PAMIRIACT: Empowerment of Gorno-Badakhshan women through social entrepreneurship

  • TajikistanCountry
  • EuropeAidDonor
  • ENGLanguage
  • rural developmentgender equalityenvironmententrepreneurshipTopics

The Applicant/ Leader (in English)

Foundation for Innovative and Sustainable Technologies (FIST)

Applicant's legal status & registration data

non-governmental organization

Applicant's email & phone

fist.tj@gmail.com

F: +992 935 827 227

M: +992 8352 224 364

Applicant's website/s or facebook

www.khorog.org

Registration & postal address

32 Qurbonaseinov Street

736000 Khorog

Tajikistan

Contact Person for this Project

Artur Khudonazarov

ist.tj@gmail.com

Address:

32 Qurbonaseinov Street

736000 Khorog

Tajikistan

+992 8352 224 364

Partners & co-applicants involved

Co-applicant

Development Policy Foundation; n/a; Poland; May 30th 2011; non-governmental organization/NGO; design & implementation & transfer of know-how & sustainability of the action; 

Co-applicant

Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation/PEIPSI CTC; Estonia; 1993/2000/renamed; non-governmental organization; design & implementation & EU best practices in community & sustainable development;  

Affiliated entity

Mountain Societies Development Support Programme; n/a; Tajikistan; 1993 (as Pamir Relief Development Programme, renamed in 1997); non-governmental organization; associate of the project: action's operational support; 

Affiliated entity

Madina; n/a; Tajikistan; 2005; non-governmental organization, associate to assist in dissemination & sustainability; 

Affiliated entity

De Pamiri Handicraft; n/a; Tajikistan; 2008; non-profit organization; associate to help identify existing markets and conduct trainings of the project’s participants & support action's sustainability; 

Affiliated entity

Gulu Giyoh; n/a; Tajikistan; 1996 (as Yamshed, renamed in 2010); non-governmental organization; associate to train participants of the project in identifying, preserving and selling herbs/natural products & ensure dissemination & sustainability; 

Partner contact person: details & registrations data & PADOR/ EuropeAid ID

Name of the co-applicant

Development Policy Foundation/Fundacja Polityki Rozwojowej

EuropeAid ID number

n/a

Nationality/Country and date of registration

Polish/Poland; May 30th 2011

Legal Entity File number

n/a

Legal status

non-governmental organization

Co-applicant

Name of the co-applicant

Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation/Peipsi Koostöö Keskus 

EuropeAid ID number

n/a

Nationality/Country and date of registration

Estonian/Estonia; 1993/2000:under the current name

Legal Entity File number

n/a

Legal status

non-governmental organization

Affiliated Entity6 

Name of the Affiliated-Entity 

Mountain Societies Development Support Programme

EuropeAid ID number

n/a

Nationality/Country and date of registration

Tajikistan; 1993 (as Pamir Relief Development Programme, renamed in 1997)

Legal status:

non-governmental organization

Specify to which entity you are affiliated (applicant and/or the co-applicant).

Specify the kind of affiliation you have with that entity.  

applicant

associate

Affiliated Entity

Name of the Affiliated-Entity 

Madina

EuropeAid ID number

n/a

Nationality/Country and date of

registration

Tajikistan; 2005

Legal status:

non-governmental organization

Specify to which entity you are affiliated (applicant and/or the co-applicant).

Specify the kind of affiliation you have with that entity.  

applicant

associate

Affiliated Entity

Name of the Affiliated-Entity 

De Pamiri Handicraft

EuropeAid ID number

n/a

Nationality/Country and date of

registration

Tajikistan; 2008

Legal status:

non-profit organization

Specify to which entity you are affiliated (applicant and/or the co-applicant).

Specify the kind of affiliation you have with that entity.  

applicant

associate

Affiliated Entity

Name of the Affiliated-Entity 

Gulu Giyoh

EuropeAid ID number

n/a

Nationality/Country and date of

registration

Tajikistan; 1996 (as Yamshed, renamed in 2010)

Legal status:

non-governmental organization

Specify to which entity you are affiliated (applicant and/or the co-applicant).

