INTRODUCTION

1999 marks the International Rescue Committeeís fifth year of operations in Azerbaijan. While the programmatic mix of IRCís programs in Azerbaijan has evolved over time, the organization remains committed, with the support of its donors, to providing quality relief services to Azeri IDPs and returnees. In 1999, IRC will implement programs in the regions of Agcabedi, Agdam, Barda, Ter Ter, Imishli, Beylagan, and Fizuli. From its base in Agcabedi, the IRC looks forward to continuing its current programs in 1999 and expanding into new sectoral areas.

Over the past five years, IRC has constructed a large number of shelters for Azeri IDPs and will continue to do so in 1999. Under USAID/MCI-funding, IRC will implement its successful Mud Brick shelter program in the Barda Turkish camp. This program is managed by Patrick Morand and has dedicated funding through October 1999. In Fizuli, IRC will continue to construct and rehabilitate limestone shelters for returnees. Managed by Hans van Liedekerke with the support of Dominik Zwicky, this program is funded through UNHCR special appeal funds.

In Azerbaijan, IRC has pioneered a variety of innovative programs in the fields of public health and health education. A large number of womenís groups and womenís centers have been formed over the past four years and, with the continuing support of UNHCR and USAID/MCI, IRC will explore ways to make these groups/centers more sustainable as an integral part of IDP communities. IRCís Children and Health Education Program, a new initiative in 1998, will, in 1999, continue to provide community-wide health education services while focusing its efforts on children, teachers, and school administrators. This program is managed by Rick Neal and has dedicated funding from USAID/MCI through October 1999.

Over the past four years the IRC has implemented a wide variety of Micro-Enterprise Development, Income Generation, Self-Reliance, Vocational Skills Training, and Apprentice Placement programs. Having developed a flexible mix of programmatic interventions to support IDP entrepreneurs (including various grant/loan schemes), the IRC is in a position to support both start-up and established businesses. UNHCR-funding has been secured to continue IRCís MED/Vocational Skills programs and anticipates continued funding from ECHO and Stichting Vluchteling (SV). Melissa Brill and Val Encomio manage IRCís MED, Vocational Skills Training, and Apprentice Placement programs.

In 1998, IRC focused its Community Development and Community Infrastructure programs on the Lachin Wintergrounds in the Agcabedi region. Building upon its past efforts, including the formation and training of Village Committees to identify and assess community projects, the IRC intends to continue its community development efforts in the Lachin Wintergrounds. IRC anticipates continued support from ECHO for this program which is managed by Godfrey Peter and Rhonda Chapman.

IRC has secured funding from UNHCR to expand into two sectors in 1999 - agricultural development and education. In 1999, IRC will provide training and material development for IDP agricultural entrepreneurs and will work closely with the national NGO Agro-Meslehet to provide consultancies on a wide variety of agricultural development projects. IRC is currently recruiting for an-expatriate Program Manager to manage this program. In the Education sector, IRC will, in 1999, support the physical rehabilitation of IDP schools and will distribute educational (teacher), student, vulnerable student, and sports kits to over 40 IDP schools.

PROGRAM REPORTS

  1. WOMEN AND HEALTH EDUCATION PROGRAM

A. Executive Summary:

B. Period Goals and Results:

Recruitment of Health Educators

Activity

Target #

# Trained 1998

Train new Health Educators 60 women 62 Women
12 women from Agcabedi,
19 women from Beylagan
9 women from Agdam
12 women from Fizuli
10 women from Imishli

The Women and Health Program continued to train group twelve. The training sessions covered information on birth-control methods, abortion, STDs, female reproductive organs, male reproductive organs, puberty, menopause, birth-spacing, breast-feeding, the Womenís Roster, pregnancy, infertility, blood pressure, nutrition, hygiene, dehydration/ diarrhea, and First Aid.

