USAID/Azerbaijan - Our Programs: Democracy and Governance
SUPPORTING AZERBAIJAN IN EFFECTING DEMOCRATIC REFORMS
Democratic reform is essential to Azerbaijan's long-term stability and development as a reliable strategic partner. USAID programs promote media freedom, support electoral reforms, and encourage citizens to engage their government to solve community problems. USAID also works to strengthen the capacity of parliamentary staff and members, and promote greater institutional transparency throughout the government.
Independent media plays a critical role in building an informed and proactive citizenry and USAID focuses on training journalists, assisting with the establishment and strengthening of alternative media outlets, and organizing legal defense services for journalists. USAID also provides targeted technical assistance to the government and other key stakeholders to develop an impartial legal framework for improving the transparency of electoral and political processes. In addition, USAID is working to increase public participation and implement advocacy campaigns and community development projects.
- Building Local Capacity for Development (BLCD) Project
Date: September 2012 - September 2016
Implementing Partner: Chemonics International
The Building Local Capacity for Development (BLCD) Project will support increases in the organizational and technical capacity of selected civil society organizations (CSO) active in engaging citizens in democracy, governance, health and economic reform efforts. The project will assist up to 20 USAID-selected Azerbaijan civil society organizations (CSOs) to develop into mature organizations operating at high professional levels, enabling them to effectively engage with their constituents, successfully support national initiatives for fostering strengthened democracy and good governance (DG) and fostering informed citizen engagement in public interest policy dialogue with the Government of Azerbaijan (GOAJ). Three Project objectives have been developed to help guide implementation: 1) strengthen the organizational and technical capacities of key CSOs engaged in national, regional and community public interest agendas; 2) develop highly professional local CSO Resource Center(s), accessible to smaller and less capable CSOs working on public interest agendas; and 3) improve legal and regulatory frameworks to safeguard CSO enabling environments, sustainability and independent CSO public interest agenda roles.
Socio-Economic Development Activity (SEDA)
Date: 09/30/11 – 09/29/16
Implementing Partner: East-West Management Institute, UMID SSD Public Union; ICNLThe aim of SEDA is to contribute 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 that SEDA will target and beyond. This will be accomplished through the implementation of three complementary components. Under the first component, SEDA will (i) revitalize and establish Community Development Councils (CDCs) in more than 100 communities in Aran, Guba-Khachamaz, and a still to be determined third region; (ii) strengthen CDCs’ capacity through training, networking, information and experience sharing; and (iii) support 150 infrastructure projects and 12 cluster projects in these communities. Under the second component, SEDA will build cohesive networks of non-governmental, governmental, and private sector stakeholders that work together on regional socio-economic development initiatives. Under the third component, SEDA will help local and central institutions of the Government of Azerbaijan in target regions and at the central level develop and use an inclusive approach to socio-economic development, including preparation of a regulatory framework for local and central level citizen participation and piloting of small scale public private partnerships. The program is co-financed by the Government of Azerbaijan.
- Strengthening Civic Engagement in Political Processes in Azerbaijan
Implementing Partner: NDI
This 3-year program seeks to develop a more pluralistic political system in Azerbaijan in which multiple points of view are represented. Specifically, the CEPPS implementing partner(s) seeks to achieve the following objectives: 1) Develop civic leadership skills outside traditional political groups in an effort to promote the representation of a diversity of citizen and political viewpoints in policymaking; 2) Increase and expand popular political participation; and 3) Strengthen civic participation to improve the transparency and credibility of Azerbaijan’s democratic and electoral processes.
Azerbaijan New Media Program (ANMP)Date: 09/30/10 – 09/29/13Implementing Partner: International Research and Exchange Board (IREX)
The new media program increases supply, demand and access to news and information important to Azerbaijani citizens by strengthening citizen driven virtual/on-line communities in Azerbaijan. Through 20 “FYI” community information centers, universities and selected rural facilities equipped with Internet/Wi-Fi connectivity, technical support, and training in the use of new technology and media, the program will strengthen on-line communities and promote information sharing. The program will build the capacity of media lawyers to assist journalists in need of legal services. Through training and innovative methods, the ANMP also supports local capacity to increase the quantity of high quality, in-depth and innovative media products. Support is also provided to regional TV channels to produce documentaries, talk-shows and investigative reports on issues that are up-to-date and matter to citizens.
- Azerbaijan Rule of Law Program
Implementing Partner: ABA/ROLI
The overall goal of the Azerbaijan Rule of Law Program is to increase citizens’ understanding of and ability to pursue domestic and international legal remedies with the purpose of supporting promotion and protection of human rights and implementation of laws in Azerbaijan. This goal will be achieved through rule of law activities that support: access to legal aid by targeted groups, individuals and NGOs, with an emphasis on legal assistance in pursuing strategically significant and/or representative cases; improve the legal education and professionalism of lawyers, with a special focus on youth and women; and support rule of law civic education projects.
