Over the years, UNDP, with the government support, have been taking various initiatives both on the regional and the republican level integrating local and foreign specialists for conducting master classes, trainings and workshops for rural population in different regions of Uzbekistan in order to revive craftsmanship traditions, to create new jobs, especially ensuring employment of rural population, and, ultimately, – improving the welfare in the regions of Uzbekistan and strengthening the economic stability in the republic.
One of such initiatives – establishing of the Hand Carpet Weaving Studio – was made possible as a result of joint efforts of the Samarkand region and Pastargom district khokimiyats and the UNDP Project “Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Efficiency Plan for Zarafshan River Basin” within the pilot project “Building rural communities resiliency in Uzbekistan: economic prosperity and healthy environment”.
Implementation of this pilot project was financially supported by the Global Program of UNDP and the Coca-Cola Company “New World: Inclusive Sustainable Human Development Initiatives” through allocating US$75,000 for this particular purpose. Parties involved have faced two key tasks. The first – setting up a Hand carpet weaving Studio in a rural area, the second was related to improving the access of rural population to drinking water, raising population awareness and potential of the sanitation and hygiene issues.
Total expenditures of the joint project made US$51,000 and have been spent for purchase of carpet looms, machines, furniture and equipment for a full-fledged production process in the Studio, hiring specialists and consultants. The issue of recruitment for manufacturing of goods under the “Made in Uzbekistan” brand was also solved on site. According to the project plan, a two month practical course was arranged for selected female residents of the Sayram and Kanal-Yoqa villages of the Pastargom district on the basis of the Joint Venture “Samarkand Bukhoro ipak gilami”. This course included the carpet weaving techniques from natural silk, design and marketing. During the course, attendees were made aware of the history of this craft form, the technology of making extremely complex decorative patterns, painting silk fibers and the design, secrets of which were inherited from mothers to daughters consistent with the traditional “ustoz-shogird” (master/apprentice) system. Hand carpet weaving is a very complex and meticulous work requiring special skills, diligence, patience, agility and attentiveness; therefore, this craft was mainly mastered by the guardians of the hearth. As of today, more than 30 women got the opportunity to plunge into the colorful world of this ancient art handicraft and to learn its history and theory.
It will be possible to observe the work of craftswomen in the workshop immediately after the official opening ceremony within the fact-finding tour. After that, the specialists will arrange a meeting in a workshop format. The project initiators will provide information about its objectives, targets and achievements, efficiency of the carpeting manufacturing and sale business, and will also present the first developed and published in Uzbekistan “Silk Carpet Weaving Manual”. This manual gives a detailed description, in a simple and intelligible form, of the stages of carpet making, their design, methods of fiber painting and storage of finished products. This publication is intended for those who plan to start working at a factory or at home. On the very same day, the course graduates will receive the certificates confirming their status of “Carpet Technique, Design and Marketing Master”.
In addition to ensuring employment of population in regions and increasing their prosperity, which are the primary targets of the implementation of this initiative, the key objective of the UNDP Project is to develop the Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Use Efficiency Plan for the Zarafshan River Basin, to strengthen the legal and regulatory framework for the water sector, and to support the integration of water management issues into relevant inter-sectorial policies. In this manner, by way of diversification of the labor of rural population, it is planned to reduce the burden of consumption of natural resources and to ensure environmental sustainability in line with the Millennium Development Goals in Uzbekistan.