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 Press release date: 14.05.2000


Azeri womens involvement in the democratic processes occurring in the country is becoming more obvious day by day. Not only do they represent the countrys interests on the international arena but also on a local level. First elections to womens committee held in Southern Camps of Azerbaijan are a vivid example of awakening of womens consciousness.

Everyone can admit that Azeri women living in the camps have a unique ability to remain stoic now matter how difficult it is. They put a lot of efforts to set their husbands minds at ease, continue to feed their children with limited amount of food, and keep their houses that are not intended to live in clean and warm, that is to lead their routine life as if nothing has happened. Moreover, they are attempting to identify and solve their problems with a helping hand of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Encouraged by Arja Nykanen, Community Development Delegate at the Sub Delegation in Sabirabad, and Lisa Natoli, Public Health Delegate, the women have held the first series of elections to womens committee. The elections were quite tough. Minimum of eleven women had to be elected out of tens willing to participate. The fact speaks for itself. The women are eager to make an effort and change their lives.

The committee members are chosen, the date of the first meeting is scheduled, and the venue is named. The women gathered for their first meeting look really smart. One of them has brought a white tablecloth to cover a table full of cracks. Another one has shown up with a bouquet of wildflowers. This tells how excited and enthusiastic the women are about the opportunity to speak out about their problems and be heard. The meeting is taking place in a new social activity center that stands out from mud houses it is surrounded by. The centers in Southern Camps have been constructed by the Federation thanks to donations made by American oil company Exxon.

The Womens Committees main mission is to represent the women living in the camps and advocates the issues that are important to them. The problems worry them dont differ greatly from the worries other women of Azerbaijan have - the water supply, a constant access to the drinking water, the availability of kindergartens. The aim of the Delegates working closely with the womens committees is to make local authority officials realize that womens concerns are worth taking into consideration. The delegates are full of confidence that the goal will be reached no matter how arduous it might be.

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