» Regional Capacity Building Conferences


Regional Capacity Building Conferences

9-12-2010, 10:08, Saw: 352

In November and December, Azerbaijan Rural Investment Project (AzRIP) Assistance Team held its Regional Capacity Building Conferences in its North, Northwest, and Nakhchivan operating zones.

Regional Capacity Building Conferences are held annually in AzRIP project zones, for and by the communities supported through AzRIP. These conferences, part of AzRIP's efforts towards community networking, provide a valuable tool used to disseminate AzRIP's advanced practices on community development, integration, ways to establish interactive business relations, share mutual benefits, and communicate numerous community project development topics to communities across Azerbaijan. The Regional Capacity Building Conferences play an important role in AzRIP's community networking program. They provide a forum where representatives from project communities attend presentations and discussion sessions, in order to share their achievements and lessons learned with attendees form neighboring communities and rayons, thus allowing all to expand their knowledge and skills.

Nakhchivan zone

The first conference from this series of events was held on November 11, 2010, in Nakhchivan city of Nakhchivan project zone. During the opening session of the conference, Gulbaniz Ganbarova, AzRIP's Deputy Director, and Community Development/ Capacity Enhancement Manager; along with Khalil Aliyev, Nakhchivan Regional Advisory Centre Director; Kamala Aghayeva, AzRIP's Project Assistance Team Leader; Abulfat Ahmadov, Program Specialist; and Yamantaj Amirova, Community Development/ Monitoring Officer made speeches that emphasized the value and importance of sharing and gathering knowledge on community development and capacity enhancement. In their speeches, they stated how the region's socio-economic development and achievements are related to the high level support from the Nakhchivan Government and the communities' close collaboration with local authorities and municipalities. It was also emphasized that the economic conditions and living standards of rural communities have been improved as a direct result of 104 community projects completed under the original AzRIP; as well as the speeches covered the information about the ongoing projects under Additional Financing.

Parallel group sessions were conducted by community representatives. They described their communities' project experiences and lessons learnt. This included their many successes, as well as problems encountered during the technical implementation of their projects.

Community leaders made presentations on topics that included "Community Participation in Project Implementation" by Mubariz Shiraliyev, CPC Chairman for the Dudanga community, Sharur rayon; and "Ensuring Sustainability of Community Projects" presented by Shamil Garibov, CPC Chairman for the Hamzali community, Sharur rayon.

The presentation included information about the Dudanga community's history, area, and population which is comprised of 4119 persons. Mubariz Shiraliyev then continued to present AzRIP funded community project in detail, and noted that overall 10,497 beneficiaries from neighboring Damirchi, Zeyva and Makhta villages benefit from this project too.

While the presenter of the second group S. Garibov provided basic information about the community, he spoke proudly about the success of the completed project, and the community fund established to contribute for the long-term benefit and sustainability of the gained achievement. He noted that this fund encourages the formation of a sense of ownership over the projects, and that it also plays an important role for project sustainability as well as being a valuable tool to bring people together around their problems. He emphasized that AzRIP brings change not only to the community infrastructures, but also their minds.

An honorary guest of the conference Mirgasim Eminov from the Yukhary Yayji community, Sharur rayon, made a speech about their community's collaboration with AzRIP. His speech was followed by Elmira Guliyeva, CPC Chairperson from the Yukhary Uzunoba community reciting the poem which she dedicated to AzRIP and communities. Discussions on the presentations followed these speeches. 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.

Following the wrap-up session presented by Yamantaj Amirova was the presentation of certificates, keepsakes, and the completion of participants' conference evaluations. Finally, the conference was closed by the motivating words of AzRIP's Deputy Director and Community Development/ Capacity Enhancement Manager, Gulbaniz Ganbarova.

North zone

The second event of Regional Capacity Building Conferences was held on November 25, 2010, in Ismayilly, located in AzRIP's Northern project zone. The conference was attended by about 70 representatives from over 20 communities. Opening speeches were made by AzRIP's Deputy Director and Community Development/ Capacity Enhancement Manager, Gulbaniz Ganbarova; Ismayilly rayon's Deputy Head of Ex.Com on Socio-economic Issues, Rovshan Aghayev; PAT Leader, Kamala Aghayeva and Program Specialist (North zone), Akif Kerimli. All the speakers emphasized the value and importance of gathering knowledge on community development, sharing experiences and enhancing capacities.

The opening speeches were followed by films "AzRIP - Additional Financing phase" made by AzRIP and "Azerbaijan Rural Investment Project" made by the World Bank specialists. Both films showed the successful implementation of AzRIP according to the Presidential decree on Regional Socio-Economic Development as a demonstration of the government's attention to the needs of the Azerbaijani people; the films were watched by the participants with great interest.

After the films, community representatives conducted parallel group sessions. Presenters described their communities' project experiences during technical implementation and lessons learnt. This included their many successes, as well as problems they encountered during the technical implementation of their projects. The first two group sessions covered presentations on "Operations and Maintenance of Community Project" by Mubariz Aghayev, Municipal Chairman for the Malikchobanly community, Shamakhy rayon. As well as a presentation on "Achievements in community mobilization" by Sadig Isayev, CPC Chairman for the Galinchag community, Ismayilly rayon. Presenting on the Malikchobanly community with a population of 2700, M. Aghayev spoke about the AzRIP funded Potable Water Supply project (consisting of a 5550 m water pipeline, 25 public taps and a larger public tap facility), its operation, maintenance, environmental impacts, sustainability fund, lessons learned and achieved successes.

