ISAR/AZERBAIJAN:
INITIATIVE FOR SOCIAL ACTION AND RENEWAL IN EURASIA

THIRD SECTOR NEWS
INFORMATION BULLETIN

News and Information on Third Sector Development in Azerbaijan
October 1999
No 20

INCLUDED IN THIS ISSUE:

DEVELOPING THE NGO SECTOR

LOCAL NGO ARTICLES

INTERNATIONAL NGO ARTICLE

REGIONAL NGOS

CHILDREN PAGE

NGO NEWS FROM GEORGIA

ISAR NEWS AND PROGRAMS

Cooperative Grant Program for Georgian and Azeri NGOs

ISAR/Azerbaijan and Horizonti (Georgia) are pleased to announce a joint Georgian-Azerbaijani grant round for NGOs working on social and environmental issues. The goals of this grant program are to promote collaboration between Azerbaijani and Georgian NGOs engaged in social and environmental spheres, stimulate new ways to resolve social and environmental problems, and exchange experience and knowledge between organizations from the two countries. The deadline for applications is 12 November 1999 by 3.00pm. The deadline for proposals to be submitted will be 10 December 1999 by 3.00pm. For further information please contact the ISAR/Azerbaijan Grant Program.

ISAR Conducts a Needs Assessment of the Local NGO Sector in Azerbaijan

“Building Civil Society in Azerbaijan: An Overview and Needs Assessment of the Local NGO Sector” was produced by ISAR/Azerbaijan in September. The results of the first in-depth research of the Azeri non-governmental sectors’ development during the 8 years since the dissolution of the USSR and the beginnings of democracy are discussed in this study. The report was prepared by a consultant to ISAR/Azerbaijan, Tina Nelson, who spent 2 months studying the local NGOs’ needs and influential factors on the activity of the third sector in the republic. Ms. Nelson held focus group meetings with local NGOs from 6 different NGO sectors and spoke with groups of NGOs in three different regions of Azerbaijan. In addition, she conducted a number of interviews with international organizations, donor agencies and government officials. Finally, a survey was answered by 82 local NGO representatives.

According to statistics, approximately 125-200 NGOs work actively in Azerbaijan today. Although the number of NGOs in Azerbaijan is increasing, there remain fewer NGOs here than in other countries of the CIS. In Azerbaijan, this sectors’ limited level of development is due to the lack of resources and outside support. When asked to prioritize their most important needs in the NGO survey mentioned above (not including funding which is the top priority of almost all organizations), the most pressing need for local NGOs is access to modern equipment - computers, phones, fax-machines. The second priority identified by local NGOs was the passing of legislation that allows for the creation, further development and regulation of NGO activity making it possible for NGOs to become a dynamic force within society. NGOs also placed expansion of programming into the regions of Azerbaijan and access to training as top priorities for sectoral development.

Despite numerous difficulties, the majority of NGOs continue to try to help people in finding a solution to actual economic and social problems that exist. At the same time, the successful development of the third sector demands not only NGOs’ participation, but also support from the government, mass media, business sector, international community and donor organizations. Such support could be a decisive factor in creating a strong NGO sector and building a new society.

The needs assessment includes recommendations about how to effectively increase the capacity of the NGO sector. For a copy of this needs assessment or further information on the Azeri local NGO sector, please contact ISAR/Azerbaijan.

Gulia Tagiyeva
ISAR/Azerbaijan

NGOs Meet in Sumgayit

Initiated by the NGO “Umid”, representatives of local and international organizations working in Sumgayit held their first meeting in September 1999. The Danish Refugee Committee, MSF, World Vision, UMID, International Islamic Rescue Organization, and Sulh children’s organization took part in the meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss social problems in Sumgayit, coordination of relief and development efforts, and to promote information exchange between organizations working in the city. Some organizations raised the question about the tendency of humanitarian organizations to pay more attention to work in the southern and northern regions of the country, rather than in Sumgayit. The representatives of the NGOs present at this meeting decided to continue holding meetings on a regular basis in order to coordinate activity in Sumgayit.

Volunteering at ISAR

Dear readers, In this issue of the ISAR/Azerbaijan bulletin we are including articles by two young, talented volunteers of ISAR, Sergey Spevack and Natalie Efisova.

