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Caucasus: Armenia & Azerbaijan Programme Update No. 2 (Appeal No. 01.48/2002)

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The Federation’s mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world’s largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in 178 countries. For more information: www.ifrc.org
Appeal No. 01.48/2002
Appeal Target: CHF 5,911,994
Beneficiaries/target groups (if available): N/A
Programme Update No. 2; Period covered: July-November 2002; Last Programme Update (no. 1) issued 21 August 2002

IN BRIEF

Appeal coverage: 73.4%
Related Appeals: N/AOutstanding needs: Donors are encouraged to focus their support on the Federation’s 2003 appeals for Azerbaijan (no. 01.78/2003), Armenia (no. 01.77/2003) and Georgia (01.79/2003).

Operational Developments

Regional

Over the reported months, no substantive progress towards reaching an agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed Nagorno Karabakh was made. A regular visit of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairpersons (USA, France, Russia) to the region was conducted in September to exchange views on further development of the Karabakh peace process. Presidents Aliyev and Kocharian met in eastern Azerbaijan in August. This first one-to-one meeting in 2002 raised hopes that a deadlock in the peace process had been broken. At a subsequent meeting in the Moldovan capital Chisinau in October a progress was recorded towards a peace settlement. However, the long awaited breakthrough in the stalled Nagorno-Karabakh peace process is highly unlikely before presidential elections in both countries are held in 2003.

Armenia

On October 20 local elections were held in Armenia. Regardless some shortcomings and violations of the legislation pointed out by the monitors of the Council of Europe and problems with the voter lists, the elections were considered as successful. The campaign for the presidential elections scheduled for February 19, 2003 is underway in Armenia. So far ten candidates have been nominated. The draft of the strategic programme on poverty reduction was submitted to the Government of Armenia in November. It foresees a 2/3 poverty reduction in the country by 2015. The draft law which is promoted by the Vice Minister of Social Welfare determines the limits of assistance, its types, principles, as well as forms and financial sources. It foresees also cooperation between the state and public organisations. From January 1, 2003 the size of pensions will increase to total on the average 6700 drams (nearly 12 US Dollars). This is the second increase during the year of 2002.

Azerbaijan

On October 25 the Poverty Reduction Strategy Program (PRSP) was launched by the Government of Azerbaijan. This is a 5-year strategy aimed at improving the living conditions of the people in Azerbaijan where, according to the World Bank survey, over 63% are still living in relative poverty and 43% in absolute poverty. The PRSP identifies the most vulnerable groups, assesses the current situation and notes specific attention to gender issues and children. UN agencies, the World Bank, European Commission, Asian Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and major embassies in Azerbaijan are all supporters and participants in the Government’s implementation plans.

Armenia

Disaster Response

After the detailed assessment, evaluation and summary of activities of 23 Social Service Centres (SSC) throughout the first half of 2002 a decision was made to support only those Centres which were more advanced and proved to perform self-sustainable activities. The assessment included analysing the financial situation, efficiency of the services provided and the existing practices. Main emphasis was put on the centres’ ability to develop their own capacities and provide sustainable services by mobilising internal and local resources.

In August a project proposal development contest was announced among the Armenian Red Cross (ARCS) regional branches. The contest aimed at developing and presenting self-sustainable projects to support funding and ensure the provision of social services through the SSC. Prior to the contest representatives of 8 leading SSC were invited for a 3-day training, during which they were introduced to the available legislation, rules and regulations of the social welfare sphere, as well as briefed on the Project Planning process. Out of 6 proposals presented 4 were selected for the Federation funding. Each of the project received a grant ranging from CHF 1,580 to 1,700. The projects have already started in the regions and in Yerevan with trainings and initial renovation of rooms for elderly.

The second phase of distribution of second hand clothes, donated by the Swedish Red Cross, was conducted by all 23 SSC. The Social Service Centres also received a Reference Book of the Republic of Armenia Normative Legislation Acts adopted for regulation of the activities in the social sphere.

In total SSC provided various types of assistance and services, including food and second hand clothes support, medical services and medicaments, advise and consultations, to 35,825 vulnerable beneficiaries.

As a result of extensive cooperation and promotion of the SSC activities among the general public and private sector, a charity kitchen which provides hot meals to 24 elderly every Sunday, opened in Vedi community branch (Ararat Marz) with direct funding from "Vedi Alco" Ltd. in November.