S. Isayev provided a brief informational session on the Galinchag community (population size - 2292), presenting their Road Rehabilitation (of 5400 m) project implemented in collaboration with AzRIP. He continued his presentation on the active participation and involvement of community in problem selection, prioritization, explanation and solution, as well as the operation of the sustainability fund.

Following, was a second parallel group session comprised of a presentation on "Socio-economic development project in Aghdam rayon" made by Asif Guliyev, a consultant of ELAT Agribusiness Consulting Centre. (ELAT was established in 1994. Its main objective is to create favorable conditions for entrepreneurship and development by providing information and advisory service to agricultural producers and land owners in Azerbaijan.)

A. Guliyev spoke about a capacity building on vegetable growing among IDPs and refugees in resettlements as well as provided comprehensive information about the initial preparation phase of the project, its activities and recent achievements.

The second group session included a presentation by Elbay Guliyev, the Chief Specialist of Humanitarian Regional Development Organization (ARAN). (This NGO has been operating in the central region of the country since 2001. ARAN attempts to: target the development of municipalities as local self-governance institutions, reduce poverty, support and monitor state policy, programs and strategies on socio-economic development, restore social infrastructure, develop and manage Revolving Funds, institutionalize free legal support services; as well protect the rights of poor and vulnerable people to ensure their active participation in decision making processes.) His presentation covered two economic development projects those being "Improvement of livelihood" and "Support to poor farmers in Central region."

Conference participants prepared recommendations based on observations of discussions around the presentations; these recommendations were for communities to consider in their future activities. Community members Rovshan Shiraliyev (Ismayilly rayon, Ismayillikand community CPC Chairman), Mazahir Ibrahimov (Aghsu rayon, Arabushagy community CPC Chairman), Almaz Mustafayeva (Goychay rayon, Mirzahuseynli community CPC Chairperson) and some others, as well as Mr. Peter Reid, the World Bank Task Team member asked questions on the presentations. AzRIP facilitators also provided information about the results of the group presentations and discussions. They described the importance of establishing a community project committee consisting of community members, municipal councilors and Ex.Com representatives. This is essential for proper project operation and maintenance, as well as increases project and community transparency. Many of the procedures used for fundraising and managing contributions were described and discussed. The facilitators also highlighted the importance of active participation from 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 from elderly and influential people, allowing youth to be involved in problem resolution, a focus on technical safety and environmental protection issues.

Next were the presentation of diplomas, certificates and keepsakes, and the completion of participants' conference evaluations. Finally, the conference was closed by the motivating words from AzRIP Deputy Director and Community Development/ Capacity Enhancement Manager, Gulbaniz Ganbarova.

North-West zone

A conference similar to the conference held in the North zone was organized in the North-west zone. It was held in Ganja city on December 07, 2010. The conference brought together over 60 representatives of 15 partner communities. Conference attendees also included AzRIP Director, Subhan Asgarov; World Bank Task Team Leader, Daniel Owen; AzRIP Deputy Director and Community Development/ Capacity Enhancement Manager, Gulbaniz Ganbarova; PAT Leader, Kamala Aghayeva, and North-west zone Program Specialist, Farida Eminova who made opening speeches and welcomed the participants. They all emphasized recent reforms conducted in the country, as well as AzRIP's estimable accomplishments and exceptional status among the many socio-economic development programs carried out under the leadership of Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan; giving an overview of AzRIP's success in improving the living conditions of Azerbaijan's rural people and providing rural communities with access to valuable infrastructure services. AzRIP's activities and achievements under the Community Networking program were also mentioned. Guests of this conference including; the Deputy Head of Gadabay rayon Ex.Com on agrarian issues, Rustam Naghiyev; as well as the Deputy Head of Goygol rayon Ex.Com on agrarian issues, Ilgar Mammadov, and a representative from Aghstafa rayon Ex.Com. Sabuhi Khanmammadov all of whom spoke about the ongoing construction works in their region and operations of new production areas. They noted the progress and improvement of living conditions, and expressed their pride in working with AzRIP. They noted that all communities would benefit from their collaboration.

After the showing of a film about AzRIP, two parallel group sessions were held. One on "Infrastructure community projects" which covered the "Collaboration of CPC and the local authorities during community project implementation" was presented by Ulkar Khalilova (CPC member in Garadaghly community, Goranboy rayon.) The second presentation was on the "Importance of social participation in community development" presented by Arif Bayramov (CPC member in Topalhasanli community, Goygol rayon). U. Khalilova provided information about the pre-project implementation conditions in the Garadaghly village, their collaboration with AzRIP, the close participation and involvement of local government structures in the implementation and completion phases of their School Repair project (this project included plastering and painting of 1804 m2 façade and installation of 107 PVC windows and 34 PVC doors,) and the benefits of the support from the government and overall accomplishments of the community. Her presentation was highly appreciated by the attendees. A. Bayramov who was representing the Topalhasanly community, talked about his community's Road Rehabilitation project (which includes 6100 m road, 20 culverts and 1200 m roadside ditch) and the social benefits of community participation in the mobilization and implementation of this project.

These sessions were followed by another parallel group session on "Community employment and economic opportunities" which included two presentations, one on "The role of livelihood projects in community life" by Aghjabedi rayon Avshar community group member Murad Jafarov. The second presentation was on the FAO funded project "Development project for capacity building of IDPs and refugees in new resettlements in Aghdam region," and was presented by the National Program Manager of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Chief Technical Adviser of the FAO Walter de Oliviera's comments and his answers to participants' questions were interesting highlights to this session. Interactive discussions held around the presentations were followed by facilitators' summary of group works and active participants of the conference were awarded with symbolic keepsakes of AzRIP.

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

Bölmələr: ---