Specify the kind of affiliation you have with that entity.  

applicant

associate

Background Outline & Justification

Pre-project situation: 1. Geography: GBAO constitutes approximately 50 per cent of Tajikistan’s territory with only 3 per cent of its population living there. The whole area is almost exclusively a high mountain range separated by several valleys. While it became somewhat industrialized during the Soviet era, its infrastructure remains extremely weak and has deteriorated since the disintegration of the USSR. Its provincial capital Khorog is connected to Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe by a daily flight which does not compensate for the demand actually needed. The majority of people therefore have to rely on a 22-hour-drive across high mountain passes. 2. Economy:  The Tajik economy was struck severely by the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the Tajik civil war (1992-1997) worsened this situation to a near pre-industrial state. While the economy has since improved significantly, it is far from satisfactory and the vast majority of Tajiks (83.5 per cent according to IOM) live below the poverty level. This has led to a massive outflow of the labour force to other CIS countries as well as a brain-drain in general. According to IOM (2010), even at the height of the financial crisis, remittances from Tajik workers abroad made up 1.6 billion USD of Tajikistan’s GDP. While there was a significant drop in the relative amount of the country’s GDP, it still meant that one fourth of it was generated abroad. GBAO along with the Sughd province suffer from an even higher net outflow migration rate than Tajikistan as a whole (ILO Report on Environmental Degradation, Migration, Internal Displacement, and Rural Vulnerabilities in Tajikistan, May 2012). With 90 per cent of all labour migrants being men (ODIHR, 2012), women and families are often left behind depending on uneven support from their husbands abroad. The genuine private sector in the project area remains extremely weak. The majority of the people create their income through a) production of goods/handicrafts for the local populace; b) breeding of livestock in some regions (Murgab, Rushan, Ishkashim) of GBAO; c) trade/sale of goods and produce on local markets and in shops; d) governmental positions in universities, hospitals, medical points, schools, police etc.; e) internationally funded jobs (Aga Khan University, GIZ) and f) in the small but steady tourist sector (home stays, tours, transportation). 3. Religion: The religion in GBAO is of significant difference from the rest of Tajikistan. While in the western part, Sunni Muslims constitute the population’s majority, GBAO’s populace are Shiites of the Ismaili branch with the Aga Khan as their spiritual leader. While this religious difference should not be over-estimated in terms of political or social consequences, it is a major factor of identification for the Pamiri people living in GBAO. 4. Women: While the wives of migrant workers are in many cases funded by them, a significant number of them have found themselves abandoned and left behind in financial uncertainty. The government of Tajikistan has vowed to improve the situation of both migrants in general and women from migrant households in particular and a National State Plan for the Implementation of Gender Policy 2012-2015 has been set up (to promote the learning of languages, computer skills, cooking etc.). The budgetary constraints of Tajikistan will, however, quickly find their limitations and will not allow for a significant improvement of the women’s situation. NGOs and other international organizations, in particular the Aga Khan Development Network, therefore continue to offer programs for some women on a project basis. In spite of these efforts, women in GBAO remain a highly vulnerable and marginalized group, often unaware of their legal rights and lacking professional training. They are therefore limited to non-income generating activities like housework and can often barely, if at all, support their families alone. Almost 70 per cent of all households living below the poverty line are made up of women according to some estimates, and yet only 1 per cent of them received support from aid organizations (OSCE, 2012). Furthermore, Gorno-Badakhshan hosts a big discrepancy in the ratio of women’s salaries compared to that of men, averaging less than 50 per cent and thus contradicting the Millennium Development Goals.

Project location

Rural areas around GBAO’s capital Khorog in Tajikistan (Rushan, Shugnan, Ishkashim, Roshtqala and Murgab)

Project Start & End Date:

 The estimated duration of the project will be 20 months. November 2013 is an optimal starting date. It will allow for the SEI to be adapted and opened in April 2014. This is also taking into consideration the amount of time needed for the conduction of call for applications, evaluation and recruitment of participants.

Amount Requested, state the currency

EUR 110.000

In-kind contributions:

5%

Target groups & final beneficiaries:

