» V Inter-zone Cross Visits Session of Second Rural Investment Project


V Inter-zone Cross Visits Session of Second Rural Investment Project

23-12-2013, 15:50, Saw: 538

The Community networking carried out under Second Rural Investment Project (funded by the World Bank and Government of Azerbaijan and implemented by State Agency on Agricultural Credits under the Ministry of Agriculture of Azerbaijan Republic) is a proven, valuable tool for the development and integration of rural communities. AzRIP-2 uses networking to disseminate project experiences between communities across rural Azerbaijan. This program also allows people from different communities to establish interactive business relations, share mutual project benefits and openly communicate a wide variety of project development and implementation topics. The V Inter-zone Cross Visits Session was a community networking event held on September 20-25, 2013 in several rayons of rural Azerbaijan. The session targeted the building and strengthening of communication and relationships between the people of Gabala-Ismayilli-Oghuz-Zagatala-Balaken-Beylagan-Agjabedi-Barda-Gabala. Healthy dialogues and strong business relationships were established during its meetings and helped to raise the self-reliance and confidence of all participants.
The session's Introductory Workshop was held in Gabala town. The Deputy Head of Gabala Rayon Executive Committee on agrarian issues, Rahib Ahmadov, welcomed the participants with a speech describing the construction projects carried out in Gabala in recent years. He also talked about this region's successful collaboration with AzRIP-2 and the valuable socio-economic project development and implementation services it provided them, also about 10 successfully completed community projects and ongoing projects. Mr. Mirzayev ended his speech by expressing his wishes for success to all participants.
Subhan Asgarov, the Director of AzRIP-2, then welcomed the participants and gave them an overview of AzRIP’s estimable accomplishments and exceptional status among the many state programs on socio-economic development, as well as AzRIP’s success in improving the living conditions of Azerbaijan’s rural people and providing rural communities with access to valuable infrastructure services and Community Networking activities. Daniel Owen, the World Bank Task Team Leader for AzRIP-2 welcomed the participants on behalf of the World Bank stating that AzRIP is recognized as an extremely successful and exemplary project in the World Bank. D. Owen considered this workshop of Cross Visits Session as excellent reflection of AzRIP’2 achievement and accomplishments.
Guest of Introductory Workshop -Deputy Head of Ismayilli rayon Ex.Com, Hasan Hasanov expressed their pride in working with AzRIP and noted that all communities would benefit from collaborations like theirs.
Gulbaniz Ganbarova, AzRIP2 Deputy Director, Community Development and Capacity Enhancement Manager spoke about project operations, its estimable services and successful projects.
G. Ganbarova emphasized that AzRIP-2 Project Management Unit always focus on capacity building of partner communities and regularly supervise the operations of those communities that have great achievements in community development and display promptness in problem resolution.
She proudly mentioned that Community Networking program being one of the key directions of AzRIP-2 has started with 60 communities in 2005 while it covers 670 communities now. Wishing success to V Inter-zone Cross Visits Session, G. Ganbarova shifted to the next – “Community Networking” session of the workshop and considered successful implementation of this program as an important factor.
During the Project Zone Presentations, Program Specialists Farida Eminova (Mughan-Salyan ROO), Akif Kerimli (North ROO), Khudayar Gulmaliyev (North-West ROO) and Anar Hasanov (representative of Nakhchivan ROO) provided detailed descriptions of the completed and ongoing projects, mobilizations and training processes conducted in AzRIP-2 operation zones.
“AzRIP-2 expands Community Network” session covered the presentation of Timothy Madigan, representative of SEDA Program of East-West Management Institute INGO. The presenter introduced Socio-Economic Development Activity (SEDA) program implemented by East-West Management Institute and co-financed by USAID and the Government of Azerbaijan. He provided detailed information about SEDA mission which includes contributing to the advancement of the socio-economic development at the regional level in Azerbaijan by providing support for community-driven infrastructure projects and strengthening stakeholder participation in setting priorities for socio-economic strategies and programs in the regions.