Contraceptive Pill Distribution

IRCís Gynecologist continues to distribute 5,000 contraceptive pills from the Baku Family Planning Center to IDP settlements where IRCís Woman and Health Program works - Agcabedi, Beylagan, Agdam, Fizuli, and Imishli.

Activity

Target #

Current
Month

Total #
Receiving

Distribute contraceptive pills

800 women in 100 settlements

20 women Beylagan
26 women Agcabedi
4442 pills

Reproductive Health Days

In January, Relief International (RI) continued to conduct Reproductive Health Days in Agcabedi and Beylagan in conjunction with IRC. 95 women were examined, 324 condoms were distributed, 85 contraceptive pills were given, and an IUD was inserted.

Outreach to Men.

IRCís Male Reproductive Health Specialist continues to design Reproductive Health training sessions to be used for training of local Feldshers. Brochures and pamphlets on reproductive health topics continue to be distributed. Trainings of Feldshers continues to be conducted in Beylagan and visits to Feldsher points in Agcabedi are on-going.

Staff Development

IRCís Women and Health Program staff participated in a First Aid training conducted by the Red Cross.

Health Information System

All the data from pre-training tests has been entered into the Womenís Roster database. Data from post-training tests is now being entered.

C. Future Directions:

2. CHILDREN AND HEALTH EDUCATION PROGRAM

A. Executive Summary:

  • Continued ongoing training-of-trainers process with coordinators with a focus on planning.
  • Conducted a community development training on planning with teachers from all 40 participating schools.
  • Reviewed assessment results and developed action plans for the next four months with parent/teacher committees at all 40 participating schools.
  • Distributed 4,540 copies of the January edition of Gunesh magazine and began coordinating the submission of materials for the April edition.
  • Activity

    Planned Units

    Families

    Current Month

    Cumulative

    USAID/MCI grant        
    Director introduction meetings

    100

    2,500

    0

    38

    Parent/teacher introduction meetings

    100

    2,500

    0

    37

    Establishment of parent/teacher groups

    100

    2,500

    0

    40

    Parent/teacher group projects

    100

    2,500

    0

    0

    Teacher training

    500

    2,500

    0

    271

    Childrenís health skit performances

    40

    2,500

    0

    42

    Food hygiene campaigns

    *

    2,500

    0

    0

    Home gardens

    2,500

    2,500

    0

    0

    School gardens

    100

    2,500

    0

    0

    Immunization campaigns

    *

    2,500

    0

    0

    Hygiene/sanitation campaigns

    *

    2,500

    0

    0

    Dental hygiene kit distribution

    5,000

    2,500

    0

    0

    UNHCR grant        
    Fruit tree distribution

    3,000

    *

    0

    3,000

    Amoco grant        
    Distribution of Gunesh magazine

    60,000

    2,500

    4,900

    36,322

    * Numbers not specified in project agreement.

    B. Period Goals and Results:

    Continuation of Community Planning Process

    During this month, Coordinators finished working with teachers and parent/teacher committees (PTCs) to collect information about issues identified in November relating to children, health, and education. Information in the reports included descriptions of the current physical condition of the schools, information on equipment and teaching materials such as desks, visual aids, and textbooks, community conditions, and childrenís health, including reported cases of malaria and other priority health issues. The results included:

    Coordinators participated in a half-day training to prepare for planning workshops with teachers and PTCs in order to map-out activities for the next four months. After reviewing the assessment results presented in the reports, participants reviewed an outline of activities for which IRC has already received funding and which relate to PTC priorities. These include: health promotion workshops for teachers on different health topics, community health promotion campaigns, and a school rehabilitation project.

    Education activities

    Program staff met with staff from the Union of Youth of Azerbaijan to review the layout of the February edition of Gunesh magazine and to review submissions for the March edition. Submissions included information on nutrition, timed to coincide with a nutrition campaign in March and April. IRC received 5,000 copies of the January edition of the magazine and distributed 4,900 to students and teachers at all 40 schools by the end of the month. Staff began planning submissions for the April edition, asking students to submit articles and artwork related to Ashura, dental health, care of trees and gardens, and the end of the school year. The program also distributed 200 copies of Yuva magazine, donated by the Danish Refugee Council.

