Successful implementation of Rural Investment Project as well as the requests from Local Executive Committees, municipalities and rural population of new rayons encouraged the parties and resulted in the mutual agreement between the Government of Azerbaijan and the World Bank on additional funding for the extension of the Project. Negotiations regarding the Credit by the International Development Association (IDA) in the amount of SDR 9,500,000 (US$ 15 million equivalent) were held on February 13, 2008 in Baku, Azerbaijan. The total amount of the additional financing comprises US$ 25,56 million; whereas SDR 9,5 million (US$ 15 million equivalent) will be provided by the IDA as a Credit; US$ 8,9 million is the Government Counterpart Share and the remaining US$ 1,66 million will be the Beneficiary contribution.
It has been agreed that, the additional financing will be used to expand the project area up to the north and north-west regions of the Republic. Considering the lower income level of the population of the above-mentioned regions, initial idea of the implementation of AzRIP in these regions and the great number of requests from the communities, the World Bank Task Team decided that the inclusion of these regions is reasonable. Besides, the continuation of the project in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic where the living conditions are difficult because of the blockade has been agreed between the parties. During the negotiations, the Government of Azerbaijan was represented by the following respectable representatives as Mr. Ismet Abasov, the Minister of Agriculture; Mr. Razim Veliyev, General Director of the State Agency on Agricultural Credits under the Ministry of Agriculture; Mr. Soubhan Asgerov, AzRIP Project Director as well as the representatives of the Ministries of Finance, Economic Development and Justice.
AzRIP operations will cover five zones.
Additional Financing will cover:
Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Aghstafa, Ismayilly, Gazakh, Gabala, Tovuz, Oghuz, Gadabay, Sheki, Dashkesen, Gakh, Khanlar, Balaken, Barda, Zagatala, Tartar, Guba, Goranboy, Gusar, Shamakhi, Samukh, Gadabay, Aghsu, Khachmaz and Gobustan rayons. It is intended to extend the project lifetime for additional 3 years covering the years of 2005- 2012.
We would like to emphasize that the Azerbaijan Rural Investment Project is successfully implemented by the State Agency on Agricultural Credits under the Ministry of Agriculture. Charity mission marathon
Azerbaijan Rural Investment Project working under the slogan “We invest for community self-reliance and development!” continues to successfully achieve its project development objective which is for households in communities completing Community Project investments to improve living standards and increase use of infrastructure services. 2007 portfolio of the project is more vivid because of the successful and remarkable outcomes of the implemented activities.
The second National Community Investment Conference held on December 10-11, 2007 in Imishli was the final stage of the productive work during the year, results of the project activities and indicator of the project grants’ impact on community capacity building and access to infrastructure services. The main objectives of the conference were to acquire the best practices on effective and appropriate use of investments, assess the ways to build capacities of communities focusing on mutual benefiting from good initiatives and increase focus on improving power, capacity and quality of the community projects by expanding the networking area and ensure access to new sources.
Prior to starting the conference, all the participants came to the park named after national leader H. Aliyev and put flowers in front of his monument.
The conference organized and supported by AzRIP Management Unit involved the representatives of Rayon Executive Committees, Central Government, International and Local NGOs, the World Bank, AzRIP, community and municipal leaders, CD Specialists, media, as well as key community development stakeholders operating in Mughan Salyan, Lower Shirvan and Nakhchivan economic zones.
Razim Veliyev, General Director of State Agency on Agricultural Credits under the Ministry of Agriculture made an opening speech emphasizing that Azerbaijan Rural Investment Project implemented by the Agency is a vivid example of economic development strategy of the country successfully carried out by Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan Republic. The speaker then provided information about the activities carried out under infrastructure component, one of the major components of the project, and reported that community projects have been completed in 137 villages while 79 projects are in procurement and implementation phase; he also provided comprehensive information about the activities under Capacity Enhancement and Project Management components and wished success to the conference.
Mr. Mark Woodward, the Task Manager at the World Bank for Azerbaijan Rural Investment Project made a speech by offering his appreciation to all who have been working for the good results of Azerbaijan Rural Investment Project and mentioned about the tremendous progress over the last year. The speaker informed that results have been achieved so much that both the Government of Azerbaijan and Management of the World Bank consider this to be a top performer project in Azerbaijan and because of this appreciation, the life of the project will be extended by an additional three years, the size of the projects will be increased in financial terms and some 23 new rayons will be added to the project zones. Then, he spoke about the World Bank’s cooperation with this kind of the projects.
