Azerbaijan International

Spring 1997 (5.1)
Pages 74-80

Approximately 1 million people in Azerbaijan are refugees who have been internally displaced as a result of the Karabakh conflict. Relief agencies often refer to them as "IDPs" instead of "refugees" because they have relocated to camps within the borders of Azerbaijan. Regardless of semantics, the fact remains that nearly one out of every seven Azerbaijanis has been severely cut off from economic, social and psychological resources.

Undertaking the sustenance and survival of so many needy people is an immense logistical challenge, but the international community has played a tremendous role in providing humanitarian assistance to Azerbaijani refugees since late 1992. Unfortunately, the problem will not go away quickly. Some relief workers estimate that even if a peace agreement were signed tomorrow, it would take between five and 10 years before all the refugees could return to their homelands. Land mines must be cleared, and most homes must be completely rebuilt.

The following is a compilation of the major international humanitarian organizations in Azerbaijan with brief summaries of their involvement (which don't nearly do justice to the extent and complexity of their operations). Lately, many of these NGOs are experiencing "donor fatigue"-as other areas of the world are attracting greater media attention-and would welcome contributions from private individuals and corporations. A little can go a long way in Azerbaijan.

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is an independent organization established by the Seventh-day Adventist Church for the specific purposes of community development and disaster relief. ADRA was one of the first humanitarian agencies to respond to the crisis in Azerbaijan, opening its Baku office in September 1993. ADRA employs over 150 Azerbaijanis.

In three years, ADRA has helped more than 300,000 people through the distribution of 14,500 tons of food, 200,000 items of clothing, thousands of seed packets, several thousand garden tool sets, tarpaulins and shoes. More than 40,000 families (210,000 beneficiaries) in Nakhchivan and in northwest Azerbaijan near Ganja receive supplemental food every month. Beneficiaries are either those displaced due to conflict, or those who have limited means for buying food such as the handicapped, pensioners, female-headed households and large families.

In addition to food distribution, ADRA helps the people of Azerbaijan become self-sufficient by growing their own food and establishing small business enterprises. In 1995, ADRA implemented a UNHCR-funded Family Garden Project which distributed tools, seeds and portable greenhouse kits to 504 displaced families in northwest Azerbaijan. This project had a very high success rate and was expanded in 1996 to 2,000 IDP families (200 in Nakhchivan and 1,800 in northwest Azerbaijan). In 1997, ADRA hopes to receive funding for a small enterprise development project which will involve groups of five displaced families setting up and running small greenhouse businesses.

ADRA's donors are government agencies such as USAID, USDA and UNHCR, as well as countless private individuals who have given clothing, cash, time and support.

Contact: Director, 1 / 53 Amirova Street, Baku. Tel: (994-12) 93-73-88; Fax: 98-68-96; e-mail: <>; Web site: <>.

Children's Aid Direct
(CAD) is a British-based, nongovernmental organization which undertakes emergency relief and rehabilitation work in many parts of the world. One of the fastest growing charities in the UK, CAD has distributed nearly £43 million worth of aid to over 1 million children in 14 countries.

Established in Azerbaijan in late 1994, CAD focuses on the northwest and north central areas of the country where some of the highest concentrations of IDPs make their homes. Their office includes one international staff member and 37 Azerbaijanis.

The main activities of CAD involve the distribution of food, clothing, shoes, agricultural tools and seeds. By using locally manufactured goods, CAD helps to boost the local economy while providing work for many IDPs.

CAD also supports mother and child health care services such as health facility repair, health staff training and the education of women in the areas of prenatal care, nutrition, breast-feeding and family planning. Hygiene packs which include locally produced diapers, towels, baby clothes, soap, washing powder and sanitary napkins are also distributed to vulnerable new mothers who live in public buildings, temporary shelters, tents and railroad cars.

Additionally, CAD has vastly improved the conditions of six schools attended by over 1,000 children in Mingachevir. So far, the British Embassy has funded these renovations which typically cost between $350-$1,000 apiece. CAD has been approached by several other schools in need of repairs.