    Staff also met with the Open Society Institute to discuss participation in a pilot library program. Under the project, the program will help establish a small library in one of its participating settlements. Books will be purchased through funding provided to Relief International. IRC will transport the books to the project site and work with a community volunteer to set up the library.

    C. Future Directions:

  • Carry out an orientation on health promotion with coordinators and teachers.
  • Begin activities to reduce the incidence of malaria by conducting a workshop for coordinators, facilitating a PTC meeting to plan a malaria prevention campaign, and carrying out the campaign.
  • Begin preparations for the UNHCR-funded school rehabilitation project.
  • Submit materials for the April edition of Gunesh and collect materials for the May edition.
    1. REPATRIATE HOME REHABILITATION PROGRAM

    A. Executive Summary:

    B. Period Goals and Results:

    Rehabilitation in Ahmadalilar

    The rehabilitation of 40 houses was completed on January 30th. Each of these 40 house consist of two families. All the houses have a new full roof, two rehabilitated living rooms, and a new porch. In addition a V.I.P. latrine was constructed for every house. The total amount of Major Repairs done by IRC in Ahmadalilar stands now at 60 houses. Of these 60 houses, 42 house two families and 18 house one family. 102 families have been assisted to date.

    Winter distribution

    UNOCAL provided funding for a distribution of 17.250 L of kerosene for the month of January. This distribution targeted 115 families who benefited from the UNOCAL-funded shelter program. Each family received 150 L of kerosene.

    VILLAGE December January
    Upper Kurdmahmudlu 12.750 L 12.750 L
    Lower Kurdmahmudlu 900 L 900 L
    Boyuk Bahmanli 750 L 750 L
    Ahmadalilar 2.850 L 2.850 L
    Total 17.250 L 17.250 L

    Registration

    An additional 40 houses have been identified for Major Repair. Of these 40 houses, 21 consist of two families, 17 are single families and two houses consist of three families.

    Distribution of building materials

    In order to meet the number of houses to be rehabilitated under the Major Repair program, a new system for the distribution of materials to the houses was established during the month of January. Additional staff and labor were hired and trained.

    Minor Repairs in Araz Yaglivand

    A list of 170 potential beneficiaries under the Minor Repairs program was submitted to IRC by the local government. 115 of these beneficiaries were visited and 56 met program requirements. The remainder had enough living space as defined by UNHCR or damage totaled less than $250. An assessment of the 56 houses was conducted and contracts were signed with the ownersí of the houses. 20 beneficiaries received building materials in January and the remaining material is currently being transported to IRCís Fizuli warehouse.

    Follow-up in Upper Kurdmahmudlu

    42 of 43 beneficiaries in Upper Kurdmahmudlu have completed their work. The quality of the work (all self-help) on the houses has generally been good. Elderly beneficiaries and females heading households were able to implement their work with the help of friends and relatives.

    C. Future Directions:

    4. MUD-BRICK SHELTER PROGRAM

    A. Executive Summary:

    B. Period Goals and Results:

    Assessment of Barda Turkish Camp

    IRC conducted an assessment in the Barda Turkish camp to determine the number of families living in and around the settlement. This included counting the number of members per family to determine how many 4x5m and 4x7m shelters would be required to meet all shelter needs in the settlement. 1,284 families were assessed, requiring 310 4x5m and 974 4x7m shelters.

    Mapping of the Barda Turkish Camp

    IRC began mapping the Barda Turkish camp and will continue to do so in February. IRC also requested the Barda Regional Ex-Committee to provide an architect to produce their own map. These maps will be compared and the areas for construction will then be selected.