Mr. Abulfaz Aghayev, Head of Imishli rayon Executive Committee continued opening speeches emphasizing completion of nine projects in Imishli rayon, spoke about the implementation of other ongoing projects and proposed to initiate income generation projects in future.
Following the presentation on Potable Water Supply by Fatma Asadova, Community Project Committee member in Gushchu community, Yevlakh rayon, “AzRIP-3 years” chronology film was demonstrated. Fragments reflecting proper implementation of AzRIP in compliance with the decree issued by Mr. I. Aliyev, President of the Republic on regional socio-economic development indicating Government’s care to Azeri people in a period when community development is of great importance were seen with great interest. The film raising great impression about the implemented activities in chronological order was a visual demonstration of the power created by the unity of AzRIP with communities.
The conference went on in sessions on “Organizational Capacity Building”, “Service Providers”, “Community Engineering and Procurement” and “Environmental Protection” in three simultaneous groups including community presentations and discussions.
Speeches made by AzRIP Senior Engineer Kamil Mammadov on “Technical norms and standards for Community Projects” and AzRIP PMU Environmental Specialist Telman Zeynalov on “Environmental impacts of community investments” were discussed by the participants, suggestions and feedback on the topics were provided.
A sketch describing a family in a community with low living conditions, unsatisfactory social infrastructure services before benefiting from AzRIP grant and how they resolve their problems and get comfortable life after getting familiar with AzRIP was prepared by Project Assistance Team (AzRIP), Nasimikand community (Saatly) and Ahmadabad community (Sabirabad). The sketch was demonstrated after sessions and raised great interest.
Those distinguished for their performance during the conference were awarded diplomas and congratulated.
AzRIP Director Subhan Asgerov, Deputy Director and Community Development Manager Gulbaniz Ganbarova made closing speeches at the conference.
National Community Investment Conference lasted for two days.
Second National Community Investment Conference including a mix of traditional conference activities, such as plenary sessions, working groups, case studies, as well as participatory activities and networking opportunities achieved such expected outcomes as shared vision on effective use of social investments in rural communities, best practices on local capacity building and community involvement in investments, coordination mechanism between rural investment providers in AzRIP Operation Zones and succeeded to bring together key CD Stakeholders and potential donors and discuss social, environmental and technical aspects of community investments.
Economic impact of the project Since Goychay is one of rayons situated within the coverage area of AzRIP, relationships have been established with tens of villages of the rayon. The community of Alpout is situated at 29 km away from the rayon centre. The community is comprised of 2107 people. Farming and stock breeding are major occupation and source of income of the people. Though the village has 1130 ha sowing lands, community members were not able to cultivate all of it and succeeded to yield very few harvest. The main reason was poor condition of drainage canals. In spite of the existence of the problem since 1992 and ten hectares of land plots became useless due to subsoil water every year no serious action was taken to resolve the problem. Salinization of land plots had damage on stock-breeding along with farming. Stock used to infect with various diseases especially in summer season on a mass scale and died. Not only sowing lands, but also gardens of community members were getting saline and useless. Only small parts of ditches could be cleaned with few funds of municipality and community members for temporary use. It resulted in low living conditions, spread of various infectious diseases in the area and despair, and thus many people left the village.
The community of Alpout starting collaboration with AzRIP since August 2006 identified its priority needs and solutions to them using the support of AzRIP representatives. Though Potable Water Supply was ranked in the first place during problem ranking, Drainage System Rehabilitation was prioritized during cost efficiency analysis of the project. Alpout Community Project Committee addressed with Drainage System Rehabilitation project totalling AZN 33202. The project was appraised and approved by AzRIP as it was a development driven project and would have impact on improving living conditions of the community. Alpout CPC successfully completed the project together with community members. The lands used to undergo salinization for many years were cleaned and used by community members. Now community members fully use all 1130 ha lands for cultivation. As a result of the project, lands became fertile and productivity increased. Diseases decreased among stock compared to previous years, gardens and streets got rid of subsoil water. Increased productivity has resulted in high income generation for people. All these are results of proper economic analysis of the project impacts by the community members.