The implementation phase of the Population Movement Programme started as of January 2002. Funded by the Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration at the US State Department (BPRM), the Programme has 3 components:

Within the framework of the Psycho-Social Services for Elderly Refugees project 330 elderly refugees living in the communal centres of Yerevan, Abovyan and Echmiadzin are provided with psycho-social services by direct involvement of 60 young volunteers. The project also provides regular consultations by the psychologist contracted by the ARCS. After going through a special training the volunteers pay 2 visits per week to the beneficiaries and assist them in their daily household needs, such as reading newspapers, basic shopping, sharing the main concerns, creating favourable atmosphere and enabling the beneficiaries not to feel isolated and lonely. Throughout the project implementation beneficiaries received food and hygienic parcels, newspapers, magazines, and essential medicines. 106 beneficiaries received birthday gifts and celebrated birthdays with youth volunteers.

During the reported period various charity dinners and social events were organised. The biggest event was held in the "Victory" Park, which is one of the most popular parks of Yerevan. The programme of the event included a live band concert followed by a charity dinner, various entertainments and games. The beneficiaries received food and hygienic items, donated by International Relief and Development Organisation. The event was widely covered by mass media. The project is essential in raising the public awareness towards the refugee related problems as well as conveying the message of unique friendship existing between the elderly refugees and youth volunteers.

Within the Public Awareness Component the Population Movement Department actively co-operated with relevant local and international organisations working in Yerevan such as UNHCR, IOM, OSCE, ABA/CEELI, Caritas, Armenian Young Lawyers Association, Armenian Sociological Association. The ARCS was included in a working group on counter-trafficking led by the OSCE and IOM. In addition, the PM Department was included in the Governmental Interagency Commission on Trafficking.

Based on the contract with the "Audio-visual Reporters" company, two films - "Asylum", "Refugee Women" - and one TV spot on trafficking were produced end of September. All three materials were broadcasted by the National TV. There is a preliminary agreement that the TV spot will be transmitted during one month at least twice a day. All produced video materials were distributed among the related governmental bodies, local and international organisations. The ARCS regional branches will also be provided with copies of the films and TV spot to arrange the transmission through the local TV channels in the regions. It is also planned to produce CD copies of the films and TV spot by the end of December.

Within the Skills Training Component 30 refugee women were involved in English, computer and accountancy courses, which were conducted at the International Post-Trauma Rehabilitation Centre (IPTRC). At the beginning of each training the participants were provided with appropriate text books, exercise books and stationary. The transportation costs of the participants were reimbursed. During the courses general assessment on training efficiency, evaluation of the tutors’ and students’ performance was conducted. By the end of the course weak students were offered additional classes supplemented by the tutor and the project manager. Upon the completion of each course the participants passed final exams. The final exam on accountancy and additional exams on English language and computer skills will be held during the first week of December in the ARCS HQ office. Upon successful completion of the final exams the participants will be awarded with certificates. Seven participants of the project courses have managed to find jobs and two participants continue their education in the college and university. One participant is volunteering in the PM Department.

Disaster Preparedness

The Emergency Management Department (EMD) of the ARCS continued the development and publication of DP specialised literature within the programme funded by Finnish and Norwegian Red Cross Societies. Four training booklets (12,000 copy circulation) for children written in verse were elaborated and prepared for printing in cooperation with the Crisis Management Institute. Each of the books describes a certain type of disaster. A preliminary programme was developed to elaborate a booklet on Nuclear Energy and Radiation. Additional booklets on different types of disasters such as hail, fire, landslide, earthquake and gas explosion as well as on environmental protection were printed and distributed to all Regional Branches, governmental, non-governmental and international agencies, embassies and foreign missions accredited in the country. Trainings were organised in Vayots Dzor and Synik Regions with participation of ARCS Rapid Response Team. "Children against Disaster" training was organised countrywide. In selected schools (1 school from each region and 2 schools from Yerevan) children in 4-6 grades were informed on various types of disasters the country is prone to and the basic coping mechanisms. Trainings were followed by a country-wide drawing competition "Children against Disaster", which resulted in 36 best painting exhibition. The winners were awarded with special prizes.

Land Mine Survey Impact Pilot Program was implemented in Tavush region in collaboration with RONCO Consulting Company and Ministry of Defence. EMD also continued ecological hiking activities. 4 hiking tours were organised in Aragatsotn, Kotayk and Sevan Regions with ARCS Rapid Response Team participation. The ARCS EMD works in close cooperation with the governmental, non-governmental, and international agencies. As a result the ARCS Rapid response Teams have been invited to participate in the International Simulation Exercise held on Aragats mountain. EMD representatives were invited to participate in "Disaster Management" National training assembly which was organised by UNDP, Armenia.