    Trash Disposal Installation Completed

    Of the nine locations for trash disposal identified by the Community Action Teams in the Agcabedi Turkish camp, eight met the requirements outlined by IRC. Four had been installed in December and the last four were installed this month.

    Restructuring of Community Action Teams

    IRC has begun to restructure the Community Action Teams in the Agcabedi Turkish camp to more effectively complete the remaining projects there. These projects are to be implemented on a settlement-wide basis, not on a Community Sector basis, and therefore require a community group to represent the entire settlement. This group will be called the Water and Sanitation Committee and will be comprised of approximately ten Community Action Team members. Completion of the restructuring process and the commencement of project implementation is expected in the next month.

    To Date

    Planned Activities

    Community Action Teams Formed

    SSUs Completed

    Latrines Installed

    Hand Pumps Installed

    Trash Disposal Sites Installed

    Units
    To Date

    0

    0

    0

    0

    4

    Units Cumulative

    12

    400

    351

    37

    8

    Next Month

    Planned Activities

    Community Action Teams Formed

    SSUs Completed

    Latrines Installed

    Hand Pumps Installed

    Trash Disposal Sites Installed

    Units
    To Date

    0

    0

    0

    0

    0

    Units Cumulative

    12

    400

    351

    37

    8

    C. Future Directions:

    5. MICRO-ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

    A. Executive Summary:

    B. Period Goals and Results:

    Individual Business Information Sessions

    Information sessions were conducted in five settlements: Beylagan (Sovhoz #5), Imishli (Mezrali), Agcabedi (Lachin - Mishni, Ardushlu/Ferrash, and Erdashavi/Latif)

    Training Program

    Registration and training were conducted in six settlements - Imishli (Railcars and Mezrali), Agdam (Hindiristan Buffalo Farm), Agcabedi (Husulu and Samad Vurgan), and Beylagan (Savhoz #5).

    Loan Disbursement

    Agdam (Hindiristan Buffalo Farm) first round loans were disbursed on January 29. 23,200,000 manats were disbursed to 29 IDPs.

    Collections

    Collections continued in 17 settlements in Agcabedi, Agdam, Imishli, Beylagan, and Fizuli. Collections for January totaled 118,688,120 manats.

    Activity Planned Units Current Month Current-to-Date
    SV Loan Disbursement (RV007) 1100 87 661
    UNHCR Loan Disbursement (RV008) 50 - 47
    ECHO Revolving Loan Fund (RV003)   92 354

     

    Total Program Statistics ( as of December 31, 1998)  
    Total Registered 1223
    Total Loans Given* 1062
    Percentage Women 37.77%
    Percentage Supporting household of 5 or more people 55.47%
    Percentage of Payment overdue 4.00%
    Percentage of Payment 1-30 days overdue 2.00%
    Total Loan Amount Disbursed to Date 829,650,000m.
    Total Principal Repayment to Date 365,152,534m.
       
    * Difference between Total Registered and Total Loans includes people who have been registered but have not completed the training yet as well as people who registered but did not attend the training program and were therefore not eligible to receive loans.  

    Issues

    Issues continue surrounding late repayments and are being addressed with warning letters. Ample warnings have been given to several clients and additional measures may involve repossession of items purchased under the loan agreement (as per the contract). Problems have multiplied in some regions (specifically Fizuli) and will be dealt with in February.

    C. Future Directions:

    MED SELF-RELIANCE/SKILLS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

    A. Executive Summary:

    B. Period Goals and Results:

    Small Business Initiatives

    IRC Income Generation staff completed disbursements to four UNHCR small businesses during the month of January. Two new businesses, a shoemaker and a baker, funded by the Stichting Vluchteling (SV) revolving loan fund, received start-up funding. The total number of small businesses between SV and UNHCR for the 1998 program year is 72. Target goals were not achieved due budget realignments for UNHCR funded businesses.

