UNDP, ILO present results of joint pilot project to aid women’s business during pandemic

Posted November 25, 2021

The project supported local authorities and women-entrepreneurs in two Ukrainian oblasts as they responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo credits: Sergiy Perepelytsia / UNDP Ukraine

Kyiv, 24 November 2021 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine and the International Labour Organization (ILO) presented the final results of a joint pilot project called “Economic Empowerment of Women as a Response to the COVID-19 Crisis in Ukraine” during an online event today.

The project was launched in April 2021 as a rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim of promoting and supporting women’s economic empowerment through improving the relevant institutional frameworks, expanding economic opportunities, and enhancing livelihoods.

As part of the pilot project, more than 200 representatives of local authorities completed an online course called “Leadership in economic development” in Rivne and Sumy oblasts. Also, 110 women entrepreneurs completed a total of six three-day training courses on entrepreneurship. The outcome of this training was for the women to be able to develop bankable business plans that they can use to apply for bank loans.

Two selected organizations were assisted in assessing their products, services, member base and clientele for their organization to become more inclusive. This will allow them to increase their market share and revenue as they will be able to increase their outreach.

More than 60 women were provided with in-depth training on e-commerce and consultancy support, which will help them seize the benefits of digitalization and online trade, making their businesses more successful and resilient. 31 women entrepreneurs received combined 200 hours mentoring support with setting up their own business.

UNDP Resident Representative to Ukraine Dafina Gercheva said that support to women-entrepreneurs and those who want to start their own businesses was crucial leverage for women’s economic empowerment and addressing the effects of the pandemic across Ukraine.

“I’m confident that the results achieved by the project will further strengthen the strategic partnerships with the state and non-state actors, promote equal economic opportunities, and support women’s economic empowerment and resilience as we build forward from the pandemic better and greener,” Gercheva said at an online event to present the results of the joint pilot project.

Markus Pilgrim, Director of the ILO Office for Central and Eastern Europe, noted that the gender employment gap is around 10-12 percent in Ukraine; the gender pay gap is even higher at 20 percent.

“If you look at the statistics, you’ll see that the main reason for a lower female employment rate is the high inactivity of young women (25 to 39) with family responsibilities”, Pilgrim said. “We can expect the pandemic to increase the employment gap further; that’s why this project came by timely.”

It is expected that the number of indirect project beneficiaries will amount to 350,000 men and women in the two targeted oblasts. The pilot project’s partners at the national and local level – including Rivne and Sumy oblast state administrations, the State Employment Service of Ukraine, the Confederation of Employers of Ukraine, and the Women’s Business League, will take over responsibility for ensuring the sustainability and replicability of the initiative.

More results of the joint pilot project can be found in the recording of the final presentation event, in Ukrainian and English.


The joint pilot project called “Economic Empowerment of Women as a Response to the COVID-19 Crisis in Ukraine” was implemented by the UNDP and the ILO in two target regions of Ukraine – Rivne and Sumy oblasts. The project aims to contribute to a sustainable recovery of living standards of the COVID-19 crisis-affected population in Ukraine by promoting and supporting women’s economic empowerment. This is to be done by improving the relevant institutional frameworks and increasing economic opportunities to improve women’s livelihoods. 

Media inquiries:

Yuliia Samus, UNDP Communications Team Leader, yuliia.samus@undp.org