EWMI’s Socio-Economic Development Activity (SEDA) in Azerbaijan includes a grants program that supports organizations that engage in advocacy on socio-economic development at local and regional levels. Poverty reduction, participatory water management, environmental protection, improved social services, and efficient seed registration procedures are among the initiatives that civil society organizations (CSOs) have launched with grants from EWMI SEDA.
On August 10, 2012, EWMI awarded more than $85,000 to six CSOs in the Aran region for their innovative projects. Internally displaced persons, farmers, youth, the elderly and people with limited physical abilities are among the more than 30,300 citizens who have benefitted already from the implementation of these projects from September 2012 to June 2013.
“SEDA-supported projects address real problems in our village,” said Malik Azimov, Chief of Shahverdili municipality in Imishli rayon. His village was among 30 communities where 300 citizens were surveyed about local environmental issues. Dalga Ecology and Nature Protection Public Union, a EWMI SEDA grantee, is collaborating with citizens, local authorities, and schools to identify solutions for the environmental issues concerning the Araz and Kura rivers. “We believe that this project will result in better waste management systems in Shahverdili community,” Azimov said.
“The grant we received from EWMI SEDA is supporting our advocacy initiative for the simplification of seed variety registration that will directly benefit 93 members of our association and the people that work with them,” said Farid Firidunov, Director of AKTIVTA. “This will result in decreased seed prices for all community members.”
Other EWMI grantees have initiated equally important efforts within their communities. Aran Humanitarian Regional Development Organization from Barda rayon has brought together citizens, Limited Liability Companies, and local officials to improve water management systems. The Youth Enlightenment and Social Development Public Union from Beylagan rayon has involved the elderly to identify their needs and supported them to get access to social support benefits. The Society for Human Research and Regional Cooperation and the Community Development Center in Goychay rayon have collaborated to improve access for people with disabilities to social services. Progress Social Research Public Union from Imishli rayon is supporting local authorities to implement the UN Millennium Development Goals for Azerbaijan. Over the next four years, EWMI will provide $500,000 to support these and other trade, professional, and farmers associations in furthering socio-economic development at the community and regional level in Azerbaijan.