FY 2010 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: Belarus

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs

Performance Report Highlights: Belarus

FY 2010 Foreign Assistance Goals

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

Total FY 2010 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: $15.00 million*

Date: 2011 Description: Belarus -- Total FY 2010 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance:  $15.00 million. - State Dept Image

(*Foreign Operations funding appropriated for FY 2010, 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 $6.35 million in FY 2010.)

Highlights of FY 2010 Performance by Area of Focus

Peace and Security

-- In FY 2010, the USG completed a multi-year anti-TIP project, which focused on educating a cadre of trainers, consolidating the knowledge of the general public and target audiences of TIP-related issues, and building the capacity of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

-- The USG supported sustainable and humane reintegration of victims of trafficking (VOTs), including a safe and dignified return home, psychological rehabilitation, and assistance in recovering personal and legal documents. USG assistance promoted and sustained close cooperation among NGOs and regional law enforcement agencies to elevate the role of domestic NGOs in providing assistance to VOTs and expanding prevention efforts. In FY 2010, the USG supported reintegration of 70 VOTs, bringing the overall number of victims assisted from April 2008 to August 2010 to 408.

-- More than 9,000 people attended information and training sessions aimed at improving knowledge and understanding of key TIP-related issues and the health risks associated with trafficking, such as sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS; and dealing with the psychological trauma caused by TIP. Participants included unemployed individuals, representatives of state employment agencies, and seniors and graduates of schools and vocational schools in search of their first jobs.

Governing Justly and Democratically

-- USG programming in Belarus supported those working to improve human, social and political rights, as well as democratic processes.

-- USG funding supported civil society initiatives though small grants and institutional support. This assistance allowed a broad group of national and regional human rights, youth, entrepreneur and civic education organizations, NGO resource centers, legal clinics, trade unions, public councils, environmental organizations, and trans-border cooperation bodies to promote civic participation. In FY 2010, USG assistance assisted in the registration of 13 organizations.

-- USG funding supported 48 business associations that engage in advocacy and watchdog functions, and mobilize the business community and broader civil society in order to affect public-policy development. USG assistance strengthened local business associations, which in turn increased their membership by over 11%. A coalition of reform-oriented business associations, think tanks, and NGOs formed as a result of this USG assistance. Through concerted advocacy efforts, this coalition advocated, with some success, for the improvement of the business climate in Belarus.

Investing in People

-- The main focus of FY 2010 USG assistance under this objective was on tuberculosis (TB) control. In December 2010, the USG completed a two-year project on TB policy development, advancing Belarus’s newly established National Tuberculosis Program for 2010-2014 (NTP) and leveraging a Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM) grant focused on introducing and disseminating internationally recognized TB control and care practices. In addition to leveraging NTP and GFATM funding, USG-funded activities contributed to achieving medium- and long-term outcomes by providing targeted technical guidance to ensure national TB control activities are implemented in an effective, strategic manner. The project helped establish an effective drug supply and management system, implementation of collaborative TB/HIV activities, and expansion of TB diagnostics and care at the primary health-care level. Bringing domestic and international stakeholders together under a National Coordinating Working Group, the USG enhanced strategic coordination and helped build support for the NTP, which incorporates USG-funded activities and was approved by the Council of Ministers of Belarus. Unlike the program it replaced, the new NTP facilitates national ownership of the fight against TB and identifies ways of strengthening the national system of TB control, such as improving laboratory capacities; patient support for the outpatient phase of treatment, and infection- control measures for TB facilities.

-- USG funds supported the development of clinical guidelines on infection control, which were officially adopted by the Ministry of Health of Belarus in December 2009. In addition, a drug-resistance survey was launched in Minsk. The USG also supported a highly successful nationwide TB conference that prominently recognized the USG’s contribution.

-- USG support for higher education was used to help build modern curricula and support for Western management practices at two leading educational institutions. Several universities, including those receiving USG assistance, have designed their degree programs to meet European standards. Activities included improving teaching methodologies, such as case studies, modernizing curriculum, and incorporating information technology in the learning process. These activities have involved dozens of business and economic educators across the country and have significantly increased demand for Western teaching methodologies.

-- Efforts aimed at launching Belarus’s first English-language Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) program produced considerable results. Building on an established partnership with the leading business education institution in Belarus, the School of Business and Management of Technology (SBMT) in Minsk, the USG mobilized the Government of Belarus (GOB) and other international partners to support implementation of a strategy for creating a modern MBA program. The GOB demonstrated support by dedicating a building for the MBA program, signing a bilateral agreement with the Government of Latvia on cooperation in the sphere of education, and providing a legal framework for the program. Results to date include the successful start-up of an English Language Center at SBMT, curriculum development, and training of faculty to deliver quality business education. The five-year goal of the USG’s efforts, in partnership with the Government of Belarus, the Government of Latvia, and other project partners, is to make the MBA program financially sustainable and compliant with Bologna Process standards.

Economic Growth

-- USG funding supported economic empowerment activities for vulnerable populations. Fifteen local trainers conducted training on job skills and job-seeking skills in 13 locations throughout Belarus, with over 980 individuals participating in 66 training sessions. A total of 18 graduates from these training sessions were provided with funding for further vocational training. Virtually all graduates reported improved skills and strategies for job searches, increased self-esteem and better awareness of TIP-related issues, and 69% of graduates found full-time employment as a result of the skills and networking opportunities provided. Approximately 90% of participants noted that the USG-funded training had been their only opportunity to improve their economic situation.

Humanitarian Assistance

-- In FY 2010, the USG provided medical and non-medical assistance valued at over $6.3 million to vulnerable populations throughout Belarus.