The value of volunteers to organizations is obvious. But how do volunteers, who receive no salary for their work, benefit from this experience? I have met a lot of people who have complained that they do not have work experience and as a result were having difficulty finding a job. Volunteering is one way to obtain experience that can help you find employment later on.

At ISAR I have been involved in a range of activities, I learned to make copies quickly and well, acquired communication skills and began to write articles. When the Resource Center manager was away, we - volunteers – ran the center for a week. As for me, it was a good time to check my strengths. The concept of “volunteering” entered my life for the first time because of an incredible man, E. Orudjev, the leader of the Ecological Society “Kavkaz”. Thanks to him, I discovered the unknown world of the third sector and NGOs and decided to try to get involved. I took part in ecological actions, radio broadcasts, and computer courses. As a result of this activity, the conclusion I have made is the following: in the modern world a person must be well rounded and must continually improve himself. While working as a volunteer in “Kazkaz” Society I learned about ISAR, often visited their office and realized that ISAR also recruited volunteers. By this time “Kavkaz” already had several activists – scholars and others interested in environmental protection, so I moved to ISAR. ISAR’s staff amazed me. Even though they are very busy, they were always ready and willing to help me and answer my questions. I want to express special gratitude to Elchin Sardarov and also to say “thanks” to Gulia Tagieva, head of ISAR’s volunteer program who always makes us feel responsible, accurate, and helps us learn how to work in an office. She always treats us with warmth and attention. Finally, I want to express my appreciation to all of ISAR’s employees for the help I received. Every person should know that by becoming a volunteer s/he will meet many significant people and learn many relevant skills.

Sergey Spevak
ISAR volunteer

Unlike Sergey Spevak, before coming to ISAR/Azerbaijan I had never volunteered before and only here did I understand what this activity could mean. The term “volunteer” was explained to me by a NGO representative to whom ISAR provides assistance. Thanks to my experience at ISAR, I have become familiar with a world that was unknown to me before, a world that consists of concepts such as the third sector and NGOs. At ISAR I took part in computer courses and am now comfortable with computers; I learned to make copies quickly and well; and I have learned to assist NGO members who come to use ISAR’s Resource Center. After three months of working in ISAR, I have learned the benefit of being a volunteer. This has included for me experience and knowledge about the activity of NGOs and becoming familiar with office work. Most of all I was surprised by the kindness and sincerity of ISAR’s staff. They are always ready to help and explain despite the fact that they are busy. In addition, they are very hospitable and never forget about a cup of tea and cookies for us. I deeply appreciate Gulia and all of ISAR’s staff.

Natasha Efisova
ISAR Volunteer

LOCAL NGO ARTICLE

Kindness and Sympathy for Children will Improve the World

The social charity organization “Ufig” is an initiative group established on August 10, 1999 by young specialists working in education and social development. “Ufig” has accomplished a lot during our short existence. Specifically, we have developed a relationship with special Children’s Institutions and with children living in these institutions who do not have full families and are one of the most vulnerable social groups in the country. There are a lot of Children’s Institutions in Azerbaijan and all of these are run by the Government. Limited funding possibilities do not allow these Institutions to arrange excursions for the children, hold exhibitions, or order expensive medicines when necessary.

During our two months of activity we have been able to help an 8 year-old girl named Farida. She had been an unwanted baby who had been abandoned in a garbage can just after birth. Her face was disfigured when she was delivered to the Children Institution. Thanks to the representatives of the European Union TACIS Programme in Azerbaijan, who immediately and enthusiastically responded to our request for financial support for surgery for Farida, we were able to accomplish the first stage of her treatment quickly. I wish to mention that the most active assistance and support came from Ms. Irene Lucius, from the TACIS Coordinating Unit. Doctors of Municipal Clinic #1 agreed to conduct the needed surgery free of charge allowing us only to have to pay for technical expertise. Using this opportunity, I would like to thank Dr. Usub Usifov, Dr. Chingiz Ragimov, the chief of sub-faculty Dr. Seymour Babayev, Dr. Mahhabat and all the staff who took part in carrying out this operation.

