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 Report - DRC - Activity Report (January - February 1998) (DRC)

 Report date: 31.01.1998

NEW ACTIVITIES

In the beginning of this year Danish Refugee Council (DRC) became an UNHCR implementing partner of the project titled Preparation for Peace and Return. The project is targeting internally displaced persons (IDPs) from mainly the Fizuli area. They are offered skills development courses in the fields of construction and community service. These courses will be implemented on two technical schools, one in Sabirabad and the other in Saatli. These schools have been selected in co-operation with The Ministry of Education after an assessment tour of three technical schools situated in Baku and the two before mentioned. The idea behind the programme is to enable the IDPs to rebuild their areas upon return and service their immediate community needs.

Linked with this first step of the project is a smaller information and income generation component, which you will hear more about in the next newsletter.

DRC has signed contracts with the technical schools in question, met with the respective Executive Committees and their representatives in the camps in the area. The project has been warmly accepted by the authorities and we are looking forward to an active and fruitful year.

For the implementation DRC has welcomed two new staff members one Azeri engineer and one Danish engineer.

ADMINISTRATION

In February DRC had the pleasure of welcoming Pernille Tind. Pernille is our new social co-ordinator and is taking over from Shanna Jensen. Pernille is an engineer and has previously worked for a shorter time in Bosnia. We wish Pernille a happy year in Azerbaijan and good luck too with her work.

Welcoming Pernille also means saying good-bye to Shanna. DRC wants to express our sincere thanks for your efforts here – I know you will be missed by many, not least for your warm heart and respect for the people of this country. You are a hard worker Shanna, and rest assured that your efforts have made a difference in many peoples’ lives. We wish you the very best with your new life in Denmark.

In the middle of March we moved to new office premises five minutes from city centre. Our new address is:

Gurban Abbasov 16
P.O.Box 174 DRC 370 000 Baku
Tel: 99 4 12 91 44 04
99 4 12 97 46 05
Fax: 99 4 12 91 12 88

We are still in the process of settling in and are looking forward to seeing friends and colleagues here for our opening reception on Friday 27 March.

Social Services

Evaluation report has been carried out in 4 of the community centres, where 25 – 30 users have been interviewed. Most of the interviewed IDPs recognise the centres as a good place to go and reduce stress, to get moral support, and to acquire new skills.

Both children’ s books and magazines have been distributed along with UNHCR donated seeds, quilts, and sweaters.

Memorial ceremony on the year day of the "Hodrallji Massacre" was held in Narimanov and Technical School No. 3

Total number of beneficiaries Jan/ Feb amounts to:

Narimanov 2132
"New" Tagiyev 475
Trest 1045
Tec. School No. 3 401
Salyan 60
Ali Bayramli 25
"Zangilan School" 207

Planned new Centres:

Repair started at Technical School No. 4 and in "Old Tagiyev" – Cosmonavtica.

Skills Development

186 students have participated in the various courses these months, 34 have finished their courses with good results.

In order to involve and activate the teachers more a Teachers’ Evaluation Form has been introduced, where they have to report on each participant’ s progress and performance.

Skills development centre in New Tagiyev

has almost finished the repair work.

Income Generating

A new round of applications has been carried out. There has been a huge interest with 740 applications from Sumgait and part of Tagiyev.

The fields of interest vary tremendously; however, 239 applications have been received for sewing, carpet, and knitting activities; and 110 applications within the area of carpentry and car service, and some 84 applicants want to make sweets.

As a result of the huge amount of applications we have received we have started developing a database. The database will be an information-search programme set up so the users can get detailed information about the DRC activities.

Registration, and screening are done together with UMID HSSC and are proceeding well.

All old projects have been audited and monitored once or twice a month.

No new projects have been started.

For the last couple of months the income generation activities have attracted a large number of visitors who have wanted to learn from the Danish experiences. Among the visitors have been: UNDP, IRC, NRC Azerbaijan, and NRC Geogia, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, the Danish representative from the OSCE mission, and Sumgait Executive Committee

Capacity Building

The Training Centre in Sumgait is running well with attended English classes with some 10 participants in each class; and computer classes which are more popular with averagely 15 participants per class. The users of the centre are local NGOs with a profile similar to that of DRC.

The English courses for the members of the Working group under the Republican Commission have been extended to the end of March.

The co-operation with the children magazine UMID is on-going and the NGO has issued a new number. DRC was present at the publishing event, which was marked by a reception. From this number onwards DRC will receive 100 copies for distribution at our community centres.

Since July 1997 DRC has co-operated with the organisation UMID HSSC. It was with great happiness that we celebrated the official registration of this NGO which is now called UMID 98 HSSC. Future co-operation between UMID 98 HSSC and DRC is based on a partnership agreement, the main joint activity is income generating activities.

DRC is supporting this NGO with extensive English and computer courses and organisational development assistance.

During the last two months two small workshops on capacity building has been carried out for the DRC staff followed up by practical organisational assistance activities on a daily basis. This exercise is on-going and is expected to be enlarged if possible

At the moment an intensive computer course is running tailored to individual needs among the staff. In April a similar individually tailored English course will be carried out before we return to all staff and partner training activities

Finally let me thank you all for the warm welcome you have given me upon my arrival in Azerbaijan. I am looking forward to a prosperous year with a fruitful co-operation.

Ulla Fomsgaard
Project Manager
Danish Refugee Council
Azerbaijan


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