By Rasana Gasimova
About 2,400 persons with disabilities were attracted to the self-employment program by the State Employment Service under the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection in 2019, the ministry reported.
It was noted that in its self-employment program the ministry gives preference to vulnerable groups of population, including persons with disabilities.
The participants were trained and given the necessary knowledge and skills for building a small business in the first stage of the program. Those who successfully completed the trainings and whose business plans were evaluated positively, including people with disabilities, were provided with assets on the types of economic activity they chose.
Moreover, 500 persons with disabilities were given an opportunity to create sustainable business as part of ‘Creating Inclusive and Decent Jobs for Socially Vulnerable Groups', a joint project of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population and UN development program.
The self-employment program has been implemented in Azerbaijan since 2016. The project is aimed at improving employment among vulnerable groups of Azerbaijani population who are looking for jobs: youth, women, internally displaced persons, people with disabilities and people with low levels of education.
The project includes three components: increasing the scope and effectiveness of the self-employment program; strengthening the capacity of the State Employment Service; project management, monitoring and evaluation.
Last year, as many as 10,354 people were attracted to the program. Some 42 million manats ($25 million) were provided for financing the self-employment program in 2019. This year, the program is expected to cover up to 15,000 families in 2020.
The project is funded by the Unemployment Insurance Fund under the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the population.
In addition, the negotiations in this direction with the World Bank (WB) are at the final stage. Azerbaijani government in September sent an official request to the WB to obtain a loan of $100 million for the implementation of the employment support project. WB Board of Directors may approve a loan for this project in March 2020.
In 2020, the World Bank project is expected to cover around 1,000-2,000 families. In the following years, 5,000 families are expected to be stably financed by the WB.
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