“Ufig” has prepared a work plan for the next year that consists of two parts: general and essential. This plan includes finding funds for treatment and medicines for several children who are in urgent need of assistance; finding organizations which are willing to donate their publications and other things to boarding schools; arranging an exhibition of children’s art; and organizing excursions for children. At the moment “Ufig” works closely with boarding-school #16, but in the future we intend to open other branches and expand our activity. We know that by helping one child or one special Children’s Institution, we can not solve all the problems that exist for children. As a result, an essential part of our work will include the establishment of a special directory that will inform about Children’s Institutions and their occupants. This directory will be used to help children with serious problems to find assistance. Hopefully, it will quickly spread information about Children’s Institutions in Azerbaijan and provide information about little people in need of big help.

Akif Akhmedov
Chairman of the Social Charity Organization “Ufig”

INTERNATIONAL NGO ARTICLE

Active Team of Azeri Agricultural Extension Agents
“On the Threshold of a New Period”

In the transition of Azerbaijan to democracy and the development of civil society there are still large gaps which can only be filled by the creation of a local national NGO (NNGO). Despite the Azeri populations’ limited level of understanding about NGOs, there are about 600 registered NNGOs in Azerbaijan. The main law of the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic, article 58, The Right for Unification states, point 1 "every one has the right to unite with others freely" and point 2 which adds that "every one has the right to found any kind of union including political party, trade-union and other social union or to join an already existing one.” Following this law, and seeing a real need in agricultural extension services, a group of initiators decided to organize the independent, non-profit, non-political Azerbaijan Agricultural Information and Extension Center (AkTiMM). The Center is currently in the registration process. "The idea of establishing this NGO appeared as the result of the privatization processes of the former kolkhoz and sovkhozes land and technical equipment, initiated by the government of Azerbaijan", says Fazil Jafarov, the newly elected director of AkTiMM, an agronomist, IDP from Khojavend, living in Acgebedi. “We are now on the threshold of a new period”.

As you know, the rural population of Azerbaijan is mainly involved in agricultural activities on newly privatized land. However, the new landowners have only limited knowledge and experience in farming and certainly no experience in the management and planning of a farm enterprise. These landowners (one can hardly call them farmers yet) have limited knowledge about the new economic reforms and the creation of a market based production system during the transition from the highly centralized soviet collective farm structure towards a free market structure. Indeed, many people have received land but often they are not aware of this fact. Many landowners have no farming experience because they have often worked in other professions. The need, therefore, for agricultural extension services, in order to help this generation of new farmers who have to develop a structure that should be controlled by the farmers themselves, go-betweens and retailers, is obvious.

"We decided that we could fill the gap since it is very unlikely that other structures created recently would support agricultural development at the grass-roots level", stated Hadiyya Aliyeva, chairman of the Governing Board of AkTiMM. Taking into account this situation, the NNGO AkTiMM applied for registration on September 20, 1999. AkTiMM is a private group of local agricultural extension agents. Ms Aliyeva clarifies that the key to AkTiMM is to strengthen self-sustained agricultural production and consumption and thereby increase living standards of the vulnerable rural population in Azerbaijan. AkTiMM will cooperate with government and local and international NGOs to support agricultural reform and development in a changing socio-economic period. Special attention will be paid particularly to female IDP and refugees to improve their skills, employment opportunities and independence. The head of the training and education department Solmaz Adigozalova, agronomist - IDP from Khojavend details the ways AkTiMM hopes to reach this vision:

The founders of AkTiMM have successfully conducted various long-term and short-term workshops to train the agricultural extension staff of the private Agricultural Extension and Information Center in Zakatala and International NGOs such as IRC and UMCOR. In addition, AkTiMM founders contributed to updating the Azeri manual on extension ("Guidelines for Extension Agents" a practical guide for people working with farmers in Azerbaijan); and created various handouts in simple Azeri on plant protection and the most effective use of locally available insecticides, fungicides and organic pesticides. AkTiMM has strong ties with national (the private Agricultural Information and Extension Center in Zakatala) and international extension organizations such as ELKANA, (association of organic farming) in Georgia. Finally, AkTiMM has library facilities, which are open to the public, including resources on agricultural topics in Azeri, Russian, English and German.