Contact: Country Director, 201 / 37 Suleyman Rahimon Street, Baku. Tel / Fax: (994-12) 93-19-41; e-mail: <ftc@ftc.>; Web site: <>.

(Cooperatives for Assistance and Relief Everywhere) is a nonprofit organization involved in humanitarian relief and development activities in more than 40 countries around the world. CARE started its full-scale activities in Azerbaijan at the end of 1993. Since then, CARE has implemented projects including food distribution, winterization and self-help shelter construction, all funded by the U.S. government and targeted toward the IDPs.

CARE has been providing supplementary rations to IDPs since May 1994. Their operational area consists of 13 districts including in and around Imishli where the concentration of IDPs is the highest. CARE distributed more than 19,000 metric tons of food commodities before the end of 1996. Approximately 150,000 people were covered by CARE projects on a regular basis, representing close to one-quarter of the IDPs in Azerbaijan. In addition, they have filled the short-term food needs of 102,500 people in the northeast and northwest regions of the country. More than 5,500 metric tons of food will be distributed to IDP families enrolled with CARE by the end of 1997.

During the 1993-95 winters, CARE also distributed more than 27,000 blankets, 65,000 woolen shirts and 48,000 winter items (shirts, trousers, sleeping bags, mattresses, etc.).

In 1996, CARE provided construction materials to IDPs to build mud-brick shelters using their own labor. A total of 1,200 shelters were built, an equal number of pit-latrines were installed, and 600 shelters were repaired. The 1997 phase of this project targets the construction of 550 shelters and pit-latrines.

Contact: Country Administrator, 6 Mardanov Gardashlari Street, No. 18 / 20 and 21, 2nd Floor, Baku. Tel: (994-12) 98-57-54 or 98-20-81; Fax: 98-03-71; e-mail: <>

Hayat is a national, nonprofit, nongovernmental humanitarian organization founded in Azerbaijan in June 1994. Hayat's staff is composed mostly of Azerbaijanis and includes 30 employees and 40 volunteers. Funding by international donors has increased dramatically over the past two years from $50,000 in 1995 to $1.5 million in 1997.

Hayat initially focused its relief activities on providing food and non-food items and support to socially unprotected segments of the population including refugees, IDPs, families of war victims from Karabakh, the elderly and orphans. Seven hundred tons of food and more than 30 tons of non-food items have been distributed to 4,000 families in 14 regions of Azerbaijan.

In mid-1995, Hayat initiated programs for IDPs to develop self-help skills, improve living conditions, provide psychological rehabilitation and facilitate repatriation. Some specific examples include a Sheep Project [see AI 3.4, page 80] carried out in conjunction with UNHCR which provided five sheep for breeding, milk and wool, to displaced families headed by a female. Another project, implemented with SCF and Mobil, provided for the rehabilitation of orphanages in Baku.

To date, 14 projects assisting nearly 37,000 individuals have been implemented by Hayat in 15 regions of Azerbaijan, including Baku and Sumgayit. Hayat continues to cooperate with many international humanitarian organizations such as UNDP, UNHCR, WFP, ECHO, SCF and IOM. Hayat is also currently involved in a public building rehabilitation project with Mercy Corps International.

Contact: President, 72 / 90 Kasumzade Street, Baku. Tel: (994-12) 98-11-19 or 97-30-52; Fax: 97-30-52 or 97-30-53; e-mail: <>.

Established in Azerbaijan in March 1992, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) supports offices in Baku and Barda which are staffed by 19 international workers and 75 Azerbaijanis. Their major funding is from ECHO, European governments, Japan and the U.S. ICRC's 1997 budget totals $6.9 million.

ICRC's 1996-97 Agricultural Rehabilitation Program provided IDPs in Fuzuli with 185 metric tons of first generation wheat flour seeds, tools and cash loans to plant 900 hectares of land. This project gave whole families and communities a real chance to engage in an activity at which they are skilled and decreased their dependency on humanitarian relief by providing the means for them to feed themselves. During the next sowing season, ICRC will expand this program to the seven remaining districts where they are active.