    Late and non-collection of repayment continues to be a problem for the small business program. Over the past two months, seven businesses have had their repayment schedule adjusted. Most of these businesses received a one month reprieve from loan payment and had their payments deferred to a later date. Repayment problems will be mitigated in the future through more intensive consultation with businesses. For January, collections totaled 20,456,000 manats for the SV revolving loan fund and 410,000 manats for the UNHCR revolving loan.

    Womenís Centers

    Monitoring of the first 23 Womenís Groups receiving funds from SV continues. Monitoring visits revealed the continued improvement of Womenís Group businesses with respect to group cohesion and record keeping.

    Apprentice Training

    Apprentices with the SBI Program continue to work with their respective masters and acquire new vocational skills. Apprentices with the Womenís Groups are in the process of being selected by their groups.

    C. Future Directions:

    7. COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

    A. Executive Summary:

    B. Period Goals and Results:

    Community Development Proposal Submissions

    Fifty five proposals were received by the deadline of 15 January from all participating communities. At the proposal review session involving all Community Development and Water and Sanitation staff, issues such as a fair distribution of funding, project sustainability, and community priorities were addressed in the approval process. Ongoing problems such as the lack of equipment for schools and clinics which were constructed as part of the program were addressed and some funding approved for the provision of equipment in order to ensure sustainability. Discussions with the representative of the local health authority have resulted in an agreement to cooperate on pursuing alternative sources of funding and a similar agreement will be sought with the representative from the Department of Education.

    Community Development Projects (Completed in January)

    Community Development Projects (On-going)

    Farash

    Sheilanli

    Agaev/Mirrik

    Finga settlement

    Garakeshdi

    Agbulag

    Ardashavi

    Gushchu/Mirrik

    Community Committee training themes were considered for the remaining 2 months of the project, including problem solving, use of case studies, fundraising, and project sustainability.

    A monitoring visit to the Shahriyar Echo Settlement in Sabirabad was made to assess the ongoing success of the focus group formed as part of the 1997/1998 ECHO grant. The group still meets on a regular basis and has recently held a public meeting on the problem of a broken electricity transformer. Money was collected from the sale of livestock for repairs on the transformer.

    Activity

    Planned Units Current month Current Units-to-Date Families Assisted -to- Date
    Monitoring Focus Groups ECHO 97/98 108 1 24 1,181
    Baseline Survey 103 - 103 983
    Water Quality Survey 15 4 10 919
    Focus Group Sessions (ECHO settlements) 185 52 66 926
    Village Committees Formed (men) 13 - 13 1,467
    Village Committees Formed (women) 13 - 13 1,467
    Village Committee Training Sessions (men & women) 208 26 234 1,122
    Community Projects 50 8 22 1,240
    Training in O&M 7 - -  
    Summative Evaluation 1 - -  

    Meetings

    Program Managers attended a community Development information sharing meeting with Save the Children in Barda and hosted a Community Services Working Group to discuss issues of sustainability.

    C. Future Directions:

    8. LOGISTICS/WAREHOUSE

    A. Executive Summary:

    B. Period Goals and Results:

    The IRC warehouse made 100 rebar mesh and 100 toilet slabs for the RHR Program. The warehouse continues to distribute materials for Ahmadalilar village. The warehouse finished the distribution of all materials as well as toilet slabs for 50 houses. The warehouse received 600 m3 wood for the UNHCR RHR Major Repair Program.

    The warehouse received and distributed materials for Araz Yaglivend and Kurdmahmudlu villages in Fizuli for the UNHCR RHR Program. The warehouse also prepared 200 rebar mesh and made 11 toilet slabs of these rebar mesh for the UNHCR RHR Minor Repair Program.

    IRC received an in-kind donation from UNHCR which included 60 bags of clothes and 147 bags of quilts.

    The two warehouses were inspected.

    C. Future Directions:

    Report Prepared by Andrew Robarts, Program Manager, IRC-Azerbaijan