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
||Caspian Mental Health Association
||Caspian Mental Health Association
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
- 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
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