ICRC also provides direct relief assistance by distributing food, clothes, blankets, kerosene, detergents and other essential items. In Fuzuli, alone, they have assisted nearly 18,000 individuals. In the remaining districts, they've helped another 30,000 people who are not displaced, but who are vulnerable due to their proximity to the conflict and the harsh economic circumstances.

In 1997, ICRC repaired the roofs, doors, windows, floors and walls of several classrooms in four Fuzuli schools. They also furnished these classrooms with benches, blackboards, stoves and fuel.

ICRC also supports orthopedic rehabilitation facilities in Baku where prostheses are manufactured for amputees and land mine victims [see AI 3.4, "ICRC's New Orthopedic Center"]. Additionally, they have assisted with water and sanitation schemes, land mine awareness campaigns targeting potential returnees, and medical programs, with an emphasis on the scourge of TB in prison hospitals. Another unique service they provide is visiting hostages held by both sides (Azerbaijani and Armenian) and passing messages between families divided by the front line.

Contact: Head of Delegation, 98a Khoyski Street, Republic Stadium, Baku. Tel: (994-12) 62-05-07 or 90-66-34; Fax: 90-65-19; e-mail: <postmast@>; Web site: <>.

Founded in Geneva in 1919, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRCRC) and often referred to simply as "Federation" is the largest humanitarian organization in the world with societies in 169 nations. During the 1990s, over half of the Federation's operations worldwide have been aimed at providing assistance to refugees and IDPs.

The Federation is also the largest humanitarian organization operating in the Caucasus and provides direct assistance to approximately 200,000 people in Azerbaijan, alone. The Azerbaijan Delegation of the Federation was established in April 1993 and currently maintains a staff of nine international delegates and 250 Azerbaijanis. Major donors include ECHO and Western European governments such as Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and UK which channel funds through their respective national societies.

The Federation, in conjunction with Azerbaijan Red Crescent (AzRC), provides for the overall management of seven camps established by the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) in the autumn of 1993 in and around Sabirabad. Responsibility for these southern camps, which are home to 44,000 people displaced by the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, was transferred from Iran to the Federation in November 1994. Major programs include food and non-food distribution, water and sanitation, and basic health care including anti-pediculosis (body lice), anti-scabies, anti-diphtheria and anti-malaria campaigns.

The Federation/AzRC also provide food parcels to socially vulnerable groups including 30,000 elderly people. Seven thousand of these are taken care of by a Visiting Nurses Program which distributes medicine and medical care.

Additionally, the Federation has introduced development programs in the fields of agriculture and income generation.

Contact: Head of Azerbaijan Delegation, 11 Niazi Street, Baku. Tel: (994-12) 92-57-92; Fax: 93-18-89; e-mail: <>; Web site: <http://www.>.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a nonprofit, nonsectarian, private agency providing emergency relief assistance to refugees and displaced people in Africa, Asia, Europe and the newly independent states (NIS). IRC was founded in 1933 by Albert Einstein [a refugee, himself] to assist the victims of European fascism. Currently, IRC is managing over 20 programs internationally. In December 1994, "Money" magazine ranked IRC as the No. 1 U.S. charity in relief and development.

IRC began operations in Azerbaijan in February 1994 and currently aids more than 60,000 IDPs in the Aghjabadi, Barda, Beylagan, Yevlakh, Kurdamir, Aghdam, Imishli, Saatli, Sabirabad, Tartar and Fuzuli regions. IRC's staff includes 10 international workers and approximately 120 Azerbaijanis. Major sources of IRC funding are UNHCR, ECHO, USAID, SV, Amoco, Mellon and Packard Foundations. IRC's total estimated budget for 1997 is $3.2 million.

IRC's initial task involved distributing tents to Azerbaijanis displaced by the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Since then, IRC has implemented various successful programs such as latrine construction, water system repair, clothing and other non-food distribution, single-family shelter construction, public building rehabilitation, public health education, reproductive health education and income generation projects.

