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 Meeting - 16 April, 2003, 16:00 (WVI)

 Meeting date: 16.04.2003


Meeting: Children's Issues Coalition
Date and Time: 16 April, 2003, 16:00
Location: World Vision, Caspian Business Center, 40 Jafar Jabbarli Str.
Next Meeting: 28 April 2003, 16:00

Meeting Chair: Barbara Greenwood, Head of Mission, UMCOR

Etibar Ashirov, LOTOS
Vusala Asadova, UMCOR
Inara Makayeva, UMCOR
Barabra Greenwood, UMCOR
Maira Alxazova, BUTA
Gula Aliyeva, UAFA
Gwen Burchell, UAFA
Teri Randall, IWC, Caspian Project
Meftuna Ismayilova, Caspian Mental Health Association
Aynur Ahmadova, Caspian Mental Health Association
Natasha Palubinski, WV
Laura Peer, WV
Bela Mamedova, Ufug
Siraj Mahmudov, UNICEF


I. Follow-up from last meeting, agenda for this meeting
II. UNICEF presentation on current and future initiatives
III. Letter Campaign update
IV. Discussion on organization of the meetings
V. National Plan of Action discussion (moved to next meeting)

I. Minutes from last meeting passed out in Azeri and English. Laura Peer announces that minutes will be posted on Azerweb in English and Azeri from now on shortly after each meeting. It is decided that in order for the minutes to be available in a timely manner, they will be posted before the next meeting, without previous approval from the coalition. National plan of action discussion moved to next meeting's agenda due to time limit. Agenda for this meeting approved.

II. Siraj Mahmudov, Program Officer for UNICEF, gives PowerPoint presentation on UNICEF's past (2000-2002), current, and future programming strategies for children in need of special protection. He presents on the problems addressed by UNICEF (governmental bureaucracy, poverty, conflict, economy, institutions); studies conducted (Children Living in Public Care, Street Children); lessons learned (governmental training needs, successes need to be shares, better coordination, and the reluctance to change of staff in institutions); and plans for this year. He hands out notes highlighting UNICEF's three main focuses for future programming in 2003: Operational Research on Children in Need of Special Protection; De-Institutionalization of Children Living in Public Care; and Support to Family Based Rehabilitation of Disabled Children.

Q and A on presentation:
Q (Gwen Burchell): In the presentation, Mr. Mahmudov informs that UNICEF will be hiring an international consultant to inform their research on children living in public care. Will NGOs already working in the country be able to participate in the research and take part in any trainings that result from the consultant's recommendations?
A: Yes, NGOs will be able to be involved in the research and trainings recommended by the consultant.

Q: And what is UNICEF doing to advocate for parents to keep their children out of institutions? Why is a new foster law being developed when one already exists?
A: UNICEF must be careful in developing a foster law. The roundtable conference in May between World Bank, UNICEF, and NGOs will address this sensitive issue and the group can decide how to proceed. I don't know why the law is being duplicated.

Q (Gula Aliyeva): How does reform cause fear in the staff of institutions?
A: They're afraid of losing their jobs so it's important to consider that in making reforms.

Q: Who are the social workers that will be trained? Wouldn't it be more efficient to begin working in the universities and training students?
A: UNICEF's focus is on workers already in the institutions. They will be trained in social work.

Q (Natasha Palubinski): Does UNICEF work with and receive input from national NGOs?
A: I don't know the answer to that, but I know UNICEF is willing to work with them.

Q (Gwen Burchell): What is the date of the roundtable?
A: Depends on schedule of WB expert who will be there.

Q (Barbara Greenwood): Can we please have an electronic copy of the presentation?
A: Yes, but it's a large file. [WV will email it to everyone.]

[Conversation about orphanage #3's needs.]

III. Natasha Palubinski hands out the copies of the complete list of signatories for the letter campaign to governmental officials, one in English and one in Azeri. Participants are encouraged to print the letter out on their organization's letterhead and send the letters to all governmental officials on the list that Natasha will send around. Natasha will follow up and make sure those organizations that are not represented today receive their copies.

IV. Barbara Greenwood leads discussion on the need for a clearly defined mission of the coalition. She distributes a handout, "Steps in the Advocacy Process" for everyone's information.

She invites agencies to volunteer to chair the meetings, provide translators, and take minutes. UAFA volunteers to provide a translator and take notes for the next meeting.

Barbara presents ideas for how to organize the meetings such as each agency taking turns giving 10-15 minutes presentations on their programs or on specific topics. Ufug volunteers to present at the next meeting, April 28. Caspian Mental Health will present on May 26. May 12 is still open.

Gwen Burchell says that we need to take some more actions and define what the coalition does. Natasha Palubinski proposes to organize a survey to find out what each agency expects or would like to get from being a member of the coalition. She will then report on the results at a following meeting.

Gwen Burchell proposes to begin inviting government officials to the meetings. A discussion leads the coalition to agree, and to decide that a Ministry of Health official should be the first to be invited due to the fact that sanatoria are currently used as orphanages. Bela Mamedova will confirm who we should invite and will call Barbara Greenwood. Gwen Burchell suggests that the invitation be sent to the official selected as well as the Minister of Health.

The next meeting is scheduled for April 28 at 16:00 at World Vision.
Agenda items should be sent to Natasha Palubinski.

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