FY 2009 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: Belarus

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
FY 2009 U.S. Government Assistance to and Cooperative Activities with Eurasia


FY 2009 Foreign Assistance Goals

The primary goal of U.S. foreign assistance is to support the country’s evolution into a democracy based on the rule of law and respect for human rights. In addition to supporting Belarusians working to advance basic rights and freedoms, U.S. Government (USG)-funded social, humanitarian, and trafficking in persons programs work to improve living standards and demonstrate support for the Belarusian people.

Total FY 2009 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: $11.50 million*

Date: 01/2010 Description: Belarus chart shows HA $0.40m 3%; P&S $0.19m 2%; GJD $8.78m 76%; Program Support $0.29m 3%; IIP $1.84m 16%. FY 2009 Areas of Focus--GJD: Governing Justly and Democratically; IIP: Investing in People; HA: Humanitarian Assistance; P&S: Peace and Security. - State Dept Image

(*Foreign Operations funding appropriated for FY 2009, not including centrally managed, regional Foreign Operations funding that is not budgeted for specific countries. Humanitarian Assistance total does not include the value of donated humanitarian commodities transported by the Department of State, estimated at $6.71 million in FY 2009.)

Highlights of FY 2009 Performance by Area of Focus

Peace and Security

In FY 2009, USG assistance:

  • Worked to decrease the incidence of trafficking in persons. USG programs trained 15 religious workers and distributed 30 counter-trafficking manuals to clergy around the country. U.S. assistance also helped reintegrate more than half of the 95 new registered victims of trafficking. Through economic empowerment programs efforts, 57 job skills and job-seeking training sessions were conducted for 851 target group representatives, all of which completed vocational internships, thus further increasing their ability to compete in the domestic labor market. Supported former weapons scientists in non-weapons research through the Moscow-based International Science and Technology Center (ISTC).

Governing Justly and Democratically

In FY 2009, USG assistance:

  • Provided support and training for legal clinics, advocacy non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and business associations. Eleven USG-supported legal clinics provided 464 consultations per month to underprivileged populations – an increase of more than 100 cases per month from the previous year. The USG also provided direct legal and humanitarian aid to more than 3,000 individuals and families whose rights have been violated as a result of their public activism.

  • Conducted, jointly with entrepreneurs and civil society representatives, advocacy campaigns and developed the National Business Platform (NBP) featuring recommendations for improving the business environment. These efforts were a success, as evidenced by the Government of Belarus’ (GOB) adoption of its 52-item liberalization program, including 34 recommendations from the NBP.

Investing in People

In FY 2009, USG assistance:

  • Helped the Belarusian Ministry of Health (MOH) draft a new five-year State Tuberculosis (TB) Program and produced the “TB Treatment Clinical Guidelines.” USG efforts also helped the MOH adopt an ordinance that optimized and standardized quality assurance procedures and the use of equipment in TB labs to modernize national TB policy.

  • Provided training on issues of parental and child health for those living in areas still affected by the Chornobyl disaster, including nine communities in pre-natal training, preventing complications during pregnancy and at childbirth, and childcare; and seven workshops for school teachers and administrators on the use of ‘health-saving’ technologies, interactive educational methods, dealing with socially vulnerable children, and reproductive health for teenagers in secondary schools.

  • Supported several MBA and distance-learning programs to provide Belarusian youth with an alternative to the state university system. The USG-supported European Humanities University enrolled over 1,100 Belarusian youth; the overwhelming majority of this year’s graduates returned to work in Belarus.

  • Strengthened the capacity of local NGOs to act as service providers and advocates for two vulnerable groups – orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and people with disabilities - to support inclusion of these groups in social and economic life. Regarding OVC, services such as parenting skills and life skills for disadvantaged children led to dramatic improvements for both those that care for vulnerable children (an increase from 66% to 88% in their knowledge of the subject) and the children themselves in terms of their reported changes in behavior.

  • Helped the Belarusian Interagency Task Force develop social rehabilitation standards for families at risk; it also facilitated the adoption of the Child Abuse and Neglect Investigation Standards and Recommendations by the assisted communities. Made a significant impact at the community level and stimulated changes nationwide. In five assisted communities, the average rate of new cases of institutionalization dropped from 24% to 6%. Over the last year, the long-standing number of registered OVC in the country dropped from 32,400 to 31,800.

Humanitarian Assistance

In FY 2009, USG assistance:

  • Leveraged significant contributions from partner NGOs, for a combined total value of over $6.7 million in donated assistance.