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National Community Investment Conference Presenter: Sabira Mehdiyeva, Field Officer, umid hssc, Balajan Ibrahimov, Karrar community leader, Kurdamir rayon Facilitator: Farida Eminova, Senior cd officer, Azrip ms assistant: Tunzala Hajiyeva, Senior

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National Community Investment Conference

Presenter: Sabira Mehdiyeva, Field Officer, UMID HSSC, Balajan Ibrahimov, Karrar community leader, Kurdamir rayon

Facilitator: Farida Eminova, Senior CD Officer, AzRIP MS

Assistant: Tunzala Hajiyeva, Senior Trainer, AzRIP PAT

Representative of UMID LNGO made presentation on “Environmental Impact of Community Investments” together with Balajan Ibrahimov, community leader in Karrar community, Kurdamir rayon. According to the presentation, Karrar community was mobilized since 1993; Community Action Group consisting of 9 members was formed with IRC support and received various community development trainings. Community Action Group has collaborated with many INGOs (IRC, IMC, ACQUIRE) and LNGOs (UMID HSSC, HAYAT NNGO) operating in the region since its formation.

The Community Action Group aiming to “achieve moral, socio-economic and democratic development of the community” benefited from the provided trainings and succeeded implementation of numerous projects like Intra-village Road Rehabilitation, Construction of Maternity Hospital, Fencing of Schoolyard, Digging Drainage Ditches for rainwater and subsoil water discharging, Potable Water Supply Improvement, Installation of Sun Battery and Replacement of Village Clinic Roof under Reproductive Health and Family Planning in collaboration with various organizations up to now. It was underlined that CAG has attracted funds allocated by different organizations for humanitarian activities and spent for development activities. Total cost of this funding was AZN 46, 428,948 with community contribution 25, 232,560 AZN. (Total cost of these projects: AZN 71,661,508). Not relying on external financial sources as only and reliable sources, CAG mobilized its internal resources too and implemented Tree Planting and Ditch Cleaning projects with internal resources.

It was mentioned during the presentation that projects implemented by CAG were not only infrastructure projects, but also environmental projects. Such as, environmental issues were focused during the implementation of all projects, environmental action plans were developed and carried out to reduce negative environmental impacts. Community leader Balajan Ibrahimov informed that such environmental projects as “Schoolyard Fencing” project has been implemented with IRC support, “Digging Excess Water Discharge Ditches” with HAYAT NNGO, “Potable Water Supply Improvement” project.

It was emphasized that communities’ need to potable water is met by applying modern technology for water purification within the project and an LLC supervising the process has been formed. Speaking about positive impacts of the implemented projects, the presenter underlined their moral, ecological impacts and positive changes happened in the minds of people towards environmental issues rather than their socio-economic impacts. It was emphasized community members once having no idea about the harmful results of asbestos sheets on human organism and various complications of water which does not meet health standards, as well as disposal and management of medical wastes have acquired this knowledge.

  • Implemented projects have stimulated improvement of ecological and socio-economic situation and institutional development of the community and increased community capacity

  • Community Project is a tool to make positive changes not only in infrastructure, but also in the minds and habits of people.

Questions and Answers
Question: Subhan Asgarov, AzRIP Director

AzRIP implements similar projects too. My question is to the representatives of both projects: Which method do you use to maintain project sustainability?

Answer: Balajan Ibrahimov, CAG leader, Karrar community, Kurdamir rayon

LLC has been established to ensure community project sustainability. This LLC sells water obtained through water purification facility to the community members cheap. Collected money is spent for water pipeline rehabilitation, repair of taps and other unexpected costs when needed.

Answer: Fuad Salmanov, PAT leader, AzRIP

A water purification facility has been installed in Gulovsha community, Yevlakh rayon, Lower Shirvan zone of AzRIP under “Potable Water Supply” project. Project has been handed over to village municipality for its operation and maintenance. Village municipality has assigned a responsible person under the municipality and pays him while community members pays 1 AZN to sustainability fund per month which is used for salary of the responsible person and operation costs of the facility.

Question: Shahin Yagubov, CPC chairman, Goychay rayon Garakhidir community

Do you sell water to neighboring communities in order to get much money?

Answer: Balajan Ibrahimov, CAG leader, Karrar community, Kurdamir rayon

Project has been intended for community members. This method can be used if purified water is extra and more money is required. For the time being, we supply our community with pure potable water and try to maintain project sustainability at the expense of small amount paid by community members for the use of water.

Question: Aghasamad Ahmadov, Municipal Chairman, Goychay rayon, Shakar community

How do you assess environmental impacts of your projects? What positive impacts assessed so far?

Answer: Balajan Ibrahimov, CAG leader, Karrar community, Kurdamir rayon

We apply specialists prior to project, assess environmental impacts of it by all means, develop action plan to reduce negative impacts and carry out this plan. For instance: Construction debris was buried outside of the community in order to reduce harmful impacts of asbestos sheet during the implementation of “Replacement of Village Clinic Roof” under Reproductive Health and Family Planning. During the implementation of our another project “Excess Water Discharging from the Village” implemented with financial support of HAYAT NNGO, damage to the community members by subsoil waters was estimated and compared with positive changes after the project implementation.