As we know, sometimes it might take quite a long time to become registered. However AkTiMM has submitted all documents according to the 8th article of the Law "On State Registration of Legal Entities" and the Center's Charter, which was created according to the Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On Public Associations". Therefore, we hope that the process will be completed in the near future. If you are interested in further information on AkTiMM , please contact: in Baku Egana Guliyeva, Deputy Director, 9, Mukhtarov str., apt 19 (upper yard, 2nd flaw building), tel: 92-21-76; in Agjabedy Fazil Jafarov, Director, 59 Nasimy str., tel 4-09-66.

Naida Khalilova
Diakonie Emergency Aid

Training for Women Leaders

The third and final human rights training for women was held on 15-21 September 1999 in Budapest as part of a year long program sponsored by the Open Society Institute’s Women’s Network. During one year, three training sessions for women leaders from the CIS, Eastern Europe and Mongolia have taken place to explore major international human rights standards, become acquainted with basic procedures for appealing to international human rights protection bodies in the event of infringement of women’s rights, and develop a strategy for women’s rights protection. The trainers for these three sessions were from a variety of organizations and provided a high level of training. They included, Margaret Schuller, Emelina Quantiliane and Molly Raley (Women, Law & Development), Reagan Ralph (Human Rights Watch/Women’s Rights Division), UN representative to the Gaza Strip - Jastin Deelon (UNRWH Department of Legal Affairs), and Joseph Aldridge, law expert from the American University in Washington.

The Azerbaijani delegation for this training was represented by Irada Aliyeva (Women’s Human Rights Protection Society), Sabina Masimova (ISAR/Azerbaijan), Aytekin Huseynova (Azerbaijan Secular Youth Organization), Sabina Iskenderly (Association of Women Journalists of Azerbaijan) and Afag Iskenderova (Women in Music).

During the 1st training that was held in Budapest in December last year, representatives from various countries looked through basic international conventions and agreements on human rights protection and became familiar with the theory related to the international woman’s human rights protection movement and its main provisions. After the 1st training was over, each group was in a position to apply its skills in practice and put a specific woman’s rights protection strategy into reality. The Azerbaijani delegation decided to draw up and implement a specific plan to work toward finding a solution to an urgent economic rights problem in our country – women’s poverty.

During the 2nd training, which was held in May this year in Mongolia, representatives of the countries became acquainted with basic international standards in the sphere of labor and economic rights. They delved deeply into the activities of the International Labor Organization, as well as agreements and conventions that were adopted by the ILO. The knowledge gained enabled each group to make corrections to their own strategy, clearly formulate appropriate aims and objectives, and rationally use their legal base.

Upon returning from Mongolia, the Azerbaijani delegation having completed final preparations, began to implement their strategy. Our group’s objective is to ease and then overcome poverty among women managing households who are employed by public institutions. The focus is on physicians, teachers, and women working in cultural institutions. As a result of the large number of men who died in Karabakh, male emigration, the large IDP/refugee population (2/3 of whom are women and children), and other circumstances, many women are responsible for taking care of their children, parents, and other family members without assistance from men. Most women in Azerbaijan are highly educated, are working full time and trying to provide for their families.

Some women we spoke with claimed that today everyone is struggling to survive, not just women. However, the fact that women are deprived of material and moral support from their husbands (fathers) and have to work all day, aggravates the situation. In the meantime, the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic, Article 16, reserves the right of each person for a life and existence they deserve. It is our mission to do our most to support these women in their struggle for survival.

In order to explore the situation of these women, our group conducted surveys in Baku and 3 other regions of Azerbaijan - Lankaran, Khachmaz and Barda with the purpose of obtaining appropriate data to draw up specific proposals within the framework of the Program of Overcoming Woman’s Poverty in Azerbaijan. One cannot ignore the fact that it is the activities of teachers, cultural workers and physicians that makes it possible to bring up new generations of the citizens in the country, so it is our responsibility to help these women guard their families and benefit society.

