The efforts of the Government of Belarus to contain negative implications of COVID-19 are centered around two key engagement areas: mobilization of the healthcare system for early detection of COVID-19 infections and development of measures to remedy the adverse socio-economic impact of the pandemic in the country. In this context, the UNDP Belarus team works closely with national and international partners to deploy new solutions and provide support to the most vulnerable communities. UNDP's COVID-19 Integrated Response guides interventions, with a focus on moving beyond recovery towards 2030.
Hanna Yahorava, Coordination Specialist on Volunteerism and COVID-19 Response and Recovery, and Katsiaryna Andronava, Volunteer Engagement Specialist, serve with UNDP Belarus. The UN Volunteers have been working on COVID-19 response and recovery measures and socio-economic support, with the integration of volunteerism solutions. Their assignments are sponsored by UNV, from its Special Voluntary Fund.*
UNDP’s support primarily focuses on overcoming COVID-19 socio-economic implications for vulnerable populations. From the very beginning of the pandemic, UNDP actively contributed to a preliminary assessment of the socio-economic impact.
UNDP launched a Business and Career Week for women – a series of 15 workshops for women entrepreneurs. UNDP has also started a crisis management programme for small and medium-sized enterprises, which is premised on recommendations for corporate measures to accelerate recovery and strengthen resilience.
UNV’s support in this domain contributed to the development of new Guidelines on NGO Digitalization.
Switching to the digital environment was not easy for most civil society organizations and volunteer initiatives. Adapting to new formats should have been smooth and effective, allowing them to continue support to beneficiaries, including vulnerable groups. --Hanna Yahorava
UNV plays an important role in the recovery and development efforts, by leveraging partnerships with national volunteerism capacities, like the Republican Volunteers Center, civil society organizations, universities and vocational education facilities.
The response to challenges caused by COVID-19 can be strengthened by bringing together volunteers, volunteer organizations and their managers, as well as other local and national partners.
UNDP and UNV have been involved in the preparation of the comments to the national legislation on volunteerism.
UNDP’s further recovery efforts will be focused on promoting employment opportunities for COVID-19-affected populations, increasing capacity of businesses in applying and producing digital tools to respond to and recover from the crisis, as well as on enhancing digitalization and increasing digital literacy.
*UNV's Special Voluntary Fund (SVF) was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1970. Over time, the SVF mandate has been modified and expanded, with the SVF providing seed funding to scale up successful projects where volunteerism has had a transformative impact. The SVF is also used to develop innovative volunteer-based solutions as well as undertake research and knowledge sharing. Read more here.