The grief over the death of the Uzbek President Islam Karimov, who died on 2 September after 25 years of presidency, was tangible. Despite this loss for the Islamic Central Asian country and the fact that a presidential successor has not yet been determined, many representatives of Uzbek political parties, civil society institutions and research centres as well as members of the Uzbek parliament and foreign guests attended the international convention on the “Protection of mothers and children as basis for a sustainable social development – Experiences of Uzbekistan” held in Tashkent on 7 September.
Lectures and presentations focusing on current issues of mother-and-children protection and in particular the exchange of experience with other countries were in the centre of the event organised by the Uzbek Women’s Committee.
The Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation (Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation) followed the invitation of Elmira Basitkhanova, Vice Prime Minister and Chair of the Uzbek Women’s Committee, and reported about its long-term experience and project work targeting the promotion women in Uzbekistan.
Financial literacy: Basis to safeguard families
For many years now, Ilona Gross has been working in Uzbekistan as independent consultant on behalf of Sparkassenstiftung. In her speech she commemorated the late President Karimov. The deep sorrow of the Uzbek people was noticeable everywhere in her work on site. Nevertheless, Gross recalled, the issue of education was near and dear to the late head of state and it would definitely have been in his interest to push this topic forward.
In addition to knowledge about health-promoting and health-preserving measures, financial literacy is another important issue protecting mothers and their children and safeguarding the entire family. Gross further explained that in Uzbekistan it is mostly the women, who decide about the daily expenses and are in charge of the family budget. “The women are responsible for bearing healthy children and bringing them up to become reliable and mature grown-ups. Financial literacy is an essential element in this process of parenting.” Children and young adults should learn how to handle money and be made familiar with such issues like financial markets, banks and the significance of saving already at an early age. This kind of knowledge cannot only be passed on by the mothers, but needs to be anchored in the education system and school curricula. Gross underlined that financially literacy measures have already been introduced at Uzbek schools, but in many cases they lack practical implementation. This is where Sparkassenstiftung comes in – with strong support from the Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan.
Gross explained the core pillars of Sparkassenstiftung’s project work in Uzbekistan: The first pillar is formed by the business simulation games “Micro Business Game” and “Savings Game”. These haptic games impart economic interdependencies and business know-how as well as the fundamentals of saving. The second pillar consists of the work with the manual for young adults who have finished schools. This manual developed by Sparkassenstiftung is geared towards facilitating young people’s entrance into working life. It defines advantages and disadvantages of self-employment and includes tips for teachers about how to prepare pupils for job interviews. According to Gross, more than 15,000 copies of this manual have meanwhile been distributed all over the country.
Gross finally summarized that Sparkassenstiftung’s project work promoting financial literacy in Uzbekistan has developed successfully until now – with one of the success factors being the outstanding support and work performed by the heads of the women advisory centres spread across the country. “Most of our mutual achievements have only been possible because of your commitment.”
Information about the project “Development of a gender-specific programme to enhance financial literacy in Uzbekistan” can be accessed here.
Matthias Fohs / Carina Lau
Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation
53113 Bonn / Germany
Phone: +49 228 9703 6617 / 6608
Fax: +49 228 9703 6613