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 Press release - Eurasia Foundation Approves Over $224,661 in Grants for Azerbaijan (EF)

 Press release date: 19.11.2003


EURASIA FOUNDATION APPROVES OVER $224,661 IN GRANTS FOR AZERBAIJAN

Baku, Azerbaijan - The Eurasia Foundation's Baku Advisory Board has recommended $224,661 for eight new grants to organizations in Azerbaijan to promote development of private enterprise, civil society and public administration and policy.

Private Sector Development

"Inkishaf" Scientific Center $31,198
To support the restoration and rebirth of the production of silk and silk goods as a profitable traditional business in the northwest region of Azerbaijan. Project activities include trainings in Sheki, Basgal, Gebele and Ismailli in all stages of silk production and publication of a teaching aid on sericulture. Creation of a web site on Azerbaijani silk, organization of an exhibition and informational campaign will facilitate promotion of this viable business. The project will increase the skills of silk producers, lead to a rebirth of the traditions of silk production and result in the creation of new jobs.

"ABD" - Azerbaijan Agency for Business Development $34,988
To introduce leasing as a business practice and to support the development of leasing as a mechanism to stimulate and promote the development of small and medium businesses. The project will prepare specialists on leasing operations by conducting round tables, sponsoring training sessions and distributing practical information on leasing. At the end of the project one business will be selected via a competition to lease equipment provided by the grantee from its own resources.

"Agroproyekt" Ltd. $29,188
To increase the effectiveness and productivity of the agricultural sector in the country's arid zones through the introduction of drip irrigation. The project will study alternative methods of drip irrigation and will design a model system that is optimized to local climactic conditions. This model will be introduced and tested at a selected experimental site. A documentary film featuring the application of the method will be created and distributed among regional farmers, who will also receive training and all the technical documents to allow them to introduce an optimized drip irrigation system on their farms.

Civil Society Development

International Commercial Arbitration $34,721
To support the use of arbitration as a realistic alternative to the state court system for solving civil and commercial disputes. Through a series of discussions involving judges, lawyers and government, NGO and business representatives, the project will develop "A Code of Ethics for Arbitrators" and discuss how the "Regulations of the Arbitration Court" can be applied domestically. To increase awareness of the availability of arbitration, the final version of the regulations will be published and distributed to potential applicants. Thirty-three lawyers will be trained as arbitrators so that sufficient expertise exists to conduct arbitration.

The project was developed with the great support of McDermott Caspian Contractors, Inc and ABA CEELI in Baku. Experts from the both organizations will continue providing their technical advice in the implementation of this joint effort.

"Yeni Nesil" Union of Journalists of Azerbaijan $34,940
To support the establishment of a Mass Media Taxation and Accounting Center that will define and resolve taxation and accounting problems in mass media organizations. The project will also provide training to help mass media financial and taxation specialists understand modern accounting techniques and the recent changes to local tax laws and publish and distribute a manual entitled "Mass Media and the Tax Law." Through improved awareness of financial requirements, mass media organizations will be better equipped to avoid government harassment caused by their misunderstanding of the tax code and accounting rules.

Society of Women of Azerbaijan for Peace and Democracy in the Transcaucasus $21,100
To support the increase of women's awareness of their civil, legal and human rights using educational documentary films. A series of 10-12 minute TV shows will be produced, dramatizing real life situations on seven topics, including trafficking, family violence and the division of marital property. Based on actual incidents, the films will demonstrate specific abuses of civil, legal and human rights and conclude with information on assistance that is available to victims. The shows will be broadcast weekly over a two-month period on one national and eight regional TV channels, providing wide coverage of these critical issues.

Public Administration and Policy

Center of Civil Initiatives $9,215
To support strengthening and improving the financial and accounting practices of municipalities. The project will prepare a complete training course for municipal accountants, including a comprehensive curriculum and a new textbook and educational materials. After conducting training for 30 municipal accountants and discussing with them suggested changes to the present state accounting procedures, the organization will develop and present recommendations to the appropriate government agencies on the introduction of a new account category for municipalities in the state accounting system. As a result of the project the conditions will be created for the adaptation of uniform accounting standards for municipalities.

Social-Strategic Investigations and Analytical Research Society $29,311
To support the development of practical recommendations for determining methods and techniques to increase the effectiveness of municipalities. The project will examine existing data on municipalities' activities in order to formulate a valid sample population and then conduct a statistically relevant survey of municipal council members and citizens. Based on a thorough analysis of the information, a comprehensive manual with recommendations for improving the quality of municipalities' performance and increasing their effectiveness will be prepared. The manual will be distributed to municipalities, parliament members and other appropriate government organizations that are responsible for existing laws and regulations on municipalities.

About the Eurasia Foundation

Privately managed with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development and other sponsors, we have made more than 6,500 grants totaling approximately $130 million to support democratic and economic reform in 12 countries of the former Soviet Union since 1993. In Azerbaijan, we have awarded more than $4 million in grants to advance local initiatives in civil society, private enterprise, and public administration and policy. Please visit www.eurasia.org and www.efazerbaijan.org



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