Counterpart Ponders Future in Uzbekistan
ISTANBUL, Turkey, May 7 /PRNewswire/ -- This week an international development agency with major programs in Central Asia begins closing its offices in Uzbekistan after a court in Tashkent ruled in favour of Justice Ministry charges of unauthorized activities. "We have no option but to abide by the ruling of the court and begin dissolving relevant programs in Uzbekistan," Lelei LeLaulu, the president of Counterpart International, told reporters on his way to Central Asia to see what could be salvaged of the international humanitarian and development organization's work. He added, "It has been a privilege to work with the Uzbek people for a decade, and we look forward to the next stage of cooperation with Uzbekistan." Since its operations there began in 1995, Counterpart has delivered over US$100 million worth of assistance to Uzbekistan in support of the government's development agenda, and its progress on the Millennium Development Goals. Working with the Uzbek government and its agencies, Counterpart has managed a portfolio of development programs totaling $18.1 million to ensure the nation's citizens continuing access to improved health care, safe drinking water, hospitals, clinics, roads and other community services, with funding provided by USAID, the World Bank, the United Nations, private sector donors and DFID, the British aid agency. During the past decade Counterpart has also delivered more than $90 million in humanitarian assistance, providing various Uzbek government ministries with medical equipment, school supplies, food and rehabilitation services for their citizens. LeLaulu paid tribute to the Uzbek Cabinet of Ministers' Working Group on Humanitarian Aid for skillfully guiding assistance to the neediest citizens, "with compassion and efficiency." Two thirds of the $90 million in aid that Counterpart administered went to beneficiaries through Uzbek partner organizations such as the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Emergency Management, the Children's Fund of Uzbekistan and the Red Crescent Society of Uzbekistan. "It has been our privilege to have worked on programs which touched millions of Uzbek citizens, and Counterpart looks forward to continuing a dialogue with the Uzbekistan Government to see how we might continue to help them serve their people," added LeLaulu. LeLaulu gave the example of how Counterpart, working alongside the Ministry of Health, has significantly increased the health of children in 18 mahallas in the remote and arid western region of Uzbekistan. "Our child survival programs have enabled thousands of children and their mothers in Karakalpakstan to lead healthier lives and we hope to find a way to continue to provide such services." In other parts of Uzbekistan, Counterpart's Healthy Communities programs mobilize communities around vital health issues, LeLaulu added, benefiting about 90,000 residents in over 40 communities through the provision of improved drinking water and sports facilities as well as improving hygiene, sanitation and nutrition education. Counterpart has also bolstered the work of civil society organizations through technical assistance, training, and grants to support projects which enable ordinary citizens and local government to work more effectively together to promote the country's social and economic development, and to constructively engage with government for mutual benefit. On the Tashkent court's ruling on the charges brought by the Ministry of Justice, LeLaulu said, "We adequately responded to each technicality raised by the officials with proof that we had, in fact, followed both Uzbek law and our own charter, but the court has made its ruling so we must obey the judgment, while looking forward to see how we can continue our partnership with the people and Government of Uzbekistan." Counterpart International has development programs in the other four Central Asian nations as well as in neighboring Afghanistan, the Caucasus and Caspian regions. Since its' founding in 1965, Counterpart International has become particularly renowned for its work in constructive partnerships with governments, businesses, communities and non-government organizations in developing infrastructure, small enterprises, and for providing effective service delivery, especially to the most vulnerable. For further information, visit http://www.counterpart.org. Contact: Bevan Springer + 1 202-296-9676 email@example.com
SOURCE Counterpart International
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