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WHERE THERE’S A WILL THERE’S A WAY

14-05-2014, 15:41, Saw: 308

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The majority of the population in Gulovsha village deals with farming: breeding animals and growing vegetables. The community is comprised of 370 families including some IDPs. The population is faced with numerous socio-economic challenges and has partly succeeded in solving these problems either with internal funds or the donor support. For example, the community of Gulovsha implemented a “School Rehabilitation” project with a total cost of $21,000 (25% from community contribution) using the financial support of CHF International in 2001. Then, the community succeeded in the implementation of an “Electric System Repair” project with a total cost of $12,960 (25% from community contribution) using the assistance of Save the Children International Humanitarian Organization. One more achievement for the community members is related to the “Family Planning and Reproductive Health Initiatives” education project.

Even though implemented projects made the community members content, they were not fully happy about the news: the community’s major problem – potable water supply of the village was not yet solved. Indeed, the community had made efforts to solve this issue some years ago. In 2001 the community started cooperating with Save the Children to realize its biggest desire. However, due to a lack of funds it was impossible to solve this problem. Afterwards, community members lost their hopes to have potable water in the village any time in future.

It was the result of this distrust that AzRIP’s intention to support the communities in improving access to social infrastructure including potable water supply was received with certain hesitations in the community of Gulovsha. Nevertheless, the community addressed the Regional Operations Office of the Project and thus AzRIP decided to support this community. The Service Provider for AzRIP’s Lower-Shirvan zone organized a two-day Participatory Rural Appraisal workshop consistently attended by more than 200 community members each time in March 2006. At the end of the workshop, community members unanimously decided to design a project for potable water supply of the community.

Thanks to the efforts of the CPC, the project proposal was successfully designed and awarded with grant in June 2006. Total project cost was $49,874 with a $4,987 community contribution. They decided to install a German production water purifying device, 1 water tank with the capacity of 20 tons, 2 faucets, and 46 water taps within the project.

The participation of women in the realization of community projects in Gulovsha has been successful. Mobilizing them was not easy for the CPC. The CPC members and some community activists were faced with challenges in collecting the required community contribution. Due to many years of conditioning with respect to living conditions being affected by the socio-psychological impact of different structures and failures of recent years, some community members were suspicious of achieving the intended goal.

Noticing all these problems, active women of the community went house-to-house trying to convince people that the project reflects the public interest of the community and contribution from everyone is very important. As a result, the women’s initiative to organize and serve lunch for the workers involved in the project implementation was supported by all the families. Names of contributing people were put in public places frequented by the community, even in the passenger compartment of the Gulovsha-Mingachevir fixed-route bus in order to ensure the transparency and publicly influence at all social levels of the community.

Women are currently the most active community members among the others. They were very active both during the PRA workshop and small group works. They closely participated in the project proposal development and overcame all challenges in raising community contributions and project implementation. Some women members of the community of Gulovsha participated in the Regional Capacity Enhancement Conference. Using their knowledge and experience in: community development, mobilization, raising/collecting community contributions, and involvement/role of women in project implementation; these women shared their experience with the workshop participants. They also gave recommendations and proudly spoke about the established “Community Fund”. It was emphasized that such funds form people’s sense of ownership with their projects, ensures project sustainability, and is an incomparable means for gathering people around their problems.
Nusrat Seyidov,
Community leader

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