Alpout community established community fund too to ensure sustainability of this successful project and implement new projects. This fund will ease solution of other problems in the community. The project that was successful for Alpout community restored community members’ self-reliance and caused donor search for solution of other problems. AzRIP recommends Alpout CPC to take active part in solving community’s other problems, analyse cost efficiency of the projects properly and maintain sustainability of the implemented projects.
Nearly 250 IDPs have been settled in Goshagovag community of Aghdash rayon with about 3000 population. Main occupation of the community is farming and stock breeding. Though people are occupied with agriculture, living conditions are very low in the village. Such as, poor condition of intra-village roads and clinic, lack of potable water and provision of electric supply 13-14 hours a day made low living conditions more difficult and worse. Community members were using open ponds as potable water source for many years which caused various diseases among children. There is a good saying: “Pure water is the guarantee of health”.
Information dissemination held by AzRIP representatives in the community living in such problems was start of the cooperation. AzRIP representatives mobilized the community together with active community members. Participants emphasized lack of potable water while choosing the priority need of the community. One mother even spoke about the tragic death of her teenage daughter while taking water from canal – only water source in the village and called community members to be active in solving the problem. Joining her call, the CPC members developed project proposal after receiving necessary trainings and submitted to AzRIP. Water problem that was main concern of Goshagovag community for years was solved at last. A water purification device totaling USD 48584,4 was installed in the community which completely meets community’s potable water need. Community members have established community fund too to ensure the project sustainability.
Along with all implemented activities, Goshagovag community members have applied to “Family Planning” program based in Aghsu rayon and expressed their wish for cooperation. Community members have already received various trainings by “Family Planning” program and investment has been allocated for capital repair of the clinic. Therefore, we can say that Goshagovag community members move forward confidently towards the infrastructure development.
Year in Review 2007 Outcomes of AzRIP Infrastructure, Capacity Enhancement and Project Management components were remarkable during 2007. Implementation of Community Projects continued in all rayons of project zones throughout the year and 137 community projects including 40 construction and 97 repair/rehabilitation projects were completed. Total cost of these projects was USD 5,443,647 with 418,564 beneficiaries. In total, 175 community projects have been completed over the project lifetime (Mughan Salyan zone – 72, Lower Shirvan zone – 55, Nakhchivan zone – 48) and 58 projects are under implementation. Potable water supply, irrigation water pipeline construction and rehabilitation, road rehabilitation, school construction and repair projects hold an exceptional place among the completed projects.
Construction projects (40)
14 Potable Water Artesian Drilling projects
3 Potable Water Pipeline Construction projects
2 Additional Classrooms Construction projects
1 Construction of Primary School project
3 Water Purification Facility Installation project
2 Village Secondary School Rehabilitation projects
9 Drainage Collector Cleaning projects
1 Potable Water Pipeline Rehabilitation project
2 Irrigation System Rehabilitation projects
1 Electric System Rehabilitation And Installation Of Transformer For Irrigation project
68 Road Rehabilitation projects
13 Electric System Rehabilitation projects
1 Footbridge Rehabilitation project
Mobilization workshops under Capacity Enhancement component were conducted in 157 communities during the year. These workshops when community members identify their priority needs and select the infrastructure project among them for implementation was attended by 36,827 community members (including municipal councilors and Ex.Com representatives). Organizational Management, Community Project Proposal Development, Procurement and Community Contracting and Environmental Awareness trainings provided in 169 communities in order to build community capacity to develop project proposal and implement community projects brought together 2623 community members.
Sixty cross fertilization visits aiming at integration and exchange of experience between the communities were also organized in project zones under “Community Networking” program. These visits involved 866 community members representing 183 communities. Besides, first National Community Investment Conference was held in Saatly town and second National Conference in Imishli; two Capacity Building Conferences in each of Nakhchivan and Mughan Salyan zones and one conference in Lower Shirvan zone within “Community Networking” program and Environmental Workshops in all project zones. Second Inter-zone Cross Visits Session involving more than 50 communities from all three project zones and non-AzRIP rayons was also conducted in June.
Under Project Management component, the Project Management Unit (PMU), Regional Grants Approval Committees, the Working Group, Regional Operations Offices in Goychay and Nakhchivan cities continue their operation; as well as services of international and local consultants are used on regular base.
Moreover, weekly meetings of PMU, monthly meetings of Regional Grants Approval Committees, quarterly meetings of the Working Group and monthly Inter-zone Community Development Meetings involving the PMU, ROO and SP representatives are also organized.