National Community Investment Conference

Presenter: Ahliman Teymurov, Kamally community, Saatly, MS/AzRIP

Facilitator: Almaz Mammadova
Ahliman Teymurov, Municipal Chairman in Kamally community, Saatly made presentation on “Environmental Protection”. Irrigation System Rehabilitation project implemented in the community addressed community’s need to irrigation water. Total project cost was USD 48,785 out of which USD 43,907 have been granted by AzRIP and USD 4,878 contributed by the community. Implementation period of the project was 3 months. Environmental conditions were evaluated pre implementation, potential risks and preventive measures during implementation were identified and appropriate action plan was developed.

Since the start of project operation, good condition was created for agricultural crop growing. Productivity of soil increased and economic condition was improved relatively.

Presentation covered positive environmental impacts, as well as potential risks and preventive measures. Such as, creation of stagnant ponds due to the waste water during irrigation, wash-away and re-salination of topsoil, increased level of subsoil water, creation and spread of diseases in ponds and potential damage to habitations were emphasized again. Control over the irrigation water is of primary importance to prevent such risks. Mr. Ahliman mentioned that one person from the community has been hired by Water Department. It has been planned to plant trees along the irrigation system, awareness of community members, cleaning of drainage systems and organizing voluntary labor days.
Existing ecological conditions were also touched upon during the presentation such as environmental pollution by domestic, industrial, medical and construction wastes, existence of diseases and their negative impacts on human health, insufficiency of flora and fauna, lack of information etc. All these are current indicators of existing ecological situation.

Various questions and suggestions were given by the participants at the end of presentation. Mrs. Gulmira Mammadova, AzRIP PAT trainer asked: “How will you ensure future sustainability of the project?” “We have community fund at present and this fund increase at the expense of certain sources. This fund, subsidies from municipality and opportunities of Water Department will be used for future maintenance.” Arif Guliyev from Imishli rayon Muradally community: “Do neighboring communities benefit from your project too?” “Yes, neighboring communities also benefit from this project. Neighboring community members whose land plots are close to our community also use irrigation water and irrigate their fields in summer season.” Boyukagha Hasanov, Narimankand community, Sabirabad rayon: “What measures will you take to prevent increase of subsoil waters during project operation”? “Potential risks will be prevented by regular cleaning of drainage canals and controlling irrigation water”. Participants emphasized importance of forming ecological thinking in the community for environmental protection. So, presentation of Saatly rayon Kamally community was summarized.

National Community Investment Conference

Presenters: Anar Azimov, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist

Latif Isayev, Operational manager for Environmental Protection SAAC Rural Development Program for Highlands and Mountainous areas

Facilitator: Zakir Salmanov

Assistant: Sardar Huseynov
Latif Isayev, Operational Manager for Environmental Protection and Anar Azimov, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist of SAAC Rural Development Program for Highlands and Mountainous Areas made presentation on “Environmental Impacts of Community Investments”. Anar Azimov provided general information about the program noting that overall goal of the program is to develop agriculture in mountainous and highland areas by protecting ecological balance of environment.

Anar Azimov underlined that program consists of 4 components and the first – Integrated Development component includes community mobilization and formation; identifying their priority needs on development directions; assisting in proposal development and implementation; developing social infrastructure and establishing “Community Infrastructure Fund”.

Developing financial services, development of plant-growing and stock breeding and assistance in processing are integral parts of Income Generation component.

Environmental Improvement component includes supporting communities in reforestation activities together with respective structures, recovering public or private land plots and control over soil erosion.

The last component – Program Management component includes developing long-term strategies and development program, preparing new technologies; mobilization and management of funds to support development; providing them with technical, financial and management related information and establishment of “Development-Initiative Fund”.
The project totaling USD 10 million covers Gabala, Shahbuz, Guba, Lerik and Gadabay regions.
Providing detailed information about Environmental Improvement component, Latif Isayev underlined that main objective of the component is forestation activities on Municipal and private lands with the participation of communities and environmental awareness of communities. The following activities are carried out to reach this objective:

  • Information dissemination about the goal and objectives of the project;

  • Organize necessary trainings for local communities;

  • Develop information materials on environmental protection and distribute to communities;

  • Involvement of interested people;

  • Establishment of communities;

  • Selection of community leaders and document it;

  • Renting municipal lands (types, conditions of rental fee, etc);

  • Sign contract between the community and Program;

  • Identify financial shares of the Program and community;

  • Procurement of young tree plants by the Program;

  • Preparation of land plots for cultivation under the supervision of Program specialists;

  • Forestation works;

  • Organize control;

  • Prepare anti fire posters;

  • Installing garbage bins;

  • Strengthening preparation and distribution of various environmental information materials

Answering to the question related with considering environmental factors in infrastructure projects, the speaker mentioned that prior to starting implementation of each project its environmental impacts are assessed and taken into consideration during the implementation.

Participants gave their general feedback about the efficiency of the program and emphasized need for such a program in lowland zone.
Outcome: It is important to have environmental component in each program and it is possible to implement any project without damaging the environment.

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