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

 Report date: 30.09.1997

No. 4
News and information affecting development of the Third Sector in Azerbaijan

On September 19, Canadian Ambassador Michael Mace met with local NGOs at the ISAR-Azerbaijan NGO Resource Center in Baku. The meeting was arranged to view the progress of NGO projects supported through the Canadian Cooperation Fund. Leaders of the organizations SIGMA and INAM-Center for Pluralism gave presentations and answered questions about their projects, and ISAR-Azerbaijan representatives briefed the Ambassador on the status of the Azerbaijani Third Sector. According to Amb. Mace, the Canadian government supports projects of Azerbaijani NGOs which work to smooth the transition to a market economy and consolidation of democratic institutions. The Canadian Embassy also helped establish the ISAR-Azerbaijan Resource Center, which provides training and information services to NGOs.
 
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In early October, ISAR Executive Director Eliza Klose and Board Chair Irmgard Hunt visited ISAR offices in Azerbaijan and Georgia to evaluate the development of indigenous NGO sectors in the Caucasus. In Baku, Mrs. Klose and Hunt participated in roundtable discussions with representatives of 10 NGOs, and visited the office of the organization Zorge-Care of Children. Mrs. Klose was impressed with Zorge’s comprehensive project (supported by ISAR-Azerbaijan) to confront the problem of nitrogen poisoning and its effects on the healthy development of children on the Apsheron peninsula. Mrs. Klose has worked for many years to promote environmental and social grassroots initiatives in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Mrs. Hunt briefed the ISAR-Azerbaijan staff on the use of the Virtual Foundation, which would enable Azerbaijani NGOs to post their proposals for small projects on an Internet website for fundraising purposes.
 
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Seven local NGOs participated in an intensive Financial Management training workshop conducted by ISAR-Azerbaijan on October 3. The sessions covered cash management, expenses documentation, financial reporting, and basic budgeting. According to Grant Coordinator Lala Akhmedova, this workshop prepares NGOs for the type of financial reporting required by ISAR-Azerbaijan and other international donor organizations. Participants in this workshop included Sodruzhestvo, Chirag-Gala, Charitable Fund of Youth and Children, ADIAR, Ecological Association "Caucasus," Association of Hemophilia Afflicted, and INAM- Research of Business Ethics. ISAR-Azerbaijan also regularly conducts training courses in strategic planning, proposal-writing, fundraising, and public relations.
 
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Representatives of the TACIS "Raising Environmental Awareness" program met with several representatives of Azerbaijani environmental organizations at the ISAR-Azerbaijan Resource Center on October 25. Caucasus Coordinator Waltraud Gehrig explained that the objective of this meeting was to begin planning for a day-long ecological festival to be held in Baku in June 1998. This project will involve local NGOs in planning and implementation, and is expected to draw support from international organizations and businesses. TACIS has helped coordinate similar festivals in Russia, which were effective in raising the awareness of ecological issues, while supporting the development of indigenous NGOs and promoting business-government-NGO sector cooperation. The Baku festival will coincide with similar celebrations in Georgia and Armenia. All interested parties are encouraged to contact local representative Enver Safarzade (95-83-68) for more information.
 
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Mr. Nev Jefferies, Director of the British Charity Know-How Fund met with representatives of three NGOs in Ganja on October 20. This meeting was organized by ISAR-Azerbaijan and the Ganja NGO Tomris. Tomris Director Ismail Veliyev was pleased that Mr. Jefferies expressed such an interest in supporting NGOs outside of Baku, which tend to be overlooked by international funders. In Baku, Mr Jefferies met with over 20 local NGOs in order to help focus plans for a CKH program in Azerbaijan. Although CKH will not have an Azerbaijan representative, it will announce a program by year’s end to support East-West links between Caucasian NGOs and British and European organizations, and will work closely with ISAR-Azerbaijan to develop further programs as needed. CKH works in the countries of Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States
 
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For contact information on any of the above mentioned organizations, or for details about ISAR-Azerbaijan’s training program, 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.


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