of the Republic of Uzbekistan
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Event in Birmingham on Civil Society of Uzbekistan and the Role of Women Entrepreneurship

Three inspirational women presented on Friday 24 May 2013 at the International event organised by the West Midlands Branch of the Uzbek- British Society. The event took place at the Birmingham & Midland Institute and featured presentations by Mavluda Shirinova, Chair of The Social Initiatives Support Fund from Uzbekistan, Jo Cameron, The Founder of The Achievers Academy for Women, UK and Kath Rees, CEO of The Haven Wolverhampton, UK.

Mavluda Shirinova highlighted the achievements of the civil society of Uzbekistan and explained the role of the Social Initiatives Support Fund (SISF) in developing and implementing national social programs working with the local NGO sector in Uzbekistan. Since its establishment in 2007 SISF implemented 140 projects, including those in healthcare, education, social support and infrastructure, support of regional NGOs and ecology projects benefiting in total 2,616,527 people across the country. For example “Health Mother – Health Child” project was focused on education for young women and girls and “Healthy Youth” project delivered trainings, counselling and youth social campaigns.

Jo Cameron who is often described as a “one of the most inspirational women of our time” spoke about The Achievers Academy for Women, a community of women who encourage each other to achieve their goals and full potential. The Achievers Academy for Women brings together over 9000 professional women and is quickly expanding nationally through local groups and online. Jo gave an insight to her personal development from Engineering to the development of the Achievers Academy for Women’s network. Frustrated by the barriers placed in front of women she wanted to make a difference. Her speech entitled “Women in Leadership” was very inspirational.

Kath Rees described the work of The Haven Wolverhampton, UK which delivers temporary accommodation and local support services for women and children experiencing domestic violence since 1973. The Haven worked in partnership with an Uzbek NGO, the Social Economic Development Centre SABR since 1996. SABR is based in Samarkand City, Uzbekistan and works for the benefit of women and children by providing support, encouragement and the opportunity for an independent life in a safe environment.

The Haven and SABR were successful in its funding application to the  Institution Building and Partnership Programme (IBPP) to deliver a joint project “Support  to the local community development for sustainable livelihood and improvement of living standards in rural area”. The project will start in 2013 and will result in setting up Local Development Centres in Samarkand Area, Uzbekistan in order to improve access to employment and education for vulnerable groups including women and youth.

One of the high-profile initiatives between The Haven, SABR and the Social Initiatives Support Fund (SISF) was the bi-annual “Pearl of the East” Women’s Cultural and Business Forum. The 1st Forum took place in October 2009 in Westminster, London; 2nd forum took place in October 2011 in Tashkent and the 3rd Forum is planned for November 2013 in London. Kath Rees thanked The Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the United Kingdom for their support to the “Pearl of the East” Women’s Cultural and Business Forum. Preparations for the 3rd Forum are now on the way and details will be distributed in the nearest future.

Presentations were followed by a lively discussion and networking. Visitors enjoyed the colourful display of traditional Uzbek arts and crafts and photographs of Uzbekistan which brought such a radiance to the room. We would like to thank Frederique Beaupertuis-Bressand, founder of the Association for Timurid Art and History, author of "The Blue Gold of Samarkand" and "Samarkand La Magnifique" who kindly donated the photographs.
Mavluda Shirinova said “Economically empowering women builds better educated, healthier families and stronger communities, and decreases poverty.”

Kath Rees commented that the “role of women in local and national economies is hard to underestimate. Women often have many barriers to achieving their full potential and the women entrepreneurship should be widely supported”.

We would like to thank the British Russian Society in the Midlands who helped with the organisation of the event. The Chair of the society Dr Elena Denezhkina addressed the audience with the message of support for international cooperation and partnership working.

Visitors were invited to join British Uzbek Society. The Society aims to promote friendship and cooperation between the UK and Uzbekistan in such fields as business, education and the arts. It is involved in different activities such as organising exhibitions, lectures, visits or joint projects in the field of art and cultural development.

For further information please visit:

The Social Initiatives Support Fund, Uzbekistan (http://sisf.uz/en/)
The Haven Wolverhampton (www.havenrefuge.org.uk)
URU Connect (www.uru.org.uk)

Presentation of subject


Uzbek Arts and Crafts


Participants of the Event


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