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Regional Capacity Building Conferences

1-03-2012, 09:55, Saw: 481

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Azerbaijan Rural Investment Project (AzRIP) held its Annual Regional Capacity Building Conferences in its North and Northwest operating zones. AzRIP is implemented by the State Agency on Agricultural Credits under the Ministry of Agriculture of the Azerbaijan Republic and is funded by the Government of Azerbaijan and the World Bank. The Regional Capacity Building Conferences targeted members of communities in the zones in which they were held, giving them forums to share their community development and capacity enhancement experiences with attendees from neighboring communities. These conferences took place in energetic atmospheres and were welcome contributions to AzRIP’s highly successful community networking program. Representatives from many communities that have collaborated with AzRIP gave presentations sharing their experiences, such as the new skills they acquired, the achievements they made and the problems they encountered. They collaborated in group discussion sessions where they offered and acquired detailed information about the many benefits of their community projects and the lessons they learned during technical implementation. These interactive discussions, which focused on their recommendations and their advice, were an integral part of the conference agenda and were conducted with openness and support. One of the most interesting points of each of the conferences was when presentations were made by community leaders from the most successful AzRIP-supported projects.

After the presentations and discussions were complete, conference evaluations were completed and closing statements were made.

The Regional Capacity Building Conferences play an important role in AzRIP’s community networking plan. The conferences are held annually in AzRIP project zones, both for and by the communities they support. They provide a forum where representatives from those communities can share their achievements and their lessons learned using presentations and discussion sessions with attendees from neighboring communities and rayons, allowing all to expand their knowledge and skills.

These conferences were organized by the Project Assistance Team of AzRIP Project Management Unit (PMU) in North (Ismayilli) and Northwest (Ganja) zones on February 27 and 29, 2012. The conferences were attended by over 100 members of approximately 30 communities in those AzRIP operating zones.

Conference attendees included AzRIP Director Subhan Asgarov; AzRIP Deputy Director and Community Development and Capacity Enhancement Manager, Gulbaniz Ganbarova; Deputy Head of Ismayilli rayon Ex.Com on socio-economic issues, Rovshan Aghayev; AzRIP Project Assistance Team Leader, Kamala Aghayeva; AzRIP Program Specialists Akif Kerimli (North zone) and Farida Eminova (Northwest zone). During the opening sessions of the conferences, these knowledgeable people made speeches that emphasized the value and importance of sharing and gathering knowledge on community development and capacity enhancement and spoke about AzRIP operations covering 2005-2012 as a demonstration of the government’s attention to the needs of the Azerbaijani people and ongoing collaboration with the World Bank regarding AzRIP-2. Speeches emphasized special place of AzRIP among other state reforms and programs on regional socio-economic development under the leadership of Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the president of Azerbaijan Republic which serve for the development of regions, raising the level of living standards and improved use of infrastructure services. Activities and achievements under community networking were also mentioned by the speakers. Speeches were followed by sessions in parallel groups in order to get conference participants familiar with community projects, experience and lessons learnt during technical implementation in the communities.

Then community representatives made presentations on various topics including Shamsiyya Ahmadova’s (CPC member in Diyalli community, Ismayilli rayon) presentation on “Positive changes in the community as a result of mobilization”, Hajagha Huseynov’s (CPC member in Arabmehdibay community, Aghsu rayon) presentation on “Operations and maintenance of community projects”, Kazim Ismayilov’s (CPC chairman in Aghamalioghlu community, Goranboy rayon) presentation on “Social participation in community projects” and Afruz Babayeva’s (CPC member in Sarov community, Tartar rayon) on “Increased women activeness in the community as a result of collaboration with AzRIP and impact of this activeness on community development”.

Outcomes and useful findings of interactive discussions included: partner communities have succeeded in integration; relationships with local authorities have improved; leadership skills are mainly discovered during presentations and speeches; there is high level of ownership and self-reliance in the communities; it is important to learn from past mistakes; presentation skills have improved; active participation of women in community development is important and it is useful to learn the female leaders’ experiences. Conference participants prepared recommendations based on observations of discussions around the presentations, achievements, failures and lessons learnt in the communities; these recommendations were for communities to consider in their future activities. Facilitators described the importance of establishing a community project committee that consists of community members, municipal councilors and Ex.Com representatives. This is essential for proper project operation and maintenance, and increases project and community transparency. Many procedures that can be used for fundraising and managing contributions were described and discussed. The facilitators also highlighted the importance of the active participation of all social groups in all stages of community project work. They stressed how community project efficiency requires the close involvement of women in all community activities. They also emphasized the benefits of support by elderly and influential people, of allowing youth to be involved in problem resolution and of focusing on technical safety and environmental protection issues.

Speeches were made by honorary guests from AzRIP’s North and North-western zones. They included Rafael Melikov, CPC chairman of Mikhligovag community, Gabala rayon; Amir Jafarov, CPC chairman of Hamzali community, Gabala rayon; Gismat Jalilov, CPC member of Yemishanly community, Gabala rayon; Seymur Nasirov, CPC member of Lengebiz community, Aghsu rayon; Shahbaba Ganbarov, CPC member of Gashad community, Aghsu rayon; Almara Rustamova, CPC member of Diyalli community, Ismayilli rayon; Anara Abdullayeva, CPC member of Soltankend community, Ismayilli rayon; Azer Baghirov, CPC member of Tazakand community from North zone; and community representatives from North-western zone including Adil Garayev, CPC member of Khagani community, Goygol rayon; Ismayil Orujov, CPC member of Mollajalilli community, Ingilab Hatamov, CPC member of Sarov community, Tartar rayon; Lamiya Mammadova, CPC chairlady of Rahimli community, Goranboy rayon; and Gizbes Aliyeva, CPC member of Bakhchakurd community. Their presentations were valuable contributions to the conferences.

Following the guest speeches was the the completion of participants’ conference evaluations. Finally, all of the conferences were closed by the motivating words of AzRIP Deputy Director and Community Development and Capacity Enhancement Manager, Gulbaniz Ganbarova.

Both conferences aimed to enhance community development, knowledge and the capacity of communities, all of which were successfully conducted and achieved their set goals.

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