Whenever possible, IRC's programs are designed to promote self-reliance and sustainability while providing for the basic needs of its beneficiaries. For example, IRC's Mud Brick Shelter Program funded by USAID has given technical assistance and materials so that families can build their own homes. Since its beginnings in 1995, this program has provided 2,762 families with safe and dry shelter. Similarly, their Repatriate Home Rehabilitation Program funded by UNHCR assists families who are from regions in Azerbaijan where they are able to begin returning [see AI 4.4, "Horadiz: Finally, the Refugees are Heading Home" by Marcus Hopkins] to repair their partially destroyed homes and begin the task of rebuilding their communities.

In 1997, IRC will be implementing additional programs in public building rehabilitation, public health education and income generation. Many IDPs are living in unsafe or unhealthy conditions in former schools, dormitories, train stations, bath houses and collective farm centers. To improve living conditions in these buildings, IRC repairs or replaces doors and windows, leaky roofs, faulty wiring and badly damaged floors and walls. Minor repairs are also done on the plumbing, sewage and gas systems. IDP contractors carry out most of the work, so they earn money while improving living conditions for their families and communities. IRC's Public Building Rehabilitation Program is funded by ECHO and UNHCR.

Until recently, IRC's public health education focused on personal hygiene and was carried out in coordination with the construction of pit latrines and rehabilitation of sanitation facilities. Today, the emphasis is on nutrition, general health issues and reproductive health.

Finally, there are many skilled artisans and professionals among the IDPs, but they lack tools, capital or business skills needed to earn a living. For individual craftsmen, IRC supplies loans of capital to purchase needed equipment and materials such as sewing machines, cloth, hand-knitting materials and yarn, knitting machines, shoe repair materials, car mechanics tools, hairdresser and barber kits, carpentry, masonry, welding and plumbing kits so that they can start their own business and begin producing income for their families. IRC also provides business training and loans to IDP groups who wish to organize small businesses such as leather tanning, car repair, metal fabrication and carpentry workshops, as well as bakeries and wheat mills. IRC's Income Generation Program is funded by SV and ECHO.

Contact: Director, 107 / 11 Vidadi Street, Baku. Tel: (994-12) 95-35-94 or 94-19-66; Fax: 98-93-55; e-mail: <office@>; Web site: <http://www.>.

Medecins Sans Frontieres - Belgium
In Azerbaijan, Médecins Sans Frontières-Belgium (MSF-B) implements medical programs in regions with high concentrations of refugees and IDPs.

In three regions of southwest Azerbaijan, MSF-B is assisting MOH and UNICEF in immunization management carried out in government health facilities. They are involved in the monitoring and the maintenance of the coldchain (freezers, refrigerators, coolboxes and ice packs needed to maintain the right temperature for vaccines) and in the supply of adapters, voltage regulators and generators. MSF-B also teaches refresher courses to staff involved in immunizations and provides health education on immunization to the refugee/ IDP population. Additionally, they support a dispensary, a laboratory program and a reproductive health project in these regions.

In Sumgayit, MSF-B operates a primary health care program for vulnerable people which involves supporting four dispensaries and collaborating with several government health facilities including a general hospital, a maternity center, a dispensary for skin and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and the Center of Sanitation and Epidemiology. Additionally in Sumgayit, MSF-B promotes family planning, distributes equipment and medical materials to six laboratories, and is initiating an expanded immunization and coldchain program. They have also carried out water/sanitation activities and a health education program in 15 IDP buildings in 1996.

Contact: No longer in Azerbaijan (after 1998).

Medecins Sans Frontieres - Greece
Founded in France in 1990, Médecins du Monde (MDM) is a nongovernmental humanitarian organization which has established independent delegations including MDM-Greece, MDM-Spain, MDM-International and MDM-USA. MDM-Greece works mainly in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraq, Israel and Lebanon.