The activities aimed at improving access to legal aid entail an expansion of the "Traveling Lawyers Program" through Legal Advocacy Centers. This training will continue and expand to new regions under this program; moreover, by partnering with IREX IATP, ABA ROLI will enhance the impact of the regional access to justice activities by creating searchable computer databases containing "plain language" answers to frequently asked legal questions to be stored in stand-alone terminals in IREX's regional offices. Access to justice will also be enhanced through the provision of legal assistance and services to the NGO community to improve advocacy surrounding strategic human rights cases.
ABA ROLI will implement a civic education project to increase the general public's knowledge of its legal rights. This will be accomplished via an expansion of the highly successful street law program. ABA ROLI will increase both the geographic scope of this program and its demographic targets by expanding the human rights-themed education courses to high schools and universities.
NGO Legal Enabling Environment Program (LEEP)Date: 01/01/11-09/30/12Implementing Partner: International Center for Not for Profit Law (ICNL)
Under the NGO Legal Enabling Environment Program (LEEP), the International Center for Not for Profit Law (ICNL) provides short term technical assistance and shares international best practices for improving the legal enabling environment for NGOs in Azerbaijan. Specific activities will include monitoring implementation of relevant legislation; technical assistance on legislative initiatives and their implementation; educating NGOs on NGO-related legal issues; creation of a “hot line” designed to provide assistance to NGOs to meet financial reporting requirements and resolve other legal matters. Under this program, the Azerbaijani Young Accountants Union assists local NGOs and Ministry of Finance to address weaknesses in NGO financial reporting. ICNL will also prepare and disseminate several publications including a Manual on How to Register Grants, a Manual on How to Register an NGO and a Manual on Financial Reporting.
Strengthening Access to Justice in AzerbaijanDate: 09/29/11-09/28/13Implementing Partner: Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
The grant will support Legal Resource Centers in Sheki and Lankaran to provide free legal services for citizens and training for legal professionals. The OSCE Office will organize a series of study trips for representatives of MoJ, Collegium of Advocates and defense lawyers to train them on best practices of functioning bar associations and legal aid systems, and develop a new cadre of Azerbaijani lawyers with expertise in promoting compliance with fair trial standards. The grant also will support the translation, printing and distribution of key legal reference materials.
Supporting Anti-trafficking in AzerbaijanDate: 09/29/11-09/28/13Implementing Partner: Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
The program will improve coordination and capacity among key government (anti-trafficking focal points at relevant ministries, Victim Assistance Center, etc.) and non-governmental actors in assisting victims of trafficking and forced labor. OSCE also will support three shelters run by local NGOs whose beneficiaries are women, men and children, and secure legal services to register undocumented children with authorities to reduce their vulnerability to trafficking. The program will train journalists on traditional and new media tools for investigating and reporting trafficking and forced labor cases and provide understanding of relevant domestic and international legal instruments applicable to Azerbaijan.
Women’s Participation Program in AzerbaijanDate: 09/23/11 – 09/22/13Implementing partner: Counterpart International
Women’s Participation Program (WPP) seeks to improve the status of women in Azerbaijan by raising public awareness on issues that affect women; advancing women’s influence in the political process and developing the capacity of women-focused Civil Society Organization’s and government institution’s that work on women’s issues. WPP is implemented by Counterpart International and five competitively selected Azerbaijani Civil Society Organizations (TBD). Key interventions include: supporting broad public awareness and issues based advocacy campaigns on women’s issues; building institutional capacity of 5 partner civil society organizations, building linkages and networks among women political activists, CSOs and other stakeholders; organizing women’s leadership conferences and leadership awards; and promoting political platforms on women’s issues. The program will also work with the State Committee on Family, Women and Children and the State NGO Council.
- Small Grants & Synergy
Implementing Partner: Eurasia Foundation
The Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF) provides grants and technical assistance in the areas of civil society development, small and medium entrepreneurship, and analytical capacity in independent, policy-related research. Programs implemented by EPF build institutional capacity, promote corporate social responsibility among private companies, increase youth activism, promote civic activity in support of social and economic reform and emphasize transparency in governance and fiscal management. Current partners in Azerbaijan include USAID, Carnegie Corporation of New York, UK Department for International Development, Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Lodestar Foundation, StatoilHydro, and the US Department of State Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.
- Small Project Assistance
Implementing Partner: Peace Corps
The Small Project Assistance (SPA) program supports the efforts of Peace Corps Volunteers and their host communities to plan and implement community projects. In 2008, the Peace Corps plans to award grants to community groups to implement high visibility projects, including construction and rehabilitation activities; English language training; and organizational development and project management skill-related training programs for Azerbaijan citizens.
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