Azerbaijan has considerably reduced poverty and unemployment levels, largely owing to the oil-driven economic growth. Hence, there is an urgent need to translate this successful growth into augmented opportunities for equitable socio-economic participation and inclusiveness. The national development strategy Azerbaijan: Vision 2020 recognizes the role that civil society can play in delivering services to the vulnerable population and formulating public policies. To complement the government efforts in this direction, EU and UNDP signed a framework agreement to support civil society to address needs of vulnerable groups. For this purpose, UNDP developed a project “Enabling civil society to play a greater role in advancing socio-economic rights of vulnerable populations“. The project will support civil society initiatives at national and local levels aimed at promoting and advancing rights of vulnerable groups through addressing social inclusion, socio-economic, non-discrimination and equality needs of vulnerable groups, particularly women, PWD, children and young people, imprisoned persons in Azerbaijan. The project also supports implementation of Convention on Children Rights, CEDAW and Convention of Rights of People with Disabilities.
To achieve the project objectives, UNDP partners with 12 CSOs, each of which has experience and track record in working for and with vulnerable groups. Throughout the project duration, each of the 12 CSOs will implement different initiatives aiming to promote and protect the rights of vulnerable groups, with the overall support from UNDP. The project will support the partner CSOs to 1) utilize human-rights based approach in promoting the rights of the vulnerable groups; 2) promote social inclusion and socio-economic rights of the vulnerable groups at the local level; 3) promote the issues of non-discrimination and equality. The activities will be implemented in different regions of Azerbaijan.
The project will also contribute to the achievement of the Country Programme Outcome By 2020, the Azerbaijan economy is more diversified and generates enhanced sustainable growth and decent work, particularly for youth, women, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups. The project’s strategy is in line with UNDP corporate strategy on Civil Society and Civil Engagement.
- The overall objective of the project is to increase the role of the civil society in advancing the socio-economic rights of vulnerable populations.
- Build capacity of CSOs to promote social inclusion and human-rights based approach
- Support small scale community projects through non-governmental organizations to promote socio-economic rights, issues of equality and non-discrimination.
- Non-governmental and community-based organisations will be supported to utilise human-rights based approach in advancing the socio-economic rights of the vulnerable groups.
- Social inclusion and socio-economic rights of vulnerable groups, particularly women, PWD, children and young people, imprisoned persons, will be advanced at the local level.
- Capacity of targeted civil society organisations will be increased to utilise human-rights based approach in advancing the social inclusion, equality and socio-economic rights of the vulnerable groups.
- Issues of non-discrimination and equality will be promoted through active engagement of civil society in community development and social inclusion.
- Inception Phase was completed successfully and an inception report was produced.
- Functioning Project Management Unit was established.
- At least 10 civil society initiatives targeting vulnerable groups were established.
- Capacity needs assessment report and development plans were produced.
- A training on M&E was held for CSOs.
- At least one organisation received expert assistance to improve or develop internal organisational policies.
- At least two thematic trainings on issues of human rights and vulnerable groups were organised.
- At least two networking meetings were held.
- Trainings on Communication and Advocacy, Human-Rights based Approach and Organisational Management and a networking meeting were held for CSOs.
- A new topic of Social Enterpreneurship was introduced to CSOs in order to better understand the alternative financing mechanisms of community projects and reduce dependency on the external financing.
- Strengthened institutional and thematic capacities were reported by CSOs.
- FCC has now been made fully functional, with more than 153 juveniles with disorder benefitting from its services.
- 41 prison monitoring visits were conducted and 4 books produced to improve the prison monitoring practices in Azerbaijan.
- Mentoring and counselling were provided to businesses established by current and former prisoners, and 2 woodcutting businesses were established inside the Sheki Prison.
- TV programmes, films and booklets discussing the labour rights of prisoners and PwDs, state policy and quota system were developed and disseminated.
- 855 prisoners were provided with free legal and psychological aid.
- Five trainings were held in partnership with 12 CSOs with experience in working for and with vulnerablegroups. All partner CSOs had a chance to define their capacity development needs in their respective proposals.
- Two advocacy campaigns on human rights issues, non-discrimination and equality were conducted
- Two policy research papers, “Unemployment insurance system in Azerbaijan: new mechanism of social protection” and “Current state and
- development prospects of self-employment policy in Azerbaijan” were produced and submitted to the Government.
- The “Know & Protect Your Rights” platfrom was established on social media to provide regular information on social and economic rights, promote legal defence activities offered by the government agencies, and encourage horizontal discussion among citizens.
- The capacity and technical base of Regional Children Mental Health Department of Shirvan City was enhanced to increase access of disadvantaged children and youth and their families to inclusive social services, providing support for more than 100,000 disadvantaged children and youth from Shirvan and surrounding regions. The centre was re-opened in May.
- A public awareness campaign was conducted to present and advocate the findings of the researches on inclusive education in Mingechevir and the irrigation problems in Khachmaz.
- The “Opportunities for and forms of civil society participation in local socio-economic development” guidebook was produced and disseminated to the local NGOs.
- Five research articles in seven news media outlets were published and promoted via social media platforms.
- The training “Digital Communication Strategy” aimed at building capacity in PR management, data journalism, development of communication and advocacy strategy for 12 female youth leaders was conducted.
- The “One of us - Different from us” meeting was conducted for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)to raise public awareness on the problems faced by children with ASD and increase their integration to society.
- Two online webinars -“Activity of civil society with vulnerable groups and media” and “Beneficial management methods and the usage of mediarelations: Communication opportunities and working mechanisms” were conducted in April and May. More than 700 online users followed the webinars and participated in discussions.
- An open journalism training for over 20 media representatives from 15 regions was held in Mingachevir in order to introduce the concept of open data, use of social media and the preparation and use of infographics.
- "Gender Focal Points in Azerbaijan" was produced.
- A policy brief on the current practices, problems and solutions in the promotion of non-discrimination, fighting domestic violence, equality law and strategic litigationin in Azerbaijan was produced and submitted to the relevant government authorities.
- A roundtable and workshop on the economic empowerment of women were held in Mingechevir.
- Four journalists’ investigations on women empowerment and non-discrimination were published in February and March 2018.