Photos: Participants of the 3rd training

Sabina Mirkasimova
ISAR/Azerbaijan

REGIONAL NGOs

Problems with Hemophilia in Sheki

The Sheki branch of the Hemophilia Association was established in May this year with support from ISAR/Azerbaijan and is responsible for the Sheki-Zagatala region. The leader of this branch is Gultekin Mamedova. The main goal of our organization is to identify hemophilia patients and create all the necessary conditions for them to carry out a normal life. As of today, we have identified 21 hemophilia patients in Sheki. Employees and volunteers of our branch are doing their best to help these patients and we regularly distribute medicine. Our organization would like to thank all those people who have volunteered with us to help alleviate the pain faced by hemophilia patients. We would also like to thank the Chairman of the Hemophilia Association of Azerbaijan, Ms. Gulnara Huseynova for her advice, information and readiness to share her experiences.

In the near future we are planning to focus on the treatment of hemophilic children. A special emphasis needs to be placed on working with these children and the creation of the necessary conditions for them to be educated at home. Both local medical personnel and representatives of international humanitarian organizations are hopefully going to assist us in these activities.

We are hopeful that we will be able to provide aid to all hemophilia patients residing in our region in the near future.

Almaz Mamedova,
member of the Sheki branch
of the Hemophilia Association

ANA KUR Calls for Cooperation

The international ecological foundation Ana Kur was established in 1995 with tremendous support from Prof. Vahid Guliyev, a doctor of biological sciences. The main objective of the foundation is to promote the preservation of the natural and cultural values of the Ganja region. The mission of the foundation includes the rational use of natural resources, the restoration of ecological equilibrium, and the preservation of a sound ecological atmosphere. The international ecological foundation Ana Kur is focused on finding a solution to ecological problems, providing ecological education to the population and establishing ties with the world’s progressive scientific forces.

In order to accomplish our goal, Ana Kur has established an Agro-Ecological Institute to train specialists in the area. In addition, the foundation regularly publishes a popular scientific magazine, as well as the public newspaper Ana Kur. The fund-owned publishing house Ecologica publishes books, brochures and bulletins devoted to various ecological problems both in Ganja and the Azerbaijan Republic as a whole. We have also held a number of workshops and practical conferences to discuss ecological problems in Ganja.

To increase the foundation’s work and capacity, our organization’s activists began collaborating with some international organizations and foundations, including the SOROS Foundation, TACIS and ISAR/Azerbaijan. We are currently seeking to expand our cooperation with various organizations. Therefore, we invite all local and foreign NGOs to contact us for further information and begin collaboration and cooperation in environmental protection. Address: 273 Ataturk Ave., Ganja; Tel.: (89522) 67 901

Israil Aliyev
Chief-specialist of Ana Kur

Ecology and Health in Ganja

The impact of environmental deterioration in the Ganja region on our health is obvious. The effect of industrial waste is not difficult to imagine. For example, the waste from a large factory in the vicinity of Ganja can easily be absorbed by plants, soil and water, can contaminate the air and simultaneously can negatively impact people through food consumption. In Azerbaijan, measures were not taken in the past to control environmental pollution and limited documentation exists evaluating the present level of danger. This situation is made even worse by the limited knowledge about the environment that exists among the population in the country, especially in the regions of Azerbaijan.

The representatives of the Ganja Medical Social Charity Organization "Umid" received support from ISAR-Azerbaijan to work toward a solution to this problem. This project specifically targeted pregnant women, a group that is more vulnerable than others to environmental pollution. During this project, pregnant women attended courses where they learned how to behave in the right way, how to do exercises and mainly how to defend themselves and their child from the hazardous impact of environmental pollution. In addition to the training for these women, "Umid" held a photo exhibition and prepared television programs focused on increasing the level of public awareness about the deteriorating environmental conditions of the Ganja region.

The training courses allowed the women to acquire much needed information. In addition, the photo exhibition showed areas of environmental pollution in Ganja and demonstrated the influence of this process on the health of women and children. At the same time consultations and explanations were provided to interested persons. During this project "Umid" published a booklet that includes all components of their training course. This booklet was disseminated to medical institutions in Ganja and other regions. Please contact Umid for further information at (89522) 68678.

Yegana Jafarova
ISAR/Azerbaijan

CHILDREN’S PAGE

An exhibition-sale of children’s painting was held in Baku at the Art-Saloon at 7 Mukhtarov str. on September 24-25. Save the Children and local NGO Children of the 21 Century organized this exhibition. The purpose of the exhibition was to provide assistance to the children of Turkey who suffered from the recent earthquake. More than 100 pictures were exhibited and representatives of Embassies, international humanitarian organizations, UNO, oil companies, commercial structures, as well as mass media attended. During the exhibition, about 10 drawings were sold. All money obtained from the sale was transferred to Turkey to help the young earthquake victims.

