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 Report - DRC - Monthly Report (May 1998) (DRC)

 Report date: 30.04.1998

Activity Report UNHCR Project (98/CS/AZE/LS/470(ID)

INTRODUCTION

For a detailed description of each programme area please see the attached status paper, plans of implementation for each area, and budget.

NGO SECTOR

In the past month DRC has held a number of meetings with the following organisations;

Norwegian Refugee Council. A general project orientation reveals that this organisation is planning a major impact in Azerbaijan. The interventions encompass:

Psycho/social activities with BUTA in the southern camps as a continuation of the activities start6ed in 95 – 96.

Public building rehabilitation in Baku and Aphseron in 12 – 15 buildings with the support of two additional, Norwegian expatriates

Micro credit programmes and community mobilization in the above mentioned buildings. The micro credit programmes will be implemented according to the Grameen bank model.

Human rights education from grade 1-9 in all schools of Azerbaijan following a handbook developed by ‘The Scandinavian Team". The objectives will be to get human rights into the curricula through a training of trainers effort.

DRC and NRC will start regular programme meetings, meeting every month to constructively see where our activities can support each other. Likewise we will visit some local NGOs together.

Equilibre, a French organisation has visited DRC after recommendation from their filed staff. The meeting was very succesful nd promising. It seems that the two organisations and their staff are likeminded both in visions and approaches and are willing to share factual experiences and doubts. It has been agreed to hold regular meetings about the topic: how to make community centres sustainable, impact of ToT activities, comparision between our two approaches. Both field staff and office staff are to participate in these meetings.

World Vision a meeting has been held to cooperate our efforts in Sumgait. At their physical rehabilitation programmes some DRC trainees will be involved just as DRC workshop activities from the skills development programme will be incorporated.

The Federation came with a group of key IDP persons from camp no. 7 as a warm up exercise for our UNHCR funded activities in the camp. Study tours are seen as have mobilising potential both for those who see for themselves and visit, but also for those who have to explain and share experiences. At a later stage it will be determined whether a re-visit will be fruitful or a possible exchange of "masters".

INSAN has been identified as a sleeping partner, who is interested in funding and a little networking. It is clear that they do not have the interst nor the voluntary resources to enter the DRC community service programme, and by and large does not have a great interest in sharing experiences with DRC staff and use the house and communication facilities. They have been offered support for the upcoming Geneva Conference. DRC is awaiting their response.

Hayat has also been identified as a sleeping partner, who is interested in funding and sharing of information.

UMID Children’s Magazine has held several meetings with DRC. Their co-ordinator is enrolled in the DRC training activities, and the organisation uses the DRC house and facilities for their work.

UMID HSSC Has regularly weekly meetings with both project manager and social co-ordinator. Last month’ s work concentrated on the preparation of two project proposal: one for the DRC revolving fund, and the other for a UNHCR funded capacity building project. The organisation is in the process of gathering information and is receiving active support in writing the proposals and setting up the budgets. The process is seen as a learning process from both parties involved and thus include various sessions on organisational development.

In May a sub regional conference has held in Baku on Women’ s Rights are Human Rights. Please for your information find attached to this monthly report the programme and comments and observations written by the project manager.

At DRC the conference gave rise to a fruitful discussion at a staff meeting, where two local staff members gave report from the conference. Due to the ensuing discussion the staff has wished to follow up on the topic for the annual staff summer seminar.

ADMINISTRATION

On Sunday 24 May DRC participated in a Charity Concert given by American Voices at the German Church in Baku. The concert was well attended mainly by locals, some DRC staff members also attended. The concert brought $ 460 total.

The staff has two new staff members partly a new expatriate for the UNHCR project, and partly a new interpreter for the same project. Both persons are well integrated in the programme and staff already after a short and on-the-job-training introduction of one week.

The bi-annual staff and personal interviews have started along with a revision of job descriptions.

Ulla Fomsgaard
Project manager
Baku 28.5.1998

UNHCR PROJECT (98/CS/AZE/LS/470(ID) (top)

1. Project Overview

The entire programme has now started up in all three locations with courses running in all fields at the two technical schools, and the initial selection of teachers and masters have been carried out in camp 7.

Good opening relations have been established with the local authorities be it the representatives from The Ministry of Education at the schools or the Executive Committees and their representative in the camps.

Good co-operating working relationship is well established with The International Federation around the implementation in camp 7.

Initial co-operation with Equilibre has been established in order to share and compare our experiences and thereby learn from each others’ work. Regular meetings including field staff will be held.

From the outset of the community service courses it has been decided to run double courses in this field due to the interest shown from both the participants and the implementers and authorities. This means that not 24 but 48 persons will go through these courses.

The community service field in the technical schools is a new field for the Azeri system. The curriculum has not been tried out, and the schools are inexperienced as to the implementation of these courses. The more interesting it has been to co-operate with first the ministry/ methodological cabinet and later the actual schools trying to find a compromise suitable for all parties i.e. the donor, the schools, and the needs of the participants. The process is on-going and is coming up with some positive results where both the outcome and the actual process are looked upon as project objectives.

A concrete outcome of this process is describes under the paragraph "implementation procedures"

2. DESCRIPTION OF THE BENEFICIARIES

Selection of masters and teachers in camp 7 is carried out and preparation for their Training of Trainers courses has started.

All courses in the technical schools have maximum12 students in each field due to partly the methodological aspect of the project, partly to the emphasis on "quality of work" which is being emphasised. Many of the participants do know some of the skills which are being taught; however, very few of them are familiar with good quality craftsmanship and high quality work.

There is a good interest in all fields and especially the Sabirabad Technical School seems able to provide a creative and innovative attitude for solving the immediate problems facing the community.