Target groups: 1) Women in villages living in extreme poverty or under the threat thereof: Approximately 20-25 beneficiaries organized in 5 informal cooperatives will be awarded 5 sub-grants as a start-up to create 5 small social enterprises, of EUR 4000 each. 5 sub-grantees will be selected on a non-discriminative, while competitive (only 5 awarded amongst 8/9) basis during the start-up event, being evaluated by representatives of the project’s applicants/co-applicants & affiliates, assessing quality of presented cooperatives business plans (ca 8/9), to be developed under 4 months training & tutoring programme offered by SEI. 4 months tutoring curricula is to be maximally practical, emphasising tutors - to-be cooperative needs tailored relation, eventually to ensure soundness & sustainability & added-social value of the elaborated business plans. The business plans under its financial part shall name in detail items to be financed from the sub-grant, however only purchase of equipment & technologies & material resources can be eligible, the reminder (including  remuneration in particular) shall be covered on in-kind contribution basis (inducing collaboration & sustainability, mitigating the risks). EUR 4000 is a sufficient start-up budget to launch a micro cooperative social business in GBAO and will create constant income for approximately 40 people throughout and its direct follow-up/after the project’s initial run. The ceiling of grants' envelope is limited to EUR 20 000 in total. Post-award & follow-up assistance will remain the key for SEI: extended bridge support to be provided to 5 grant awarded cooperatives, in particular and beyond to no-awarded & independent in open door formula. The SEI post-award & follow-up assistance will again focus on strictly practical aspects of kicking-off & running & expanding the given cooperative: premises free of charge, best  deals on equipment, provision of consultancy (financial, legal, market-oriented, topic relevant/technology, translation, ICT, branding/certification), adaptation & transfer of technologies/know how, networking/partnerships/customers, clustering, advice on further independent fund-raising, both public (unfortunately mostly donor-oriented) and private. The SEI post-award & follow-up assistance will be provided by national (predominately) and international experts. As such the overall design of SEI: coupling cooperatives oriented business capacity building, with sub-grants &  extended post-award & follow-up assistance in open formula will directly & durably address crucial economic, social, educational, metal constraints behind marginalization of the selected target group: absolute lack of employment opportunities, scarcity of funds/capital resources; critical lack of knowledge, experience, know-how/, business and commerce running traditions, fundamentally limited access to innovation/networking/partnerships/markets & fund-raising, peculiar & community entrenched social obstacles & mental barriers and replicated societal roles & cooperation/social reward models; low competitiveness of local businesses against competitors from Dushanbe, Osh and China as well as a resulting lack of access to markets for products. Women are to be encouraged to run cooperatives in a field lacking on the current local market in GBAO or having competitive advantage, at the same time offering additional/genuine social value, like food production (e.g. using eco technology like greenhouses/hotbeds, fresh vegetables), food processing (traditional & eco products, including honey & herbs & wild flora),  traditional cosmetics/medicines/women & baby care,  expanding the tourism sector of GBAO (e.g. offering home stays, dining, catering/also for local market), using their manual skills to create products & objects (e.g. sewing/tailoring, making of handicrafts for external & local market) or offering general & professional services to improve the living standards (e.g. opening and running a children’s’  day care, various services e.g. organization of weddings, photo & camera, ICT & advertising/printing, voip, e-tickets). This list is not exhaustive, as all business plans will be thoroughly evaluated, complimentary projects are to encouraged (cluster approach). The SEI  will serve as the project’s main implementing & post-project follow-up vehicle, as it brings applicant, co-applicant, affiliated entities and the project’s beneficiaries together. 

Final beneficiaries: 1) Five local communities within the focus of the project area (Rushan, Shugnan, Ishkashim, Roshtqala und Murgab) taking advantage and benefiting from the 5 informal 

cooperatives consisting of 20-25 women-entrepreneurs overall. This includes the creation of approximately 40 workplaces in the private, socially sustainable sector. The problems of these communities arise from lack of jobs and its limited diversification, lack inadequate education/know-how/resources/networks, negative net migration rate, uneven regional development as well as an extremely marginal and underdeveloped position of the project area. Empowerment of the local communities via creation & running of 5 cooperatives within the project area will respond to the beneficiaries’ needs (by creating new jobs and produce/services improving live standards & offering additional social value to the communities). 2) Other rural communities in GBAO and beyond in Tajikistan will take advantage of SEI open-door extended assistance formula & adapted/tested solutions &i its sustainable follow-up.  Under SEI and its post-award & follow-up assistance the project envisages informal collection/analysis (by tutors & SEI) of data/obstacles/hindrances/best practices on social entrepreneurship in rural/marginalized areas of Tajikistan via development of 2 publications/reports and their targeted dissemination via project's end event. The publications/ reports are to offer lacking in-depth, detailed, practical analysis of the chances and obstacles for women-entrepreneurs and give recommendations on how to reproduce similar projects in other locations. It is intended to maintain the project participants’ integrity and protect their absolute privacy, such approach will largely ensure the overall reliability of the collected data and adds to its additional value.  Problems: Lack of access to practical knowledge, innovations, socially and ecologically sustainable business ideas and funding. These needs are addressed by spreading practical knowledge acquired during the project through SEI. 