Elchin Bagirov
Program Officer Save the Children

CICEU “Our Home”

The Caucasian International Children’s Ecological Union Our Home was established as a result of a memorandum signed by delegations of Azerbaijani and Georgian schoolchildren who participated in the 5th International Olympiad on Environmental Protection held in Istanbul on 3 June 1997.

Our Home is a children’s public organization initiated by schoolchildren with the objective of focusing the current younger generation’s attention on ecological problems. The mission of the organization is to increase responsibility for the preservation of the natural heritage of the Caucasus and provide ecological education for the younger generation. Members of the organization are pupils between grades 8-11 (80% of the total number) and teachers and scientists (total 450). Activities of the organization have included a contest entitled Best School Poster in Defense of Nature in April-May 1997 as well as a children’s charitable action entitled Caucasus is Our Home in May 1998.

The UN-funded Children’s Ecological Police, comprised of Our Home members, was the first of its type established. The representation and oath ceremony was held on 18 December 1998 during the Republican Children’s Ecological Forum dedicated to the 75th anniversary of ecological movement of Azerbaijani schoolchildren.

Rufat Alekperov
Chairman Our Home

The NGO Azerbaijan in the 21 Century is responsible for the Children’s Page


Information Program News

Information session for NGOs

The October NGO Information session took place at ISAR/Azerbaijan on Friday 10 October. Representatives from 12 local NGOs attended this session. Jale Sultanly, from the international organization Academy for Educational Development (AED), informed the participants about AED’s programs, including their work with women’s NGOs, promotion of collaboration among Transcaucasian NGOs, and the development of refugee committees. In addition, ISAR’s trainer, Sabina Masimova, shared her views on the human rights training she took part in for women-leaders in Budapest in September this year. Ms. Masimova spoke specifically on the work of NGOs regarding women’s rights protection. Finally, Information Session participants were provided with new information on grant, educational, training, seminar and conference opportunities.

NGO Sector Meetings

In September, local NGOs engaged in various spheres, renewed their activities after taking brief summer holidays and ISAR’s NGO sectoral meetings began again after a month break. The main purpose of these monthly meetings, held for NGOs specializing both in public health and children and youth problems, is to exchange information, develop methods of cooperation and consolidate NGO efforts.

***

The health NGO meeting focused on the improved coordination between local organizations. The head of the Medical Managers Association of Azerbaijan Dilara Mahmudova noted that local health NGOs, may conditionally be divided into two main groups. The first group includes organizations formed by physicians, researchers and teachers. Their aid might prove to be indispensable for the second group of NGOs that includes persons in need of medical care, consultations, or psychological rehabilitation (for example, invalids, AIDS patients). Ms. Mahmudova noted that the opening of a special health center for NGOs, as well as the establishment of an NGO health association could increase collaboration among NGOs.

***

At the children’s NGO meeting, Rahman Badalov, the head of Tutu shared his view on the problems of third sector development in Azerbaijan, particularly, children’s NGOs. It was noted that local organizations focused on children and youth problems should consolidate their efforts in order to be successful. In addition, these organizations would be able to more effectively lobby the government and promote their activity to international organizations as a group instead of separately.

A main agenda item at the next children’s NGO meeting will be NGOs work in the regions of Azerbaijan. The meeting participants also briefly discussed their summer activities, projects implemented and forthcoming plans. The leader of the Scout and Mountain Sporting Clubs invited members of other NGOs to attend a rally of tourist organizations in the settlement of Nardaran, 9-10 October. The program for this festive occasion, dedicated to Azeri Independence Day, included hiking and mountaineering contests, recruitment of scouts, rock-climbing for beginners, concerts, and a photography exhibition.