“AzRIP-2 Income Generating Community Projects” session included presentation on “Management of income generating community micro-projects” made by Dr. Israyil Isgandarov, independent social development expert and Chairman of UMID Support to Social Development Public Union. While presenting the “Objective the income generating community micro-projects”, I. Isgandarov considered the sustainability of social projects as key principle, as well as community based income generating projects and to direct some part of these incomes to improving the social conditions of communities as main objective. He brought examples from three different types of income generating community micro-projects implemented by UMID SSD Public Union – “Improvement of potable water supply in the communities”, “Community-based support to milk producers” and “Community Service Centers, Apprenticeship”. The expert talked about the important sides of these projects including transparency and accountability, contractual conditions, challenges and solutions, business and social entrepreneurship and intersection of factors.
Under the “Successful community projects” session, presentations were made in two parallel groups which allowed session participants to become familiar with successful projects in AzRIP communities. In the I group, Sadulla Eyvazov (CG member and Municipal chairman) from Beylagan rayon, Ashigli I community made presentation on “Community participation during project implementation” and AzRIP-2 engineer Kamil Aliyev representing Gadabay rayon Ruzgar community made presentation on “Road repair project”. In the II group, Abdulla Hasanov (CG leader) from Babek rayon Mezre community made presentation on “Potable water artesian project” and Elman Mammadov (CG leader) from Ismayilli rayon, Buynuz community made presentation on “The role of women and ensuring gender balance in community projects.” Presentations in both groups were followed by summary of group presentations.
After the announcement of Inter-zone Cross Visits Session program, evaluation and closing of the introductory workshop, the CVS then continued with community cross-visits, workshops and site visits. Session attendees first visited host communities in the North zone, including the Buynuz and Tazakand communities of Ismayilli, Tuntul community of Gabala and Padar community of Oghuz. This allowed visitors to become better acquainted with community projects, share their firsthand experiences and learn from the lessons of their neighbors. Topics discussed during the North zone visits included "Social Participation," "Legal Status of Completed Projects – Legal Ownership and Handover," “Socio-economic Impact of AzRIP” and "Women Participation in Community Projects."
Next, visits were made to the Yengiyan and Gandakh communities of Zagatala, Gaysa and Gazma communities of Balaken. There the topics discussed were "Environmental Protection," "Intra-community Conflict Resolution," “The Role of Income-generating Projects in Community Life” and "Preliminary and Final Handover of Completed Community Projects." Visits were then made to Boyat and Salmanbeyli in Agjabedi, Baharabad and Guneshli in Beylagan. The topics covered there were "Problem Ranking – Strategic Plan," "Social Institutionalization – Social Capital", "Intra-community Social Groups," and “Collabortion with Government Structures.” The last set of cross-visits was made to Galabadin in the Agjabedi rayon, Alachadirli, Soghanverdilar and Gazakhlar in the Barda rayon. The topics discussed in this set of visits were "Community Contribution," "İmpact of Local Characteristics on Technical Implementation," “Collaboration with Donors” and "Operation and Maintenance." All interactive discussions were followed by question and answer sessions and visits to relevant projects, some projects completed and some currently in process.
During this period, the participants visited Khan Palace, Caravansary, Historical-Ethnographical and National Utility Art Museums, Kish and Jotari Castles in Sheki and Saint Jarjis Prophet Mosque in Beylagan and were impressed by trips and excursions. In Balaken, session participants visited National Leader Heydar Aliyev park, put flowers in front of his monument in tribute to the memory of genius leader. During leisure time after each community site visit, participants became tourists of the host regions by visiting local historical sites. As tourists they became more familiar with the history, local traditions and cuisine of each host community and they were warmly welcomed by community representatives. These visits were held in the context of interesting chats, amusements, music and good mood and made people representing various regions of Azerbaijan closer to each-other and consolidated their friendships that was newly started with acquaintance during CVS.
Grand opening ceremonies of AzRIP2 funded community projects – “Repair of Potable Water Pipeline” in Tazakand community of Ismayilli rayon and Yengiyan community of Zagatala rayon and “Repair of Clinic” in Tuntul community of Gabala rayon were held like real festivals as part of V Inter-zone Cross Visits Session. These opening ceremonies of successfully completed community projects that were striking examples of AzRIP-2 operations in improving the living conditions of people were attended by notable guests, including Daniel Owen, the World Bank Task Team Leader for AzRIP2; Subhan Asgarov, Director of Second Rural Investment Project; Gulbaniz Ganbarova, Deputy Director and Community Development/Capacity Enhancement Manager of AzRIP2; Hasan Hasanov, Representative of Ismayilli rayon Ex.Com.; Vasif Yagubov, Deputy Head of Gabala rayon Ex.Com.; Sabir Bayramov, Head Doctor of Gabala rayon Central Hospital; and AzRIP2 Program Specialists – Farida Eminova (Mughan-Salyan ROO), Akif Kerimli (North ROO), Khudayar Gulmaliyev (North-west ROO). All of these guests made speeches at the opening ceremonies, congratulated the beneficiary communities and shared their joy.