Established in Azerbaijan in February 1995, MDM-Greece maintains a staff of two international workers and eight Azerbaijanis who have been distributing drugs and medical equipment to hospitals and maternity units in northwest Azerbaijan. They also support three clinics in Shaki, Oghuz and Mingachevir which provide free consultations and treatment to mothers, children and the elderly. Additionally, they treat scabies and other skin diseases.

Contact: President, Stadiou-5, 105-62 Athens, Greece. Tel: (30-1) 324-3344 or 331-4572; Fax: 324-3346. In Baku: Yannis Aghapios, Mission Coordinator, 124 / 22 Kichik Qala Street. Tel / Fax: (994-12) 92-71-94. In Mingachevir, 5 / 43 Vidadi Street. Tel: (994-241) 43987.

Norwegian Humanitarian Enterprise (NHE) began its work among the refugees in Azerbaijan in January 1994, particularly in the Samukh region outside Ganja. NHE's total staff includes five Norwegians, and its major source of funding comes from private donors in Norway.

Funded by Statoil, NHE has renovated two orphanages. In the Shaki orphanage, NHE has purchased new windows, a generator, a new heating system, desks and chairs. In the Mardakan orphanage, they have improved the water supply, renovated the bathrooms and painted the buildings. There are also plans for the installation of a gas heating system.

NHE has also joined with the English organizations Ichthus and Global Care to form "Hope for Azerbaijan" (HfA). Through this collaboration, NHE has been working to improve the living conditions for both the children at the Ganja orphanage and for the 110 people living in Ganja's psychiatric hospital.

In 1997, NHE will be instituting a cultural exchange program, introducing Azerbaijani art and music to the Norwegian people. Through this program, NHE hopes to share some of the richness of the Azerbaijani culture with the outside world. Also, a 50-member Norwegian choir will be performing in Baku, Lahij, Shaki and Ganja during the Spring, and will meet with local musicians.

Contact: Country Director, 20 / 28 January Prospect, Ganja. Tel: (994-222) 60411; e-mail: <>. In Norway: P.O. Box 9219, Groenland, 0134 Oslo. Tel / Fax: (47) 22-57-86-00.

OXFAM is a British humanitarian agency which has been working in Azerbaijan since 1993 implementing projects on behalf of UNHCR and ECHO for IDPs and refugees, as well as developing an OXFAM-funded program for local NGO support.

OXFAM has an office in Baku and currently operates its field activities from Barda. Their staff includes three international workers and 50 Azerbaijanis. OXFAM strives to encourage the development of local capacity, with country and regional training and in-service support to increase professional, management, technological and language skills.

OXFAM's Public Health Program funded by UNHCR addresses the issues of safe drinking water, sanitation, health education, shelter provision and community group activities for women and children living in camps, communal buildings and informal settlements.

OXFAM's Local Production and Distribution Program funded by ECHO provides a small income to IDPs (mainly women) to produce knit ware, bedding, rugs and clothing which is then distributed to vulnerable people, especially during the winter months.

OXFAM's Local NGO Program seeks to support indigenous, independent groups and organizations which provide services to disadvantaged individuals such as the disabled.

OXFAM's programs for 1997 include a Credit Program to facilitate small business initiatives and a Disability Awareness Program to bring issues surrounding disabled people in Azerbaijan to the attention of the government and the public.

Contact: Country Representative, 91 / 49 Nizami Street, Baku. Tel: (994-12) 93-48-16; Fax: 98-13-01; e-mail: <>; Web site: <>.

Relief International
Relief International (RI) is an American-based humanitarian agency which provides emergency relief, rehabilitation and development services to individuals affected by man-made and natural disasters and to those who live in high conflict areas. RI is nonprofit, nonpolitical and nonsectarian.

Since 1990, RI has been involved with projects in Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Georgia, Iraq and Tajikistan. Established in Azerbaijan in 1993, they have been providing life-saving services to 250,000 refugees and IDPs in 14 regions.

