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 Meeting - 17 March 2003 (WVI)

 Meeting date: 14.04.2003

Azeri version

Meeting: Children's Issues Coordination Meeting
Date: 17 March 2003
Purpose: This is a forum open to all agencies and NGOs working to provide services, programs, and advocacy for disadvantaged children in Azerbaijan, including IDP, poor, institutionalized, isolated, and physically and mentally disabled children. The purpose is to share information on and coordinate current and planned activities serving disadvantaged children, with the belief that we can achieve much more for more children with a wide variety of special needs when we work together.
Venue: World Vision International (WV)
Chairperson: Mike MnIntyre, WV National Director

Vailda Abbasova Mushfiq
Aynur Ahmadova Caspian Mental Health Association
Akif Akhmedov UFUG
Gula Aliyeva UAFA
Brigitte Alpman
Mahira Alxazova BUTA
Christopher Anderson SC
Sevil Asadova Caspian Mental Health Association
Rovshan Azizov UFUG
Gwen Burchell UAFA
Joyce Carpenter UFUG
Barbara Greenwood UMCOR
Mark Grewcoe WV
Hayat Gulahmedova Goncha
Nazim Ibadov BUTA
Leyla Imanova OSI
Mahmud Mahmadov UMCOR
Inara Makayeva UMCOR
Bilgeis Mamedov UFUG
Michael McIntyre WV
Natasha Palubinski
Laura Peer
Yana Suleymanova CP


I. Introductions of attendees.

II. Follow-up from last meeting. Laura Peer of WV asks attendees to complete and submit the table on their NGOs' activities related to children's issues. Tables for all organizations will be translated, compiled and distributed.

III. Coordination. Discussion opens on ways in which NGOs can achieve better and more coordination across Azerbaijan. Ideas shared include the following:

  • Joyce Carpenter: Have different organizations take turns chairing this meeting, each time with a different focus.
  • Bilgeis Mamedova: Create a newsletter or website where events and activities can be posted, and program information can be obtained.
  • Gewn Burchell: Coordination is not necessarily the main problem for NGOs working on children's issues-it's access to sufficient financial resources.
  • Bilgeis Mamedova: Regarding coordination specifically related to working with children in institutions, establish regular meetings or some form of written updates.
  • Michael McIntyre: Get government officials involved.

IV. Children's Commission/Cabinet of Ministers. Gwen Burchell of United Aid for Azerbaijan (UAFA) gives an overview of the role of the Children's Commission of the Cabinet of Ministers in creating policy and shaping the government's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, in regards to children's issues. Ms. Burchell presents a letter that she has drafted in an effort of have the issues of deinstitutionalization and setting up and supporting a comprehensive social services system on the autumn meeting's agenda. Ms. Burchell proposes that coordination meeting attendees form a coalition and begin a letter writing campaign to all related governmental officials to educate them and to make these issues a top priority in the government. Attendees agree to provide feedback and comments on the letter, and to make suggestions on a name for the coalition. Mr. McIntyre suggests that the letter end with a request for action on the part of the governmental officials.

V. Results of UAFA's Questionnaire on Deinstitutionalization/Social Services. Gulnara Aliyeva presents the results of the questionnaire administered by UAFA to NGOs, agencies, and officials in the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education providing children's services. 16 of 36 questionnaires were submitted. Participants generally have an understanding the meaning of "deinstitutionalization" and "social services development." Activities fall into 4 categories: 1) Family support, 2) Direct work in institutions, 3) Creating new systems, 4) Public awareness. Future plans of most agencies include research, training, volunteerism, and creating new systems. Most participants agreed that there is a need for further discussion on the topic of deinstitutionalization. Overall summary: There is a general understanding of deinstitutionalization and social services; however some perceptions are quite narrow.

VI. Other Business, Next Steps. Mr. McIntyre writes a list of the topics that have come up repeatedly throughout the discussions. They are the main categories of services provided for and needed by children in Azerbaijan. He then diagrams the "continuum of care" for children with special needs. Ms. Burchell suggests that approaching the government as a coalition with a well-developed strategy for addressing these issues could help get these issues and ideas higher on their agenda which would lead to better care services for more children. Valida Abbasova of Mushfiq suggests that the best approach is to begin programs, rather than spend so much time in discussions with each other and the government. Barbara Greenwood of UMCOR suggests that we separate discussions about coordination by community level and national level. Leyla Imanova of OSI says that we need to implement a successful pilot project first in order to prove our ideas to the government.

Ms. Burchell announces that in partnership with the State Statisitcs Committee, UAFA is planning on doing a study to determine the actual number of children in institutions in Azerbaijan.

Sevil Asadova of Caspian Mental Health Assoc. suggests that we narrow our focus to policy and public awareness and that in the next meeting, participants identify their own personal priorities.

VII. Next Meeting: 31 March 2003 at 16:00 at World Vision, 40 Jafar Jabbarli Street (Caspian Business Center, 5th floor), phone 97-33-60.

VIII. Next Meeting Chair: Barbara Greenwood, UMCOR Head of Mission

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