Many community leaders also thanked the representatives of AzRIP for their guidance and dedicated support. They included Aghalar Badalov (Deputy Head of Ismayilli rayon Akhsakals Councils on Tazakand community and teacher at village school), Eynulla Baghirov (CG leader), Shirvan Nazirov (Local Ex.Com. representative in Tuntul), Karim Karimov (Municipal Chairman), Ramiz Shabanov (Yengiyan community, CG leader), Shaig Alikhanov (CG member), Ziya Mammadov (Municipal Chairman). They all cited AzRIP as a clear example of the government’s attention to community needs and dedication to improving the living standards and infrastructure of communities willing to invest in their own futures. They recognized that AzRIP’s services are important and valuable to the sustainable development of Azerbaijan’s rural areas. These speeches were followed by traditional ribbon cuttings and visits to the sites of the completed projects. To further express their pride and appreciation, amateur ensembles from the villages presented concert programs for all to enjoy.
Prior to the start of Final Workshop of V Cross Visits Session held in Gabala town, participants and guests got acquainted with “Community Achievements Exhibition” in the lobby of conference hall. The exhibition was very interesting to all and displayed wide range of agricultural crops specific to North, North-West, Mughan-Salyan and Nakhchivan zones – garden, kitchen-garden and field crops, meat and dairy products, natural and mineral waters and medicinal herbs, as well as cuisine specimens, bakery and confectionery goods were presented. Drawings, handicrafts and models symbolizing AzRIP attracted everyone’s attention in the exhibition. At the Final Workshop, AzRIP2 Director Subhan Asgarov, the World Bank Task Team Leader Daniel Owen, the World Bank Europe and Central Asia Region Sector Manager on Social Development Elizabeth Huybens, AzRIP2 Deputy Director, Community Development and Capacity Enhancement Manager Gulbaniz Ganbarova made speeches.
Following the film reflecting the progress of V Inter-zone Cross Visits Session thoroughly, a summary of the community cross-visits was presented by AzRIP2 Deputy Director Gulbaniz Ganbarova, Prime Trainer Tunzala Hajiyeva, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Ashraf Nasirov (Mughan-Salyan ROO), representative of Nakhchivan ROO Anar Hasanov and Information & Communications Officer of North ROO Sabire Mehdiyeva. The summary was followed by a video presentation about the unexampled community project implemented in Zagatala rayon, Yengiyan community. Then, group works describing what was seen, learned and recommended during the site visits were organized by different groups, each representing the strengths and weaknesses of visited communities, as well as what they have seen, heard, learned and would recommend after having discussions within their groups. The workshop continued with presentation of group works in plenary. Community members, including Eldaniz Doldolov (CG leader, Gaysa community, Balaken rayon), Elman Mammadov (CG member, Buynuz community, Ismayilli rayon), Zakir Bayramov (CG leader, Kebirli community, Tartar rayon), Latif Hamidov (CG member, Garaaghaji community), Goychak Alasgarova (CG leader, Taza Alvadi community, Masalli rayon), Mahammad Akhundov (CG member, Danyeri community, Sherur rayon of Nakhchivan AR), Yegana Mammadova (CG leader, I Ashigli community, Beylagan rayon), Sadulla Eyvazov (Municipality Chairman) shared with participants their impressions, as well as what they have seen and learned during six-days session and provided their recommendations.
During the conference wrap-up, Subhan Asgarov expressed his thanks to all participants, to AzRIP staff and stakeholders for their successful implementation of the V Inter-zone Cross Visits Session, and to local authorities and hosts for their support and hospitality.
The V Inter-zone Cross Visits Session was another event of AzRIP Community Networking program that achieved its goal. It was successful in helping communities across rural Azerbaijan to share constructive information about their experiences and achievements, challenges encountered and lessons learned during all phases of project implementation. Furthermore, people from many different communities were able to exchange their experiences and opinions and build binding business relations. Their broad networking will help to promote sustainable projects and sustainable relationships throughout Azerbaijan.

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