Humanitarian Values

All ARCS activities were largely covered by mass media. With the efforts of Information department of the ARCS HQ and under its direct coordination were published 45 press releases and 27 monthly newsletters in Yerevan and the regions. Also 73 TV broadcastings and 6 radio programmes were organised and 27 newspaper articles and 16 electronic press releases were published. Public awareness towards the ARCS main activities was enhanced through production and broadcasting of 4 video films, 2 TV spots and 48 video materials.

November 21-23 an information training was organised for the information volunteers of regional branches. In total 12 information volunteers were enrolled for the training, which was facilitated by the ARCS information department. The participants were trained on how to organise the information activities in their respective regions, built and develop intensive relationship with mass media, and techniques of information work. They were also encouraged to be proactive after the training and provide inputs for the ARCS monthly newsletter and gradually develop and publish their own newsletters.

Health and Care

The First Aid Training Methodological Training Centre organised 32 basic first aid courses with enrolment of 407 participants, out of which 331 were certified as first aiders. 12 FA teams for trainings were established. Two courses were conducted for training of trainees and referees for the FA competitions. In five regions FA competitions were held to determine the best team to participate in the 6th Open National FA Competition which was held in September. In total the Competition enrolled 300 first aiders. Observers were present from Turkey, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Germany and the USA. One-day workshop was conducted for FA responsibles of 8 Regional Branches covering the topic "First Aid Management".

Within the STI/AIDS Prevention Project supported by the Norwegian Red Cross negotiations have been conducted with appropriate experts from Narcological Centre and the STI Centre on preparation of educational materials, training programme, elaboration of visual aids (posters and slides) for the upcoming trainings. Also the list of participants and the detailed schedule of trainings to be held in the Regional Branches were prepared. Two boxes of "Genescreen" diagnostic test systems for HIV/AIDS (96 tests in each box) were purchased and provided to the haematological Centre. Two trainings on STD/HIV/AIDS/Narcology were held in ARCS training Centre in Yerevan for 65 participants, volunteers of Aragatsotn and Ararat Regional Branches. The development of an educational leaflet for youth on healthy sexual behaviour and methods of STD/HIV/AIDS prevention is underway.

Organizational Development

The funding support received from the Norwegian Red Cross made it possible to continue the Organizational Development Program. The programme covers 4 important components: Organizational Development, Regional Branches and Community Branches (RB/CB) Development, Information and Financial Restructuring.

In order to spend the limited RB/CB activity funds more efficiently, a decision was made to allocate those funds to RB projects through a competition between the branches on the best project proposal. The winner projects were the "Disabled help each other" Yerevan RB, "Development" Aragatsotn RB, "RB Development" joint programme presented by Ararat, Armavir, Vayots Dzor RBs, "Domestic Services" Lori RB. These projects are currently underway. The RBs were suggested to raise their own funds to cover other activities as well.

Within the reporting period three workshops have been conducted:

  • "Introduction of 2002 projects and the current problems of the NS" - August 22-24 for RB chairpersons and HQ staff
  • "Report system, evaluation of RB activities" - October 03-04 for RB chairpersons and HQ staff
  • "Management in Red Cross" (in two stages) - November 6-8, 10-12 HQ staff (8 persons), RB chairpersons and staff (30 persons).

An evaluation of RB/CB activities has been conducted at the end of each month. The summaries of the evaluations were shared with the Chairmen of the RBs during the regularly held monthly meetings. In October, the RB evaluation criteria were revised and a new computerised model was worked out for the evaluation of RB activities, according to the settled criteria. The HQ and RB staff completed the questionnaire on the current situation of the NS to serve as basis for SWOT-2002 analysis.

Within the framework of Financial restructuring project jointly with volunteers and chairpersons of the ARCS Regional Branches training materials were prepared for the upcoming financial trainings that were held in four Regional Branches with the enrolment of representatives of respective Community Branches. The main topics of the trainings were: "Guidelines for Accounting and Financial Procedures", "Master 1" accounting software, "Financial transactions and correspondent accounts", "Financial reporting and accounting standards of Republic of Armenia".

Within the framework of the Youth and Financial Resource development "Clean Sevan 2002", an ecological protection initiative and a youth camp were organised in August to draw the attention of the public and relevant bodies to the ecological problems of Lake Sevan. A Red Cross youth camp was set up at the shore of the lake and cleaning tours were organised. 45 volunteers from 11 Regional Branches participated in the cleaning action of the coastal area of about 40 km. Apart from cleaning, various ecological workshops and RC trainings were held for the participants. This initiative of the ARCS RCY was widely highlighted by mass media. A room has been allocated at the ARCS HQ for the establishment of a RC youth club to provide computer and language skills training, Internet café, production and sales of various items with RC emblem, etc. A seminar on "The Main Strategy of Youth Development " for 18 youth leaders of RB was conducted in Yerevan in the end of November.

Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement -- Fundamental Principles and Initiatives

The national society continued to disseminate the Fundamental Principles with its limited resources. Under the coordination of Dissemination Department dissemination officers of Regional and Community Branches carried out dissemination activities countrywide in 111 educational and non-educational institutions reaching around 23,350 people.

3092 copies of dissemination materials were distributed throughout the country. Weekly meetings for 8 dissemination officers of Yerevan Branch were held regularly at the ARCS HQ for coordination and evaluation of the activities undertaken. Jointly with the ICRC two seminars for the Dissemination officers were held. The seminars mainly aimed at improving the dissemination skills of the officers and introduction of the International Humanitarian Law and its links to the Human Rights.

Coordination and Management

The Federation Delegation in Armenia assisted the ARCS in effectively meeting the urgent humanitarian needs of vulnerable people and taking over full operational and financial responsibilities for programme implementation from the Federation. In particular, it has assisted and advised the National Society in making its programmes responsive to the local vulnerability, developing itself into a well-functioning national society, improving its profile in the country, and working together effectively. Communication has been maintained with the Federation Secretariat on the progress of relief operations, development programme and resource needs. Efforts were made to ensure that the Federation’s human, material and financial resources are efficiently and properly managed. Relations were maintained with the other Red Cross and Red Crescent partners in-country, the UN, NGOs, as well as the embassies and missions of donor governments.

Regional Cooperation

The programme implementation has been temporarily ceased due to the political situation between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Currently, the project proposal is under revision.

Outstanding needs The current funding trend covers additional two months of activity and ends February 2003. February 2003 and onwards the delegation and the NS will anticipate 2003 appeal response to ensure a proper follow up and smooth operation.

Azerbaijan

Disaster Response

Over the reported months, the Federation’s Sabirabad Field Office continued to support the Sabirabad Regional Centre of the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society (AzRC) in implementation of the four small-scale projects - ‘Meals on Wheels’, ‘Children Support Project’, ‘Women Committees’ and ‘Skills Training Centres’- within the Swedish Red Cross funded Community Development Programme in the Southern Camps.

Through regular meetings and practical training, the Federation’s and the NS’ Community Development staff continue to provide technical assistance to the Women Committees aimed at strengthening their role as the leaders for self-help activities within the community. In July 2002, the Women Committees were involved in identification of beneficiaries for the Swedish Red Cross donated "mother and baby parcels" distribution. Following the needs assessment conducted by the Women Committees in all 7 camps, a total of 1,080 IDP families were targeted within the three rounds of distribution, carried out in August-October 2002. In August and September, the Women Committees in camps C1 and C3 mobilised communities for the construction of houses for the 3 most vulnerable families identified under the ‘special assistance’ component of the programme.

According to the survey carried out by the Women Committee in C1, 40 women were identified as potential beneficiaries of the Exxon Azerbaijan (Exxon Azerbaijan Operating Company LLC) funded Agriculture Project. Participation in the Agriculture project, it is believed, would contribute to the increased self-esteem of the women in the camps while at the same time enable them to reduce their dependence on external food assistance.

The Skills Training Centres Project continues to train young people in the camps in sewing, knitting, hairdressing, shoemaking and mechanics. The skills training workshops are operated by 11 instructors. Over the reported period, a total of 19 young people in C1 and C6 graduated from different courses. In autumn, instructors and the students of the knitting, sewing and hairdressing workshops were involved in the newly established Handicrafts-Women’s Association, which aims at assisting the IDP women to organise sales exhibitions of their handmade articles. The Association was initiated by CHF, the USAID-funded NGO (USA), and held its First Conference in November 2002.

The Children Support (CSP) component continues to provide meaningful occupation for IDP children in all 7 camps and in Shukurbeyli (rehabilitated village of the Fizuli district), involving them in the out-of-school activities in four main circles: drama, fine arts, folklore and sport. Since the NS is assuming responsibility over the project, emphasis has been laid on further development of the skills and capacities of the CSP staff and volunteers. Local NGO BUTA was contracted by the Federation to deliver a 2-day training on psycho-social rehabilitation of beneficiaries suppressed by various social problems. During the sessions, the participants were trained on various tools of involving the children into the community activities/social life through different games and plays, which would contribute to the hastened psycho-social rehabilitation of children in the camps. During the summer 2002, the CSP staff and volunteers organised a number of football and boxing tournaments, where the sport circles’ attendants were competing with their peers in the camps and the vicinity. The CSP beneficiaries also successfully participated in the youth championships organised in the southern districts of the country. The winners were awarded with prizes as well as the Red Crescent diplomas. The Red Crescent volunteers involved in the folklore and drama circles in C1, assisted the NS in organising the concert and role-play shows during the ceremony linked to the 1 September - Knowledge Day and the first day of school. High ranked representatives of Exxon Azerbaijan participated in the ceremony and donated different textbooks and Encyclopaedia for 1-11 grade students in a total of 18 schools in all camps.

