Facts and Statistics
- 5% of school-age children are out of school
- 31 out of 1000 children die before their 5th birthday
- 9% of children are engaged in child labor
- 32% of people live in poverty
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Save the Children Azerbaijan Country Office
Save the Children has been active in Azerbaijan since December 1993, arriving in response to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Supporting the uprooted Azerbaijani population by providing not only immediate relief, but the assistance needed to ensure access to long-term health, education and employment opportunities. Save the Children initially managed an emergency response umbrella grant program, through which it funded and coordinated international relief efforts. The organization shifted its focus to development programs in 1998 and since then, Save the Children has been directly implementing programs in partnership with international and national NGOs, businesses, communities and the Azerbaijani government to help families and communities care for the needs of children by reforming the child welfare system, promoting economic opportunities, encouraging family and community healthy lifestyles, improving basic social and physical infrastructure, and developing new educational materials and curricula. Current Save the Children funding partners include USAID, the European Union, UNHCR, Statoil, Bakcell, and Coca-Cola.
Challenges for Children
Despite Azerbaijan's rapid economic development and large investments in the social sector, vast needs still exist in education, health care and access to utilities and basic services. The needs are particularly great for the most vulnerable children and families who are living in rural areas. With ongoing social reforms there is a unique opportunity for Save the Children to provide technical assistance to the Government in order to facilitate efficient and effective development.
Save the Children’s work in child protection/welfare system reform began in October 2004, and continues to promote the social integration and community capacity to care for vulnerable children in Azerbaijan. Funded by USAID and the European Union, the programs provide targeted assistance both directly and indirectly to marginalized children in 12 regions of Azerbaijan through the establishment of Children and Family Support Centers which have been successfully handed over to the government of Azerbaijan (management and financial support) in an effort to provide vulnerable children services such as case management, day care, psychosocial support, and individual family counseling. Recently, Save the Children has focused on capacity building for Azerbaijani government agencies responsible for and involved in child welfare system reform. The two main partners are the State Committee on Family, Women and Children's Affairs and the Ministry of Education. Other entities involved are the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection and the Cabinet of Ministers to promote awareness of rights for Youth with Disabilities and their family members, as well as local businesses.
Civil Society Development
Begun in November 2009, with funding from the European Union, Save the Children has been implementing the program to deliver equipment and trainings to marginalized youth in state run boarding schools, thus creating a transition model in five regions of Azerbaijan and strengthening civil society organizations (six national NGO partners) and providing legislative recommendations on changes to support youth in transition from institutional care to independent life.
With National NGO partners, Save the Children implements the programs to produce Information, Communications Technology (ICT), Basic Literacy and Personal Development materials at a critical moment in Azerbaijan’s development when the government actively encourages de-institutionalization and alternative care. Save the Children’s holistic approach includes innovative personal development trainings and community awareness campaigns where youth are offered access to soft skills and knowledge and gain positive attitudes towards work especially in highly needed sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism to supporting the successful transition of youth from institutions to adulthood and independent life.
Save the Children and Azerbaijani Coca-Cola Bottlers (ACCB) have successfully completed implementation of the program that improved access to drinking water in the Seyidli settlement, Khachmaz region of Azerbaijan. The project team worked closely with the Seyidli community to successfully bore an artesian well for the Seyidli municipality. By providing the village with access to safe and high quality drinking water, the project will have a positive impact on the community for generations to come. The fresh drinking water will also have agricultural applications for farmers in the village to irrigate their crops. The successful cooperation will be keeping in new funding opportunities issued by Coca-Cola that will be used by Save the Children to address water problems of communities and families it works with.
Save the Children, with financial support of Bakcell implements the program which utilizes theater to improve young children’s awareness of healthy behaviors in five regions throughout Azerbaijan. Combining this with teacher training to improve interactive teaching methodologies, this creative approach provides children the forum to express their ideas in non-traditional ways, furthering their critical thinking abilities while increasing their understanding of choices they make now and the impact of those choices on their lives.
Save the Children contributes to the improving the health and well-being of the most vulnerable refugee and asylum seeker population through the program which includes provision of financial subsistence allowances, access to health services and provision of psychological and social interventions. It is within the context of lack of official recognition for refugees, social isolation and lack of employment opportunities that Save the Children focuses on increasing access to basic medical, psychological and social services - contributing to the improved health and well-being of these target communities.
Another program supported by USAID aims to assist in scaling up evidence-based, high-impact maternal, newborn and child health interventions and thereby contribute to significant reductions in maternal and child mortality. The project is implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Public Health and Reforms Center and includes expanding the existing newborn resuscitation competency-based training packages, developing a competency-based package on clinical assessment of the newborn, strengthening training of birth attendants conducted by Republican Prenatal Center, and finally initiating incorporation of the training packages into national curricula for birth attendants.
Child Rights Governance
Save the Children supports meaningful, good quality children’s participation that provides children a genuine opportunity to express their views, be involved in decisions, or take action through the project which is implemented in twenty communities in Baku, Sumgait, Ganja and Lenkoran, targeting girls and boys aged 14 to 18 equally and including children from vulnerable backgrounds such as internally displaced and refugee children, children in institutional care, street children, and children with disabilities – empowering these groups to develop policy recommendations on issues which directly involve their rights and rights violations.
Unless otherwise noted, facts and statistics have been sourced from Save the Children’s 2018 End of Childhood Report. You can access detailed data here. Other sources as follows: Population: CIA World Factbook 2015; The World Bank, 2016; Unesco Institute for Statistics (UIS)
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