Life at Lake Urmia: Digital skills for a sustainable livelihood

Iran, with its predominantly young population, has experienced a digital boom in recent years. In particular, the intensive use of online platforms and ride-hailing apps are an expression of this change. However, the digital divide between urban and rural areas is immense. In many cases, the population in rural areas lacks the access and skills to take advantage of digital offerings.

To change this and improve the living conditions of rural populations, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) implemented the Green & Digital project in the first half of 2022. The program included a training program in which 300 local producers (70 percent female) from the Lake Urmia area were trained in how to promote and offer their products online. And with success: producers who had taken part in the training subsequently sold three times as much.

The livelihood of the population around Lake Urmia has continued to deteriorate since the late 1990s. The once huge salt lake has lost up to 90 percent of its volume at times due to climate change and poor water management – a disaster for all those who depend on the lake’s ecosystem for their livelihood.