The donation of Exxon Azerbaijan and the Norwegian Embassy, weekly distributions of a total of 4,000 copies of the "Shakar Villasi" children newspaper to the IDP children continued in 18 schools and 6 CSP centres in the Southern Camps as well as to those in the Shukurbeily village school.

The Meals on Wheels Project continues to provide food assistance to the most vulnerable local population in the Sabirabad, Alibayramli, Fizuli and Agjabedi districts. Twice a week the volunteers of the AzRC regional centres local branches deliver hot meals to a total of 100 lone elderly in their respective districts. Following the scheduled 50% reduction of the Federation’s financial support to the project, the NS local branches have been focusing on fund-raising activities for attracting private donors to ensure continuation and self-sustainability of the project.

Under the Training to the National Society component, the Federation Sabirabad Field Office continued to focus on developing and strengthening the capacities of the Sabirabad Regional Centre and its local branches as leading community-based structures. Over the reported period, further efforts were made by the Delegation CD staff to ensure ongoing training to the RC Regional Centre CD staff and volunteers on programme and resource management. Assistance was provided to the Regional Centre by the Delegation staff in designing a model for training on Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement and its Fundamental Principles to be provided to the various community groups in the region.

The Southern Camps Agriculture project funded by Exxon Mobile Oil Company Azerbaijan continued although plans were changed owing to lack of funding as well as the government resettlement plans of the Belasuvar camps. 41 IDP families from the Sabirabad camps (205 family members) were identified and agricultural committees were created. Assistance was provided also for preparing and sowing 50 ha land for winter harvest as well as 25 ha lands for spring (2003) harvest. Technical assistance and training as well as support with irrigation and supply of inputs was provided to these beneficiaries. Previous small land holders from 2001/2002 programme were given support with irrigation of land and technical advice. Among these beneficiaries 89 young students were selected to participate in agricultural training, business administration, English class and computer training. The training sessions will start in December to continue for six months.

Rehabilitation and Repatriation (RR) Project designed to facilitate return of some 140 IDP families from the Southern Camps to their homes in the village of Alkhanli of Fizuli district is progressing smoothly. In November 2002, ANAMA1 organised an official presentation of Mine Clearance Certificates to the Federation, thus marking a completion of mine clearance activities in the areas earmarked for the construction of houses within the Alkhanli project. Over the reported months, 60 families (228 family members) were successfully repatriated to the 40 houses rehabilitated within the first round of the project. The construction of the first batch of 14 houses within the second round of 100 houses is finished, thus bringing a total number of reconstructed houses to 54. The next 14 houses to be rehabilitated within the second round of the project have been identified and preparations for the construction works (repair of the warehouse, purchase and delivery of construction materials, etc.) are being finalised.

Community Mobilisation initiative within the framework of the Federation’s operation in Fizuli continued to focus on developing a sense of community spirit and implementing a number of community based activities among the returnees in Alkhanli and Shukurbeyli2 villages. Regular community meetings have been held to identify main concerns in the villages. Community-based activities are co-ordinated through four types of community groups such as Women Committees, Agriculture Committees, Aksakal (Elderly) Committees and Youth and Children Committees.

During autumn, the Agricultural committees in Alkhanli mobilised the repatriates for planting of 50 ha of winter wheat within the framework of the STATOIL (Norwegian oil company) funded Agriculture project, while further 50 ha of land were prepared for the spring planting.

The Income Generation component of the Shukurbeyli project continued to regularly monitor the repayment of 112 loans given to the IDPs repatriated to the village. While the issue of continuation of the loan/credit scheme for repatriates is being settled, the Federation has been receiving a number of new applications for loans from the returnees. Chart 1 demonstrates loans repayment over the reporting months.

The Population Movement (PM) programme continues to develop capacities within the AzRC to implement projects aimed at providing psychological assistance and social or legal counselling to the displaced. Within the Skills Development component of the programme, the second phase of a 6-month English language and computer skills training courses was launched as of July 2002 at the AzRC HQ targeting a total of 30 young IDPs and refugees aged between 16-25 priority given to young women.