Overall objective or goal

To improve the position of women in rural communities of GBAO by motivating, advising and financing the setting-up of social enterprises within informal cooperatives.

Specific objective(s)

- to promote gender equality in business and on the local labour market of GBAO via establishment and running of Social Entrepreneurship Incubator (SEI);

- to enhance mutual trust & bolster cooperative problem approach amongst GBAO rural communities; 

- to expand private employment of GBAO women & independent income generation via allocation of sub-grants to GBAO rural women cooperatives;

-to encourage dialogue & partnership between all stakeholders involved by creating a sustainable platform;

-to support the social enterprises and help create a market for the products or services;

-establishment&testing of socially&economically sustainable community development model via needs tailored knowledge&best practices transfer and adaptation thereof between Central Asia and EU

Outputs or immediate project products or results:

- Sub-grants awarded to 5 informal cooperatives for rural start-ups in the total amount of EUR 20.000;

- General preference is given to socially and ecologically sustainable business ideas with a positive effect on civil society: empowering underprivileged women and mothers whose spouses are labour migrants in particular under cluster approach/internal complementarity between the 5 sub-grants;  

- The informal cooperatives acting as social enterprises will not only offer a work place for the women, but are also intended to be family friendly and allow to maintain a certain degree of work-life balance & address & tackle the key causes & roots of social & community exclusion;

- Creation of approximately 40 genuine private sector jobs;

- Establishment of a social enterprise incubator to support the project’s initiatives

Partners & co-applicants involved

The applicant forged co-application agreement with EU partners: Development Policy Foundation, PL and Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation, EST as well as agreements with Tajik Associates. The international partners will provide their expertise of setting up small and medium enterprises in rural areas, taking into specific consideration the Pamiri particularities. The Mountain Societies Development Support Project will  disseminate the project in local communities through previously created ‘Social Unions for the Development of Village Organizations’ (SUDVOs). The Khorog-based micro-loan organization ‘Madina’, which is supporting the wives of migrant workers; The GBAO-based NGO ‘De Pamiri Handicrafts’, which will help restore know-how in craft-making and its marketing as well as ‘Gulu Giyoh’, an NGO specializing in herbal medicine & traditional cosmetics. Such partnership   frame will enable goal-oriented, effective running & ensure sustainability of the action.  

Key stakeholder groups, attitudes and consultations: The analysis of the stakeholders’ needs is performed by the applicant ‘Foundation for Innovative and Sustainable Technologies’ (FIST) and our international partner NGOs in Poland (DPF) and Estonia (CTC) as well as our local Tajik partner NGO (MSDSP) as part of their statutory activities. Other affiliated entities of the project are Madina, De Pamiri Handicrafts and Gulu Giyoh.

Description of the activities

Activities:

ACT1: Framework arrangements & establishment of SEI; 

ACT2: Adaptation of premises & equipment of SEI; 

ACT3: Holding a call for applications & recruitment of 40 women; 

ACT4 Holding a school of social business under SEI over the course of 4 months/development of ca. 8/9 cooperative business plan by 3-6 women each; 

ACT5: Start-up days & award of 5 sub-grants of ca. EUR 4.000 to 5 established cooperatives in competitive & merit based approach (only 5 from 8/9 cooperatives awarded); 

ACT6: Individual support for informal cooperatives via SEI; 

ACT7: Topic relevant knowledge & best practices collection & dissemination;  

ACT8: Management, evaluation and audit

Cross-cutting issues & project & added-value & gender & environmental & PWDs & innovation employed

Particular added-value elements:

(1) Creation and testing of sustainable model of empowerment of rural underprivileged & marginalised  and (2) promotion of gender equality by giving women the chance to become financially independent in a traditionally paternalistic society. This will in return serve as an (3) inspiration for follow-ups & multiplications when other people of the region will copy ideas with a support from SEI. The adapted & equipped premises that houses the SEI & cooperatives, in line with their needs, throughout the project’s run and beyond, may be also used as a discussion forum, rented training centre & open community centre thus (4) create additional income for SEI. The decision on how to invest the generated money will be made by the to be established SEI board of advisers recruited and selected directly from the project’s participants. The project therefore serves (5) as a vehicle/perpetuator to the improvement of local society with all of its inhabitants being beneficiaries. Some of the informal cooperatives may be turned into registered NGOs aimed at a (6) further development of their communities & nearest region after the project’s finalization. Lastly (7) the project’s originality by allowing some of society’s poorest members to engage in private business and tangibly improve their social reputation.