Supported by USAID, RI operates the largest NGO clinical program in Azerbaijan and has provided more than 1.1 million people with medical consultations to date. Their mobile health vans visit more than 500 settlements monthly and focus on primary preventive and curative health services for women and children.

As a principle implementing partner of UNHCR, RI has constructed over 500 single-classroom, limestone buildings so that more than 25,000 refugee and IDP children may attend school. They have also built integrated communities with housing for more than 750 of the most vulnerable refugee and IDP families. Highly experienced teams of international and Azerbaijani engineers construct quality limestone houses and provide access to potable water, electricity and sanitary latrines. Health care, seeds and gardening tools are also provided to these families. Additionally, the newer constructed sites have bath houses, clinics, schools and multipurpose community centers for activities such as income generation and day care.

Other RI projects involve livestock distribution (UNHCR and FAO), education (Soros Foundation) and women's reproductive health (UNHCR).

RI receives significant corporate support from Unocal, McDermott, Azimex and Pennzoil, as well as partner agencies in the U.S.

Contact: Dr. Farshad Rastegar, Director, USA. Tel: (310) 441-0097; Fax: 441-5156; e-mail: <>. Or Country Director, 118 Safaroglu Street, Baku. Tel: (994-12) 94-18-26; Fax: 98-05-67; e-mail: <>.

Founded in 1940, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is the humanitarian aid and development department of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. To date, UMCOR has funded projects in over 100 countries. Established in Azerbaijan in March 1996, UMCOR's administrative team includes three international staff and 19 Azerbaijanis. Their public donors include the U.S. Department of State, USAID and UNHCR.

Established in 1960, Interchurch Medical Assistance (IMA) is a nonprofit association of 12 relief and development agencies representing a vast constituency of churches in America and throughout the world. In the past five years, IMA has received, packed and shipped medical materials to over 120 countries.

UMCOR focuses on the provision of emergency medical services and preventative primary health care to nearly 200,000 IDPs who reside on the Absheron peninsula. UMCOR uses medicines and supplies procured by IMA from U.S. corporations for preventive treatment as well as secondary and tertiary health care.

UMCOR's staff includes 32 physicians and medicine dispensers who operate nine primary health care clinics which average 8,000 patients per month. UMCOR also supports 20 Azerbaijan Ministry of Health clinics and hospitals.

So far, three U.S. airlifts have been received by UMCOR, carrying medical cargo valued at nearly $4 million. More than $1 million of this was secured by IMA, with the majority of corporate donations coming from Exxon, Pennzoil and Amoco. IMA has also received pledges to fund a May 1997 airlift.

Other ongoing projects of UMCOR in Azerbaijan include a USAID/SCF health education project and a UNHCR refugee women's reproductive health project.

Contact: Nicole Jordania or Thien-Ky Luu of UMCOR, or Victoria Guisinger of IMA, 1601 N. Kent Street, Suite 1010, Arlington, VA 22209. Tel: (703) 276-1010; Fax: (703) 276-0509; e-mail: <>. Or Jemal Shahendigev, Deputy Head of Mission, or Kimberly Rosen, Program Compliance Officer, 66 / 18 Islam Safarly, Baku. Tel / Fax: (994-12) 97-30-17; e-mail: <>. Web site for UMCOR: < divisions/umcor/hotline.html>. Web site for IMA: <>.

Established in Azerbaijan in December 1992, UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees) implements dozens of relief activities through its partnerships with NGOs which include CAD, Hayat, IRC, OXFAM, RI and UMCOR. In the past, UNHCR has also worked through ADRA, AzRC, Global Care, IFRCRC, International Islamic Relief Organisation, MSF-Holland, MSF-Belgium, Turkish Red Crescent Society and World Vision International. This work is coordinated by UNHCR's staff of 18 people including nine Azerbaijanis.

The unshakable wish of the IDPs in Azerbaijan is to return to their homes as soon as possible-a fact which UNHCR always keeps in mind when planning relief programs. Primary activities include providing alternative or improved shelter to IDPs living in extremely difficult conditions such as earth dugouts, railway cars and public buildings not intended for residential use. UNHCR also works to improve water and sanitation conditions, distributes food and non-food items, constructs classrooms, and supports both medical outreach programs and income generation programs including growing vegetables and raising sheep.