With financial assistance from the Bureau for Population and Refugee Movement (BPRM) at the US State Department, Psycho-Social Rehabilitation of IDPs project continued to support the development of various community activities such as knitting, sewing, carpet weaving and art exhibitions, covering a total of 5 IDP settlements in 6 districts of Baku area (Binagadi, Azizbekov, Yasamal, Nasimi, Absheron and Surakhani). The community centres involved in the project have been regularly provided with required supplies for their activities. Currently, the project targets 180 children and 40 women.

July 1, 2002 marked the opening of a Summer Camp in Zagulba district (Baku area) for 100 most vulnerable IDP children from the Southern Camps. The Camp hosted children in 2 fifteen-day shifts. In November, a 5-day sales exhibition of handicrafts made by the IDPs settled in Mingachevir, Barda, Agjabedi and Ganja welcomed more than 1,000 visitors in Khagani Trade Centre, Baku.

Disaster Preparedness

Financial assistance of the Governments of Sweden, Norway and Britain through their respective NS enabled the AzRC to intensify its efforts aimed at elaborating effective disaster management policy as of July 2002. A draft of the policy was presented to the AzRC Governing Board in November and will be further shared with the 7 regional centres in December. It is expected that the policy will be approved and printed in January 2003. Through continuous consultations with the government bodies and NGOs on various aspects of disaster management, progress has been made over the reported period in establishing and strengthening relationships with the State Emergency Commission, Azerbaijan Special Project Investigation, ICRC, UNDP and "Fovgal" association, a countrywide recognised local NGO providing training/consulting on disaster preparedness and disaster response. According to agreement concluded with the "Fovgal" association, 7 NS’ Mobile Volunteer Teams (MVTs) will be provided with training on Disaster Classification in Azerbaijan by February 2003. The simulation exercises, essential part of training for MVTs, are scheduled for the winter and summer 2003 and will be facilitated by "Fovgal".

Within the framework of the Disaster Management programme, further efforts were made to develop capacities and skills of the NS staff in 7 regional centres and their 83 local branches to implement local community based disaster awareness activities through information campaigns, dissemination of promotional materials and education of the local community. During July 2003, a 2-day training seminar on Participatory Appraisal Methods for Community Mobilisation was held in Baku for the NS regional centres coordinators and the Headquarters’ staff. Training focused on introduction of community development approach and methods of involving the local communities into the programme activities, which, in turn, will result in community mobilisation and participation. Over the summer months, the MVTs of the NS’ Baku and Sumgait regional centres were mobilised for implementation of a number of community-based awareness campaigns on the beaches of the Absheron peninsular (Baku and Sumgait areas) under the programme’s disaster preparedness component. The NS’ Health and First Aid divisions were closely involved in preparation and implementation of HIV/AIDS awareness and drowning prevention campaigns. In August, the Baku regional Red Crescent centre’s MVT responded to a house fire in Shamakhi district (160 km away from Baku). According to the needs assessment among the fire-affected families, the 3 most vulnerable families were identified and supplied with bed sets, blankets and household items. Through implementation of the Dutch Red Cross funded Mobile Technical Teams project in Goranboy district to be launched as of December 2002 within the bilateral cooperation agreement between the Dutch RC and the AzRC, skills and capacities of the NS’ disaster response teams will be further developed. August 21 marked the first VCA Coordination Meeting in the year 2002, which brought together the representatives of UNDP, ICRC, the Federation and AzRC. During the meeting the participants held discussions over the necessity of updating the VCA, which was conducted in 2000. Coordination training and preparation workshop with the participation of regional coordinators as well as all relevant NS HQ staff for the upcoming VCA updating started in November and continues in December and January It is expected that the VCA update will be finalised by March 2003. The first aid component of the disaster management programme continued to develop the general public’s life-saving skills through the First Aid training sessions. Over the reporting months, a total of 457 persons were trained on the first aid in Sabirabad, Sumgait, Nakhichevan and Mingechevir regions, as well as in the Southern IDP camps. Out of a total number of trained people, which includes the IDPs, the AzRC staff and volunteers, MVT members, schoolchildren, students, staff of the Caspian Steamship Company, etc., 14 trainees were awarded with the "First Aid Instructor" certificates.

Humanitarian Values

The Federation Delegation’s and the AzRC’ Information Departments continued to focus on increasing the general public’s awareness on the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement and its Fundamental Principles and humanitarian values with the financial assistance of the Norwegian Government/Norwegian Red Cross. Through regularly issued bulletins, press/news releases, factsheets and field trip facilities for journalists, the AzRC and Federation operations were extensively covered by the local and international media. During the reported months, more than 30 articles and 20 TV/radio spots covering the Red Cross/Red Crescent activities in the country were produced in the Azeri, English and Russian languages. Also, two short TV stories (12-16 min) about the AzRC/Federation programmes in the Southern Camps and Fizuli were broadcasted in a number of European and Central Asian countries through the Swedish Radiohjaelpen (Relief Fund of the Swedish Television and Broadcasting) and the Turkish STV.

