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Kyrgyzstan: UN job scheme seeks to aid recovery in areas hit by recent unrest

Kyrgyzstan: UN job scheme seeks to aid recovery in areas hit by recent unrest

UNDP has allocated around $1.4 million for a cash-for-work programme in Kyrgyzstan
More than 1,100 people affected by the violence that erupted in southern Kyrgyzstan last month have been given short-term jobs under a United Nations scheme aimed at injecting much-needed cash into the local economy and providing incomes so people can restart their lives.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) launched the cash-for-work initiative in the cities of Osh and Jalalabad, which bore the brunt of the deadly clashes between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks that uprooted nearly 400,000 people and sent many fleeing to neighbouring Uzbekistan.

According to UN agencies, many families have returned to their places of origin with some sheltering in camps or staying with host families since their homes have been destroyed.

“The cash-for-work programme can give communities of southern Kyrgyzstan a sense of ownership of the reconstruction process,” said Kori Udovicki, UNDP Director for Europe and the Confederation 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,” she added.

Participants in the programme have started work on repairing roads, cleaning up irrigation systems, removing litter and restoring parks, and will be provided income for a period of two weeks. They then rotate with others to maximize the spread of the salary, which amounts to 300 soms – the equivalent of $6.50 – per day.

UNDP is seeking additional funds to scale up the programme, which is slated to run until the end of 2010 in the Central Asian nation that has experienced periods of unrest since the violent uprising in April that ousted former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

In addition to the cash-for-work programme, UNDP is also supporting the country’s constitutional reform process, including the organization of the referendum held on 27 June, the drafting of the new constitution and the planning for the October 2010 parliamentary elections.