Guliya Tagiyeva
ISAR/Azerbaijan

NGO NEWS: GEORGIA

NGO and Mass Media Assembly

The 1st Assembly of NGOs and the Georgian mass media was held in Tbilisi, Georgia in September this year. The meeting was initiated by the NGO Congress and Charter of Georgian Journalists. This organization, which unites about 130 local organizations, was established in February this year with the purpose of speeding up the building of a legal state in Georgia, and actively collaborates with legislative and executive bodies, the private sector, the mass media, and foreign organizations and funds.

While addressing the Assembly, President of Georgia Edward Shevardnadze, Patriarch of the country Iliya II, Executive Secretary of the NGO Congress Z.Sikharulidze, and representatives of local and foreign NGOs stressed that fruitful collaboration between the third sector and the state is conducive to favorable political, economic and social conditions for building a democratic society. They also emphasized the important role of the third sector and the mass media in helping to form freedom of thought. President Shevardnadze commented to the audience, “The guarantee for Georgia’s future prosperity is freedom, including freedom of thought, and you, hundreds and thousands of NGO and mass media representatives, form the base for creating this in our country”. He backed a proposal put forth by the participants of the Assembly to create a coordination center to promote cooperation between local NGOs and the independent mass media. Before the Assembly was over, the participants adopted a declaration that will serve as a basic document from which to regulate their activity.

The Press Center of the
NGO Congress of Georgia

QUESTION – ANSWER SESSION

What is a Web-site?

A page in the world computer network where you can place various information (texts, pictures, photos, music, video, etc.). Each Web-site has its own address. Any person worldwide who knows this address can open the page on his computer and familiarize himself with the information on the Web-site.

What is a Link?

On a Web page you may see underlined text; if you bring the cursor to that text you will notice that the cursor changes its arrow form to the picture of a hand. This underlined text is called viper text. It is used to change the page by clicking the left button of the mouse. On a website you may see viper texts which can take you to websites containing additional or auxiliary information to the earlier Web page. These viper texts are called Links, i.e. references to other webpages with relevant information.

Telman Yelchiyev,
ISAR/Azerbaijan


ANNOUNCEMENTS

LOCAL NGOs

The Association of Women-Journalists, specializing in environmental issues, jointly with the Social Network of Journalists and NGO activists, is holding a Round Table discussion on November 6 with the participation of ecological organizations and the mass media, entitled The Role of Mass Media in Dealing with Environmental Problems. Anyone interested in this discussion may apply to Gulnaz Bagvanova, the leader of the Association at telephone 39 71 86.

***

As a result of Azerbaijan joining the United Nations Convention on Combating Land Desertification in 1998, Azeri NGOs are invited to work in the RIOD NGO network on this theme. Land devastation, deforestation, chemical pollution, different erosions - these are just some of the problems falling within the framework of the Convention. The global network RIOD, created for NGOs from around the world, is now undergoing reorganization. The Global Coordination Committee, which is currently being created, will be composed of 15 regional coordinators elected by national coordinators of regional countries. National coordinators, in turn, are to be elected by representatives of NGOs participating in the RIOD network. Organizations interested in the activities of RIOD and this theme can contact the ISAR/Azerbaijan Resource Center or the Green Movement of Azerbaijan at the following address: 31, Istiglaliyyat St., 5th floor.

INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Grants

IREX has announced a program for research grants focused on contemporary problems in the CIS countries. Representatives of both public and non-governmental organizations as well as specialists working in different fields who are citizens of one of the CIS countries are eligible to participate. The application deadline for this program is November 26, 1999 at local IREX offices. For more detailed information, please contact IREX/ Azerbaijan or the ISAR/Azerbaijan Resource Center.

Scholarships

The Oak Institute of Colby College (Canada) has established a research scholarship in the field of human rights. The Scholarship is provided for teaching and conducting research at the College during one semester of the 2000-2001 academic year. The Scholarship will cover travel expenses, accommodation on campus and food expenses. The scholarship recipient will receive support for conducting his/her research, including office space, an assistant, access to a computer and library. The deadline for applications is November 8, 1999. Successful candidates will be notified on February 1, 1999. More detailed information can be found on the following website: www.colby.edu/oak. Applications can be sent by e-mail to: oakhr@colby.edu.

