Ensuring women's voices are heard

Leyla Novruzlu: This experience underscored the transformative power of economic empowerment and reaffirmed my belief in the importance of investing in women's potential to drive sustainable development and social change

June 12, 2024

Leyla Novruzlu is a UN Volunteer with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). She focuses on Sustainable Development Goal 5 calling for gender equality under the second phase of Women's Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus programme in Azerbaijan.

Leyla started her volunteering journey with UNDP as a Project Clerk.

She provides administrative support, maintains project documents, and assists communication across many levels. "I am keen to contribute to a culture of inclusivity within the team and ensure that women's voices are heard and valued at every stage of the project." Leyla shares.

Within the project, I identified opportunities to enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of our initiatives. Drawing upon my organizational skills and attention to detail, I took the initiative to simplify workflows, improve data management, and strengthen coordination among project partners.” Leyla Novruzlu, UN Volunteer with UNDP Azerbaijan.

UNDP supports the socio-economic development in Azerbaijan based on the country’s evolving needs — including poverty reduction, disaster risk management, climate change, and gender empowerment. 

Leyla witnessed the project's tangible impact on promoting gender equality in the South Caucasus, such as the Women's Resources Centers that gave women access to training and opportunities on how to start businesses, access markets, and make positive changes in their communities.

A highlight of my volunteer experience was promoting partnerships between women-owned businesses and private companies. This experience underscored the transformative power of economic empowerment and reaffirmed my belief in investing in women's potential for sustainable development and social change.” Leyla Novruzlu, UN Volunteer with UNDP Azerbaijan.

Leyla is grateful for the opportunities and experiences as part of her volunteer assignment. "A remarkable chapter in my professional life, filled with growth, challenges, and, most importantly, meaningful impact. Moving forward, I am committed to continuing my journey of empowerment and impact, leveraging the skills and insights gained during my time with UNDP Azerbaijan to champion gender equality and social inclusion in all aspects of my service."

Whether through entrepreneurship training, access to microfinance, or advocacy for policy reforms, the project is vital in breaking down structural barriers and creating means to economic independence for women in the South Caucasus. 

The Women Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus programme ended its first phase in December 2021. The second phase is currently underway and expected to end in July 2024.