A slogan and drawings on addressing stigma and discrimination developed through an art competition (8 May 2002) among some 170 young volunteers were printed on the RC promotion materials. Out of a total of 5,000 posters and calendars printed with financial support from the ICRC, some 2250 were distributed over the reported period through the NS staff and volunteers both in Azerbaijan and abroad.

October 4, 2002 marked the beginning of weekly training sessions initiated by the Federation Information Department to develop the skills of the NS Information Department staff and volunteers. Training process is designed as a long-term capacity building initiative. Further efforts were made over the past 5 months to enhance communication between the NS HQ and regional centres. 6 out of 7 computers kindly donated by Exxon Azerbaijan for providing the regional centres with e-mail connection were distributed to the regions. Installation of the network in the 3 pilot regional centres (Mingechevir, Ganja and Nakhichevan) is planned for the first quarter of the next year.

Health and Care

Over the reported period, the Federation continued to focus on strengthening the capacity of the AzRC Health Department through implementation of the Swedish Government/Swedish Red Cross funded Public Health and Care Programme. Special emphasis was laid on targeting the areas of public health which are not addressed by the government, such as health promotion and health education in the community.

Within the Southern Camps component of the programme, the AzRC Sabirabad Regional Centre’s health promoters and first aid instructors continued to focus on increasing the IDP communities’ awareness on health issues through regularly conducted health promotion tutorials in all seven camps. (For number of attendants, see Chart 2.) Weekly health education tutorials conducted by the Surakhani RC Regional Centre volunteers at the Sexually Transmitted Infection Treatment Clinic in the Ramani district of Baku area also continued over the reported months, covering a total of 342 persons. Main topics of the tutorials targeting the Clinic’s patients were STI/HIV/AIDS and Family Planning issues, while particular emphasis was made on increasing the trainees’ awareness on prevention of conventional STI (gonorrhoea, syphilis, chlamydeous, etc.). Health promotion activities implemented by the NS in the Darnagul IDPs settlement (Baku are) mainly focused on reproductive health and family planning issues. In September, 12 health promoters (IDP women) were identified and trained on the above-mentioned issues by invited experts from the Pathfinder International. The trained health promoters will further disseminate the information in their community weekly during the coming four months.

Financial support of the Swedish RC made it possible to continue and expand the HIV/AIDS Peer Education project, which started in August 2001 as a 5-month pilot initiative in Baku Metropolitan area. A 3-day training course on HIV/AIDS issues was delivered by "IHLAS" (local NGO) to 12 young volunteers from the 6 Red Crescent regional centres. Over the reported months, ‘Teenager to Teenager about HIV/AIDS’ training was delivered by the AzRC volunteers/peer-educators in orphanages, schools and universities of Baku, Mingechevir, Nakhichevan and Lenkaran regions, covering a total of 361 young men/women. Also, the peer educators were involved in the training sessions targeting the staff and volunteers of the NS, including the members of the MVTs. Participation in a five-day training on Community Mobilisation Against AIDS facilitated by UNAIDS Baku office, enabled to develop the skills of the AzRC health and youth and volunteers departments’ staff.

Organizational Development

The Norwegian RC and Swedish RC funded Organizational Development Programme designed to support the development of AzRC as a well functioning national society, continues to focus on capacity building activities with a particular emphasis on improving the financial management system, increasing competence and skills of the AzRC Regional Centres and Headquarters staff in programme and resource management, improving the NS fund-raising skills, and establishing good governance practices within the AzRC leadership.

Within the framework of the bilateral cooperation agreement with the Norwegian Red Cross, the AzRC Secretary General started his 10-month on-job training mission in the Norwegian Red Cross as of October 2002, which is designed to contribute to the AzRC overall capacity development process Under the skills development component of the organisational development programme, a 6-month Swedish Red Cross funded English language course was launched in September 2002 targeting some 16 senior management staff of the AzRC headquarters. A 2-day training session (19-20 September) on reporting issues facilitated by the Federation Reporting Department, targeted the NS senior management staff and contributed to improving the NS reporting system.

A process of reviewing the current Statutes of AzRC and finalising the draft Law on the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society is ongoing. Following the recommendations of the Federation Legal Advisor, who visited the AzRC headquarters in September, some minor amendments to the concerned documents were made by the AzRC Working Group on the Statutes, and submitted to the relevant structures of the NS for consideration.

