money laundering, and other related crimes such as document fraud. These criminal syndicates threaten not only the safety and security of people, but also the stability of the Eastern Partnership region and of the whole EU. More cooperation between law enforcement authorities of EU Member States and the Eastern Neighbourhood countries is crucial to improving the effectiveness of the common response to organised crime across borders.

    As part of a larger €10 million EU cooperation initiative, the EU has dedicated 2.5 million to support the project that will run for the next four years. Two other components are focused on law enforcement training and threat assessment (a project led by Cepol with the participation of Europol) and on criminal asset recovery (managed by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute - UNICRI).

  • UN and EU launch ambitious initiative for gender equality in Eastern Partnership

    With support from the European Union, the two UN sister agencies will work with government bodies and civil society partners in six countries to challenge deeply ingrained gender stereotypes, increase men’s involvement in domestic work and childcare, and engage with potential perpetrators to prevent gender-based violence.

    UN Women and UNFPA, together with the European Union (EU), have launched a three-year regional programme to tackle gender stereotypes and gender-based violence in six countries of the Eastern Partnership: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.

    The programme, entitled “EU 4 Gender Equality: Together Against Gender Stereotypes and Gender-Based Violence,” ultimately seeks to strengthen equal rights and opportunities for women and men by challenging perceptions about men’s and women’s roles in the family and in society and working to eliminate gender-based violence.

    “This is our first regional programme covering gender equality in the Eastern Partnership region and we are intensely proud of it,” said Lawrence Meredith, Director for Neighbourhood East in the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations at the European Commission. “We can and we will do more to develop this underused economic and social potential with our Eastern neighbours. As we emerge from the pandemic, we will propose that the future Eastern Partnership be more inclusive.”

    A first of its kind, the programme has been informed by an in-depth situation analysis and intergovernmental consultations with the six countries. It is designed to engage a wide range of government bodies, civil society organizations, and individuals.

    “We will work closely with governments and civil society organisations in the six countries to ensure the success of the programme,” says Alia El-Yassir, UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. “This work is even more crucial now as the COVID-19 crisis has put into stark relief the imbalanced distribution of responsibilities based on traditional gender stereotypes.”

    The programme aims at achieving real behavioural change. It relies on strategies designed to challenge structural gender barriers and norms, with particular emphasis on transforming gender-stereotyped behaviour, strengthening men’s involvement in parenting and domestic responsibilities, increasing men’s access to parental leave, and reducing the number of people affected by gender-based violence through prevention interventions with potential perpetrators.

    “During the COVID-19 crisis, we have unfortunately seen an increase in women’s unpaid care workload and in cases of gender-based violence across the six countries,” says Alanna Armitage, UNFPA Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. “Our programme comes at the right time to fight these trends. We all have to work hand-in-hand to build a more just, equal, safe and secure world for all.”

    The programme has a budget of €7,875,000 and is anchored in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework, launched by the United Nations in 2015, and the EU Action Plan 2016-2020 on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Transforming the Lives of Girls and Women Through EU External Relations. It provides a unique opportunity for the EU and the six participating countries to affect social discourse, perceptions, and practices related to gender equality with the ultimate goal of achieving gender equality and related SDGs.

    For more information, please visit: https://europa.eu/european-union/

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