The transport problem facing the participants from camp 2 and 3 has been solved. A lorry has been hired to go twice a day, and a contract has been signed with the driver.

3. IMPLEMENTATION PROCEDURES

As a warm up exercise and mobilising activity selected key persons from camp 7 have visited the DRC programme in Sumgait. The focus on learning practical skills in the UNHCR project is mirrored in the programme for the Sumgait visit. The group visited a community centre in order for them to see for themselves what a community centre is and can be used for. Furthermore they visited a number of income generating activities such as candle production, preservation of fruit and vegetables, soap production, macaroni production, iron net production, and hairdressing. At the evaluation and de-briefing it became clear that "seeing is better than hearing" as it was stated. As for generating ideas and inspiration the community centre idea caught on, as did the soap and candle production (which can be incorporated into the community service curriculum) and the macaroni and iron net production caught on as an idea for a future income generating project.

At the two technical school the logistical structures concerning material for the courses are set up, and will be handed over to the schools in the middle of June. The methodological follow up will be described under paragraph 5 1.98.

4. RELATED INPUTS

In the past month the Danida project has covered the additional transport expenses of app. $ 250.

5. DESCRIPTION OF ASSISTANCE

1.31 Education: Vocational skills training

The courses in reconstruction run smoothly in both schools. The classes are well attended and there is a good interaction between master/teacher and the participants.

There is also a clear interest from the teachers/masters who are all using at least one new teaching method as well as showing an openness and curiosity towards the whole concept of the project.

It is interesting to note how differently the project concept is being welcomed in the two schools. In Sabirabad the attitude is very open towards generating new ideas and applying the project components in many innovative ways e.g. that the bricklayer course can learn their new skills by making the much needed toilets, and the carpenter course can provide the doors. Likewise the teachers and masters come up with additional ideas e.g. how to clean up the whole compound, make kitchen gardens or solve the water problem the school is facing. In this open approach they are in their own way seeing to it that several stakeholders are included in the process: the IDPs, the staff at the school, the school itself, and the local community.

In Saatli they are more sticking to the restrictions of the curricula and insist on classroom theoretical teaching and a more traditional perception of project implementation. However, small signs of independent and creative thinking are coming up e.g. it has been suggested to construct cradles of good quality in the carpenter classes.

It will be interesting to follow the process in the two schools and see how far they choose to utilise the possibilities within the project framework.

1.98 EDUCATION: Other Educational Activities

As mentioned in last months’ report an initial training of trainers course has been held. Please find below a detailed description of this course.

Duration of the seminar

The course took place over two week-ends including one Friday. This gave the participants time to reflect on the lessons learnt, and the organisers time to adjust the programme according to needs.

The aims of the seminar

  • enhancement of participants’ understanding of new approaches to teaching and organisation of lessons
  • improvement of participants’ understanding of and coping with change
  • presentation of and working with new teaching styles
  • improvement of participants’ abilities to define and solve problems
  • improvement of participants’ understanding of self-development in conditions of the rapidly changing environment

Activities

All of the activities were arranged pedagogically so as to underline the content of the lessons using all the teaching styles introduced at the course and some additional ones like: mime, suggestopedia, secure learning environment, the humorous and unexpected as one way of remembering and learning, along with Tai Chi exercises.

Apart from the skills oriented aims of the course it also had a more long term and less tangible side to it where the organisers aimed at improving the participants’ abilities to imagine and vision, to solve problems, to be emphatic, and to think and create independently and individually.

The output

22 teachers and masters and two directors and deputy directors from two schools went through the training. They all attended actively and were seen to be more dynamic and ready for the project now than when we met them during the assessment tour.

The evaluation was carried out as a group evaluation and was generally positive underlining the appreciation and interest they felt for the seminar.

They requested further seminars focusing on areas like: testing procedures, lesson planning, and meeting western professionals in their specific area.

During the seminar it became clear that it had also had some very positive side effects a.o.t. the participants demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the whole project and came forward with questions which made it possible to do away with understandings at an early stage.

For future implementation it was also fruitful that the leadership of both schools participated and was positive towards the new ideas and methods introduced.

Last but not least the seminar also gave DRC a chance to learn more about the people we are going to work with, possible obstacles, and from the start establish a procedure of joint problem solving and good co-operation.

After the seminar

After the seminar it was necessary to spend a few days on lesson planning and re-thinking the pedagogic set-up and digesting the new ideas.

At present the courses are running and an individual inquiry with the teachers and masters indicate an impact of the seminar i.e. skills and ideas from the seminars are being tried out. For instance almost all teachers and masters used group work, one had used various presentation skills for the students to get to know each other, one used "round table discussion" as he expressed it meaning re-arranging the class room. Others had experienced that "it makes a difference when I treat the students individually" and most of the teachers and masters expressed an openness towards dialogue and questions from the students.

It is assumed that a more systematic follow up procedure will reveal a more complex picture of the impact of the seminar.

At present the teachers and masters receive 3 – 4 visits a week from the DRC team members. It has been agreed that a regular follow up routine of two monthly meetings will be implemented. This routine has been initiated. These meetings will deal solely with ToT activities and focus on partly the experiences of the teachers and masters, partly on a professional input from the project co-ordinator according to what is needed. Apart from these two monthly meetings, regular weekly meetings will still be conducted.

1.99 EDUCATION: Sector Support/Management

The UNHCR team has received its new project co-ordinator Lone Clausen. She arrived on 11 May and is well settled in Sabirabad along with the rest of the team.

The co-operation is going really well between the local expert and the expatriate so the two can build on each others’ strengths, carry out the necessary transfer of knowledge and tackle the challenges together.

Ulla Fomsgaard
Project manager
Danish Refugee Council
Azerbaijan


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