Through implementation of the British Red Cross funded Financial Management Project further efforts were made to improve timeliness, quality and transparency of financial management within the AzRC. During the reported months, appropriate computer software was installed in the AzRC Baku and Sabirabad regional centres, and 10-hour training on use of the computerised accounting system was provided to the chief accountants of the above-mentioned regional centres. The next phase within the framework of the project envisage further improvement of financial recording and budgetary control systems of the NS through installation and application of the software in the other five AzRC regional centres.

Income Generating component continued to focus on various fund-raising activities aimed at reducing the NS’s dependence on external financial assistance. Thus, a number of small-scale business plans were developed and submitted to various local and international donors and institutions operating in the country. During the reported period, small funds were allocated by IREX (USAID-funded NGO) in response to the project proposals on creating the AzRC web page.

The Youth and Volunteers programme continued to develop capacities and skills of the AzRC staff in the HQ and regional centres through a series of training sessions on Leadership, Work Plan for a Volunteer, Tools for Attracting the Volunteers and Mobilisation of Volunteers. Progress was made in improving the management of volunteers that are actively participating in the service programmes implemented by ARC’ Youth and Volunteers. Among other activities, the volunteers were mobilised to assist the NS in organising a two-week Norwegian Royal Embassy and Norwegian Red Cross funded Summer camp (19 - 26th of July 2002) for a total of 60 youth volunteers from Nakhichevan, Sumgait and Lankaran. Red Crescent Youth coordinators from the 7 regional centres and 2 facilitators from Baku participated. Over the reported period, the NS youth department mobilised the volunteers for various activities such as delivering the food parcels for lone elderly in Baku suburbs, participation in the ‘Youth Against Terrorism’ campaign linked to the anniversary of September 11 and preparation for the World’s AIDS Day, etc. 8 most active young volunteers of the NS were identified and sent to the yearly summer camp hosted by the Turkish Red Crescent. On November 24, 2002 the NS Youth Department held a large-scale training meeting for 100 volunteers on the HIV/AIDS awareness campaign for the World’s AIDS Day. Meeting was facilitated by the 2 new volunteers Youth Delegates from the Norwegian Red Cross, which joined the AzRC within the Youth Exchange component of the aforementioned bilateral cooperation agreement.

Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement -- Fundamental Principles and Initiatives

More than 750 volunteers and members of the AzRC were addressed during the reported months with a total of 44 seminars and training sessions on the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, humanitarian values and the Movement’s Fundamental Principles in Baku, Nakhichevan, Sumgait and Sabirabad regions. Further efforts were put on increasing general public’s awareness of the Movement and its Fundamental Principles through briefings and presentations during various meetings, 57 in total, facilitated by NGOs, government agencies, schools and universities. The NS regional centres’ staff conducted training sessions on the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, its components, history, Geneva Conventions, Fundamental Principles, AzRC, its structure, volunteers, membership etc. for the HIV/AIDS peer educators and MVTs in all regions, the Women Committees the Children Support Project beneficiaries in the Southern Camps and Fizuli. Dissemination activities of the NS ensured the increased number of volunteers involved in the activities of the AzRC to the benefit of the most vulnerable.

Coordination and Management

The Federation Delegation has assisted the AzRC in carrying out the programmes aimed at assisting the vulnerable people in the country. The gradual hand over of the programme implementation to the NS is ongoing. The Federation has been providing legal assistance to the AzRC to improve the NS Statutes as well as advice on a local Red Crescent law that has to be passed by the Parliament of Azerbaijan. The Federation Delegation has maintained regular contacts with the Secretariat to ensure smooth implementation of the programmes in the country as well as continuously participated in Inter Agency meetings and other relevant events in Azerbaijan in order to undertake activities in a co-ordinated manner with other organisations working within the country. Meetings with government officials have taken place where the Federation work, change strategy and support to the NS has been promoted and emphasised.

Outstanding needs

The funding requested in the appeal 2002/3 has not been met and consequently activities planned for this year have started late or been postponed until next year. Further regional cooperation has been limited but with newly established Federation regional office it is foreseen that improved and increased activities within health/care, disaster response as well as advocacy will take place in the year 2003. For further details please contact: Sylvie Chevalley, Desk Officer for Turkey and the Southern Caucasus, Phone : 41 22 730 42 76 ; Fax: 41 22 733 03 95; email: sylvie.chevalley@ifrc.org All International Federation Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

Footnote:

1 Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Actions

2 Another rehabilitated village of the Fizuli district, where the Federation repatriated more than 900 people by the end of 2001.

For further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access

the Federation website at http://www.ifrc.org.

Lynette Lowndes
Head
Europe Department

John Horekens
Director
External Relations Division

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