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 Report - News and information on development of the Third Sector in Azerbaijan (ISAR)

 Report date: 30.11.1997

News and information on development of the Third Sector in Azerbaijan

In this issue:

  • Training Program Begins Regional Outreach in Ganja
  • Proposal-writing Workshops Help to build NGO Skills
  • Transcaucasus Environmental NGO Conference in Tbilisi
  • Stimulation of Youth NGOs Through Training Retreat
  • NGO Activities Supported by ISAR-Azerbaijan Grants

Training Program Begins Regional Outreach

On November 6-7, 1997, ISAR-Azerbaijan trainers presented a two-day "NGOs Management Development" course for NGO representatives in Ganja. Eight representatives of local NGOs and initiative organizations participated in the training, which was specifically designed to meet the needs of these regional groups with strategic planning and proposal-writing sessions. According to the NGO Tomris' Ismail Veliyev, there is a great potential for development of local NGOs and civic initiatives in Ganja, but there has historically been serious lack of information and support to groups working outside of Baku. ISAR-Azerbaijan Trainer Telman Yolchiyev believes this training was an important first step toward working with regional groups, and is hopeful that future training courses will help stimulate a new generation of initiative organizations outside of Baku. To facilitate these efforts, ISAR-Azerbaijan has hired a regional contact person to represent ISAR's training and small grants activities in Ganja.

Project-writing Workshops

In cooperation with the Open Society Institute-Azerbaijan, ISAR-Azerbaijan trainers provided a two-day training workshop in proposal-writing for grant finalists of the OSI small grants program on November 11-12.Eghteen NGO participants attended the sessions, which included practical activities and lectures. OSI Education Coordinator Gasan Husseynov says the workshop helped to improve the overall quality of project applications submitted to OSI.

Transcaucasus Environmental Conference

On December 11-12 in Tbilisi, with the assistance of ISAR-Azerbaijan, the Eurasia Foundation and the Environmental Public Advocacy Center, ISAR-Georgia hosted a needs assessment training conference for environmental NGOs representing Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Twenty-one participants were involved with the conference, which followed country-specific needs assessments held in November. The objective of the conference was to define the major regional environmental problems, identify the existing resources and the capabilities within the environmental NGO sector, and to define future cooperative plans for environmental NGOs. This was the first such meetings among NGOs of these three Caucasus countries, and it is hoped that the conferences will lead to improved communication channels and ideally, joint projects which address certain ecological threats common to all three countries. A detailed report of the findings of the conference will be available in ISAR-Azerbaijan's office in early February.

Stimulation of Youth NGOs

In order to increase the awareness of the NGO sector among young adults and to stimulate the establishment of initiative organizations, ISAR-Azerbaijan hosted a training retreat for youth NGOs and initiative groups on Dec. 20-21 in Zagulba, Azerbaijan. This retreat was a joint effort of the ISAR-Azerbaijan Training Program and two local NGOs, the Azerbaijan Medical Students Association and Youth Association and "Elitar". ISAR-Azerbaijan trainers and leaders of these two NGOs organized and conducted the training, which included twelve hours of sessions covering the following topics: the role of the NGO in society, the organizational mission statement, elements project proposal, and effective communications with international donors. A total of 30 young NGO leaders representing 18 different NGOs participated in the seminar.

NGO Activities

With initial support from ISAR-Azerbaijan, the Association of Hemophilia Afflicted is working to provide support to hemophilia sufferers in Baku and Sumgait. The organizations main goal is to ease the suffering of this often over looked group through public awareness, education, and direct medical assistance programs. Within the scope of this project, the association developed a database of hemophiliacs and administered a survey, which was used to assess medical needs and categorize disability level. The group also developed educational brochures, which it printed in Azerbaijan and distributed to physicians and patients. At the completion of the project, this new NGO held a press conference to publicize its activities to the international and local community. Currently, the Association is preparing a proposal for the Parliament, which would include hemophiliacs in legislation concerning the disabled and social services.

Beginning in November, Kavkaz Ecological Center conducted a beach cleanup and environmental education project with students of the Khatain region of Baku. This region is known as "Black City," as it is home to a large number of factories and oil related industries. Kavkaz worked with volunteers from a local school to conduct cleanup activities, and later to sample and analyze water and sand along the shore of the Caspian. This represents the first attempt by NGO to conduct independent environmental monitoring in Azerbaijan. Upon completion of the monitoring, Kavkaz will hold lectures in a local high school to explain the project and its results, and will produce the report of the findings for later publication.

On December 19,1998, members of Society Chirag Gala held a sports and music exhibition at an orphanage in Siazan. Funded by an ISAR-Azerbaijan small grant, this group held two months of classes in gymnastics, soccer, arts and music, for students of this regional orphanage. A sports competition, art display, and a music concert of national instruments highlighted the children’s talent to the community. As the only known NGO working in Siazan, Chirag Gala works to identify projects witch will improve the lives of the most vulnerable members of the community.

The Center for Research of Business Ethics "Inam" recently organized and conducted a project to provide vocational rehabilitation training to refugees and IDP s in the Mardakan and Shubelian regions of Baku. Inam first developed a statistical database of approximately 700 refugees and IDPs living in dormitories and sanatoriums in the targeted regions. Based on this information, this NGO designed a training course in basic business management and marketing to assist trainees in improving their job skills, which was held on December 23-26, 1997, in Baku. This project was financed by an ISAR-Azerbaijan small grant.

The NGO Sodruzhestvo conducted an ecological public awareness campaign and neighborhood cleanup project in the Yeni Yasamali region of Baku. The project targeted schoolchildren and their parents, highlighting the affects of pollution on the local environment and population. Throughout November and December, the organization distributed brochures and held lectures in local schools, and helped organize a cleanup project.

From October to December, two local NGOs, The Charitable Foundation of Youth and Children and Association of Invalids of "Design", each held three months of regular courses in computers and English, for disabled children and adults, and children of refugees. These separate projects were financed by ISAR-Azerbaijan small grants, and worked with people in two different microregions of Baku.

Beginning in January 1998, ISAR-Azerbaijan will resume its regular, monthly "NGO Management and Development" training course. The course consists of a total 45 hours of sessions in the following topics: What is an NGO? Strategic Planning, Proposal-writing, Fundraising, and Public Relations. Interested representatives of NGOs and initiative organizations are invited to contact Training Coordinator Telman Yolchiyev for a current schedule and enrollment information.

For contact information on any of the above mentioned organizations, or for details about ISAR-Azerbaijan’s small grants or training programs, please contact ISAR-Azerbaijan at 97-30-68 or 95-83-68.

ISAR-Azerbaijan is a U.S. organization which supports the development of NGOs and civic initiatives in Azerbaijan, through training, small grants and information outreach programs. ISAR-Azerbaijan thanks the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for its continuing support. ISAR-Azerbaijan has also received funding support from Save the Children and the Canadian Cooperation Fund. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of ISAR-Azerbaijan or USAID. 


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