Invitation for Cooperation

The Association of Young Economists of Georgia is looking for partners. Founded in 1989, the Association unites 3 economic organizations consisting of young scientists, students, and specialists in economics and business. The main objectives of the Association is to support young economists, hold trainings, exchange information and develop cooperative relationships with organizations both in Georgia and abroad. For further information please contact us at email address ayeg@caucasus.net.

First Assembly of World Bank NGO Working Group

Non-governmental organizations are invited to take part in the 1st Assembly of the NGO working group established by the World Bank (WB). NGOs from the Baltic states, Central and Eastern Europe, the CIS, Central Asia, Turkey and Cyprus will be attending the Assembly. World Bank NGO working groups were initially established in 1984, as a mechanism to protect the interests of and achieve consensus among NGOs under the WB aegis, and establish a dialogue between NGOs and the WB on urgent issues in international development. Each working group primarily operates through a regional assembly, which is responsible for the election of its representatives to the World Committee. For further information please contact the ISAR/Azerbaijan Resource Center.

IATP/IREX Offers Computer Courses

IREX together with ISAR/Azerbaijan is conducting a survey among Azerbaijani NGOs to identify local NGO representatives computer needs. Computer courses for NGO representatives will be held by IATP (Internet Access and Training Program). Interested NGOs should apply to the ISAR/Azerbaijan Information Program Manager for further information and a copy of the questionnaire.


ISAR PROGRAMS AND NEWS

ISAR/AZERBAIJAN OFFERS THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS:

TRAINING PROGRAM

INFORMATION PROGRAM

GRANT PROGRAM

REGIONAL PROGRAM

ISAR’s Regional Program brings the training, grant and information programs to the regions of Azerbaijan to support the activity of local NGOs, link NGO activity around the country as well as instigate the formation of new organizations. ISAR currently works in Hachmaz, Ganja and Sheki

ISAR/Azerbaijan Completed 11th Small Grant Round

ISAR/Azerbaijan supported 8 projects from our 11th small grant round. Four supported projects are with Baku based organizations and 4 are with organizations in the regions of Azerbaijan. All 8 projects are focused on social and environmental issues including, among others, increasing the knowledge of the population of Ganja about the quality of chemical products, organizing weaving and drawing courses for orphans, conducting a sociological survey among the vulnerable strata of the population in Khachmaz, providing training for NGO representatives on how to conduct effective surveys, establishing an environmental tourism school, and psychological rehabilitation of difficult teenagers.

NGO Sectoral Meetings Resumed

Monthly sectoral meetings are scheduled for the following days in October: 15 October, Environmental NGOs; 22 October, Health NGOs; 29 October, Children’s NGOs.

In November: 12 November, Environmental NGOs; 19 November, Health NGOs; 26 November, Children’s NGOs. For further information about these meetings or how to participate, please contact Guliya Tagiyeva.

The ISAR/Azerbaijan Resource-Center Has Copies of the Following Reference and Bulletins:

Ecological news bulletins:

The ISAR/Azerbaijan Resource-Center also receives news bulletins issued by some Azerbaijani local NGOs. To learn more about the material available at the ISAR/Azerbaijan Resource Center, please contact the Resource Center Manager.

For Your Information

Organizations wishing to ask questions and receive answers to questions on legal aspects of NGO activities, i.e. preparation of legal documents, registration, tax regulation, legislative basis, conflict management within the organization, civil law, etc., may present their questions in writing to the ISAR/Azerbaijan. Answers will be provided by professional lawyers from NGOs. The most useful answers will be published in the QUESTION-AND-ANSWER SESSION of the ISAR/Azerbaijan Information Bulletin. For further information please contact Elchin Sardarov.

All local and international NGOs and initiative groups are welcome to contribute articles, suggestions, responses, announcements, and pictures to ISAR/Azerbaijan for publication in Third Sector News. The material provided for the bulletin must in some way be related to NGO sector development in Azerbaijan. ISAR/Azerbaijan and the US Agency for International Development are not responsible for the content of information presented by local NGOs and the mass media. If material from this bulletin is reproduced, please cite the ISAR/Azerbaijan Information Bulletin.
Address: Baku, Jafar Jabbarly 24, apt. 2
Telephones: 95-25-57, 95-30-37
E-mail: ngo@isar.baku.az

Bulletin Editor: Elchin Sardarov
Third Sector News has been produced with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)