Save the Children has been active in Azerbaijan since December 1993, arriving in response to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabagh region. Supporting children and families affected by the conflict by providing immediate relief and also the assistance needed to ensure access to long-term opportunities, Save the Children initially managed an $80 million USAID-funded emergency response umbrella grant program, Azerbaijan Humanitarian Assistance Program. From 1998 SC shifted focus to development programs and has been partnering with stakeholders and duty bearers on activities for vulnerable children, their families and communities to be safe, protected and better able to attain their rights.
SC is a pioneer of community-based development programming in Azerbaijan, starting in1998 with the USAID-funded Participatory Micro-Project Program ($1M) for basic community development and social infrastructure development and continuing to 2005 with the Central Area Community Development Program ($2.5M) and Central Area Integrated Community Development Program (ICDP/$5M) to build further community groups’ programming and management capacities and to directly support hundreds of communities in addressing priority issues/problems with micro-projects as well as access to services/support for small business development, essential health services, education and legal and agricultural information.
Save the Children expanded its community development programs with the British Petroleum (BP)-funded Community Investment Program (CIP I, II, III; 2003-2009) in partnership with the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline Consortium in 108 communities along the pipeline route. Complementing civil society development initiatives, a number of livelihoods/related initiatives, starting with a USAID-funded Community-based Lending and Savings Program (2000-2005) ensured access to credit and other financial services for poor micro-entrepreneurs, and laid the foundation for a sustainable micro-finance institution, AzeriStar.
In addition to participatory community development initiatives, a three-year $2.5M Family Planning and Reproductive Health Initiative (2003-2005) was the first health effort to improve reproductive health knowledge among married women and men, plus adolescents. Significantly, SC began supporting the Government in child welfare system reform in 2004 and since then has been a recognized leader on several levels to assure that especially vulnerable children and families have access to essential social services. In the USAID-funded Community-based Children’s Support Program (2004-2011; $4.3M) and complementary EU-funded Community-based Active Protection Service (2008-2010; €1.3M) SC and partner efforts helped build and strengthen networks for child protection with appropriate Government and NGO duty bearers, and promoted social integration and community care for vulnerable children and youth. Addressing an important issue in Azerbaijan, SC joined 10 other NGOs in the 2008-2009 Early Marriage Prevention Project, and provided technical assistance and capacity building support to nine local groups who educated youth, their parents and communities on the detriments of early marriage, and advocated nationally for legislative changes to protect girls and young women for healthy futures.
Creating Livelihoods for Adulthood Program (CLAP / 2009-2012) invested €644,187 of EU and partner match funding to increase livelihood opportunities for marginalized youth by strengthening the capacity and activity of civil society organizations. CLAP advocacy efforts influenced policy makers and contributed to the expansion of legal space for local civil society when the Parliament took up a number of the project’s specific recommendations for legislative change relative to NGO work in Azerbaijan. South Caucasus Regional Children’s Action for Participation (ReCAP) was implemented in 2011-2012 together with SC in Armenia and Georgia to support secondary school students and their teachers and other community members to know, and then in campaigning to promote and protect their rights locally, nationally and regionally. The project also includes a Child Rights Governance situation analysis in each country and produced a Child (Youth) Participation Manual based on the successes and lessons learned in ReCAP.
Now the goal of Save the Children is for vulnerable children to be safe and protected, and better able to attain their rights. Our 2013-2015 strategic objectives are that vulnerable children in Georgia are supported to cope with psychosocial distress and integrate in society, and are protected from abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence.
What we do
Care and Maintenance of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Azerbaijan
The main aim of this UNHCR funded initiative is to provide protection and mixed solutions to the refugees and asylum seekers in Azerbaijan from foreign countries (Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Moldova). The project assures primary health care services for its beneficiaries such as: regular check-ups, disease diagnosis, treatments, regular follow up examinations and referrals for advanced medical services and hospitalization. Special emphasis is on disease prevention; preventive health screening is done for high risk groups (people with chronic heart disease, TB-patients’ family members, the elderly) and messaging/trainings focus on preventive care topics such as general hygiene, nutrition, TB, STI, HIV/AIDS and other topics identified by the refugees. The project also assures basic child health monitoring: weighting and measuring <5 children re: malnutrition and routine blood work re: anaemia; vitamins and iron-supplements are provided as needed.
Azerbaijan Strengthening Health Systems through Integrated Programs (AzSHIP)
Contributes to the USAID Intermediate result that ensures people are better informed about and advocate for health care services, healthy lifestyles, and patient rights and responsibilities. The Abt AZ SHIP team focuses its efforts in three areas: 1) Strengthening health communication capacity at the national level and among the media; 2) Further fostering patient-provider communication practices; and 3) Educating and mobilizing individuals and communities to improve health. The Recipient connects Component 4 activities to Component 3 activities linking bottom-up population activities and patient- centered approaches to MNCH, RH/FP, NCD, and TB QI processes.
Special Economic Action for the Blind
An 18-month project from February 2012 to improve the wellbeing of sight-impaired youth in Ganja (west Azerbaijan) and of their families by supporting modernized and market-oriented production at the Ganja city Training and Production Enterprises #1 and #2 of the Association for Blind Persons (ABP). The project provides education, information and training in production, sales/marketing, financial literacy, enterprises management and leadership and recruits a consultant to guide the local partner on market research, to build the capacity of ABP on business plan development and on how to secure a loan from Microfinance institutions. The project is being implemented with experienced national partner Bridge to the Future for 80 members of two Ganja BPA and their 284 family members who will directly benefit from the sales of the produced goods, having had the opportunity to increase their knowledge of modern business practices and markets as well as the chance to modernize and improve their skills. The action also impacts 30,000 members of the Association’s affiliates nationwide, and is leading to increased awareness for disability issues in Azerbaijan.