A byproduct of UNHCR's activities has been the creation of several hundred regular and part-time jobs in the process of delivering assistance.

Another core function of UNHCR is to support the government of Azerbaijan in its development of a legal framework for handling refugees and asylum seekers based on international principles. Accordingly, UNHCR has organized seminars and conferences to address the legal and legislative aspects of the refugee question. They also support training and exchange programs which expose individuals to similar activities in both CIS and non-CIS countries.

UNHCR is primarily funded by governments but also benefits from donations from corporations and individuals.

Contact: UNHCR ACTION, P.O. Box 2500, H Geneva 2, Switzerland. Or Ann Howarth-Wiles, UNHCR Representative, 3 Lermontov Street, Baku. Tel: (994-12) 97-10-82 or 92-83-19; Fax: 98-11-34; e-mail: <>; Web site: <http://www.>.

Established in Azerbaijan in October 1993, the United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF) works to mitigate the hardship endured by the displaced children (who are estimated to number nearly 300,000) in Azerbaijan. UNICEF strives to give them a chance for a better future. Their 18-person staff includes 15 Azerbaijanis. UNICEF's activities in Azerbaijan are financed by donor contributions from ECHO and numerous countries such as Sweden, Germany, Spain, Finland, UK, Italy, Switzerland and the U.S.

In the summer of 1996, UNICEF selected Barda where thousands had fled after being driven from the Aghdam district as the site of its emergency project. UNICEF provided the Barda camps with supplies for vaccination campaigns, medicine, children's winter and summer clothing, shoes, educational kits and recreation materials.

Equally important is UNICEF's long-term project concerned with the psycho-social rehabilitation of children affected by war and poverty. A preliminary study had uncovered an evident retardation among some of these children in their physical, social and emotional development. After working with them for three months, however, dramatic changes were observed. Funding from the Swedish government will enable UNICEF to expand this project to include the children in all refugee and IDP settlements in Azerbaijan.

An additional UNICEF initiative which met with great success in 1996 was the establishment of Children's Centers in Sabirabad and Barda where 400 children between the ages of three and six now receive preschool education five days a week. UNICEF has allocated $80,000 for the creation of similar Children's Centers in other regions of Azerbaijan, but is seeking additional resources to expand this initiative.

Contact: 3 Istiglaliyat Street, Baku. Tel: (994-12) 98-05-78; Fax: 93-82-78; e-mail: <root@unicef.>, Web site: <http://>.

World Vision
Rafiga heard gunfire nearby and panicked. Gathering up the nine members of her family, they leave quickly. But where to go? After traveling for 14 days, Rafiga's family settles in an unfinished medical clinic with no partitions for privacy, no windows, no gas, no electricity. They work hard to improve their shelter. Luckily, Rafiga's husband finds a job, so there is food. But there is no water, no warmth and few clothes. Her husband becomes ill. In those conditions, sickness can kill and it does. Now they have no income, no food and no strength. Yet strength is needed to ensure their own survival.

As you walk around the busy city of Baku, it is hard to believe that people like Rafiga exist in Azerbaijan. But they do, and there are many facing similarly bleak situations. These are the people that World Vision is helping.

Established in Azerbaijan in June 1994, World Vision strives to provide for the immediate needs of refugees, while at the same time encouraging and enabling them to become self-sufficient. Their projects include food distribution, shelter rehabilitation and income generation such as supporting agricultural or small business endeavors. World Vision's staff in Azerbaijan totals 151, with 141 being Azerbaijani.

Their major sources of funding come from SCF, USAID and WFP. In the past, funds have also been received from UNHCR, the private sector and the governments of Canada, UK and the Netherlands.

From Azerbaijan International (5.1) Spring 1997.
© Azerbaijan International 1997. All rights reserved.

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