With its 28.1 million people, Uzbekistan is the most heavily populated country in Central Asia. More than two-thirds of the population live in rural areas and over one-quarter live in poverty. Its economy relies heavily on agriculture, which is why agricultural development and diversification is the main goal for USAID in Uzbekistan. For instance, in 2011, humanitarian aid to Uzbekistan through USAID introduced 3,000 farmers to new production techniques which doubled crop yields and increased sales.
USAID Contributing Humanitarian Aid to Uzbekistan
Other USAID activities include offering cold chain workshops to over 200 farmers, training over 1000 farmers on agriculture-related techniques and training households to dry fruits. All of these are geared toward improving farm incomes by 80 percent.
Regional threats in the country include human trafficking, illegal narcotics, extremism and terrorism. As a result, humanitarian aid to Uzbekistan also goes toward addressing these issues.
Supporting TIP Survivors
For instance, U.S. assistance programs support the reintegration of trafficking in persons (TIP) survivors. Protection activities include case management of TIP survivors and providing shelters. Assistance also improves the capacity of civil society, NGOs, and other social services to prevent trafficking in persons and enhances cooperation between government and civil society.
Humanitarian aid to Uzbekistan supports a highly effective, NGO implemented anti-TIP program. It aims to improve law enforcement’s response to TIP cases. Aid to the country also helps train Uzbekistan’s defense establishment. Through distance learning and training programs, U.S. humanitarian aid to Uzbekistan also supports the country’s inspection, detection and interdiction capacities.
Due to high poverty rates and complex human rights issues that the country faces, humanitarian aid to Uzbekistan plays a crucial role in its development process. Most importantly, foreign aid allows Uzbekistan to access crucial training and advice that is necessary to successfully handle complex challenges. With continued foreign assistance, Uzbekistan will be able to reduce poverty and respond effectively to these human rights issues.
– Mehruba Chowdhury