Representatives of IOM -International Migration for Organization, Mr. Serhan Aktorprak and Miyeon Park visited the Regional Vocational Training Center (VTC).
IOM is interested in developing partnership with IEPF on vocational trainings. IOM would like to send Victims of Human Trafficking to the center so that they can join various groups presently undergoing training at the center. IOM is particularly interested to send candidates to the groups on Bakery and on Agricultural Practices.
Nick Nwolisa, Head of the Foreign Relations and Programs Department of IEPF, gave the guests in-depth information about the aims and objectives of the project, as well as the long term plan for the center.
Although at this stage, IOM and IEPF is still working out the terms of work and both organization is in the process of developing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Members of the Azerbaijan Mine Victims Association meet at the Library space of the VTC to conduct an annual event. The event was made possible through the financial support of the support by the Council of State Support to Non-Governmental Organizations. AMVA through the meeting planned to determine as well as update social problems of mine victims in different regions of the country. The findings from the meeting would subsequent assist in a future plan to create round table discussion on high levels concerning challenges of mine victims.
Besides Terter, AMVA has got regional branches on 2 other regions of Azerbaijan, Fizuli and Agstafa. The regional branches were represented at the meeting as well. In total, about, seventy mine victims including family members from Fizuli, Aghstafa, Aghdam and Tartar participated in the meeting. In the meeting, it was also agreed to consider creating AMVA branch on Agdam region where it is equally noticeable that a high number of mine victims resides in the Agdam communities.
The Chairman of the AMVA Executive Board –Rey KerimOglu chaired the meeting.
Prior to the meeting, a public survey of the social problems of three hundred mine victims in Tartar, Fuzuli and Aghstafa where AMVA has got regional offices was undertaken; with also review of records of local governmental offices and institutions responsible for solving the problems of mine victim. From the finding it can be deduced that the most challenges mine victims face are unemployment, homelessness and lack of free medical services, and less pension.
Other side activities at the meeting were the participation of the media representatives and government officials. The head of Journalist Researches Center Seymur Verdizadeh, the editer-in-chief of the “Aghdam” newspaper Mr. Hetemli Bakhsheish, who himself is a mine victim, talked about the role of media in solving the problems of mine victims.
UNICEF Representative in Azerbaijan -Mr. Mark Hereward and his Officer-in-Charge of Education –Mr. Kenan Memmedli visited Tartar to assess the Vocational Training Center managed by the IEPF. VTC was opened for operation in 2009 and was built through the financial support of the U.S Department of State, through the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA).
Besides visiting IEPF center, the UNICEF representative also visited 2 schools in Terter, in order to get acquainted with the state of pre-schools and high school facilities in the Tartar district.
The Chairman of IEPF -U. Rehimoglu also took part in the meeting with the UNICEF delegate and the Head of Executive Authority of the Tartar District -Vidadi Isayev. Mark Hereward informed Mr. Isayev about the purpose of his visit to the Tartar district, and stated UNICEF intentions in assisting the war affected regions of Azerbaijan; and that he would like to see continued commitment of International communities to work in the Tartar district. He also had good words for IEPF, because of the various projects implemented by IEPF in the conflict zones. However, he added that UNICEF is also in Terter to learn about successes and see how it can be replicated in other regions of Azerbaijan.
Vidadi Isayev gave general information to the UNICEF delegate about the Tartar district. He also emphasized the great benefits of IEPF projects in the district, in helping community development, as a good way of collaborations between local NGOs and the government. The head of executive power remarked that his office will always support and even jointly collaborate to all initiated assistance to members of civil societies interested in working in Terter.
During their tour of the VTC, Mr. Hereward and Mr. Memmedli observe the training process carried out on Agricultural practices, computer and Advertisement designs, and carpet-making.
At the end of the visit Mr. Hereward with his delegate sat at the IEPF regional office with the Chairman of IEPF -U.Rehimoglu and the heads of Programs in order to share his impressions on the visit. He expressed his satisfaction on projects carried out by the IEPF as he emphasized the significance and importance of these kinds of works. Mr. Hereward remarked: “We highly evaluate your activities on assistance for the people who live in the war affected territories. I suppose there are enough opportunities for collaboration between UNICEF and IEPF, which we would obviously look into in the nearest future to see how to realize the purpose in assisting the war affected region”.
The US department of States through the Office of Weapon Removal and Abatement approved the expansion and extension of VTC. The expansion of the VTC entails the construction of additional spaces and improvement of facilities at the already VTC premise, while the extension of the VTC, IEPF want to develop a land provided by the Tartar Local authority for farming purposes. Agricultural activities would be carried out, the planting and growing of seedlings and also various horticulture plants.
These 2 projects are in line with the sustainable plan for the VTC. The center would have the capacity to have a suitable lodging space for visitors and participants in the center, while the farm would recycle the income generated from the sales of products into maintaining the farm activities as well as servicing other needs at the VTC.
The office of Weapon Removal and Abatement under the US department of States, Bureau of Military-Political Affairs, is committed in humanitarian assistance to the victims of war all across the globe. WRA has been assisting mine victims of Azerbaijan through IEPF since 2006; firstly with the establishment of the Azerbaijan Mine Victims Association (AMVA) in Tartar, with similar initiative in Fizuli and Aghtafa. All 3 regions are part of the Azerbaijan territories that are predominantly residing victims from land-mines and unexploded ordinance that are remnant of war, or stock piles during the Soviet times.
The trainer for the Agricultural practices is: Mr. Bardari Nizami.
The trainer and the trainees worked as a single workforce in the field of land appropriated for the purpose. The land that is measured about 1 hectare, several crops were planted such as: Apricot, Apple, vegetable plants, Nuts of various kinds, etc.
Seedlings were also cultivated for fruit trees and these seedlings are already demanded by needing farmers.
All the trainees in the Agricultural practice group are men and they are all victims of the war with various degrees of invalid. Most of them needed skills to develop and advance their small farms in order to sustain their needs and needs of their family members. Therefore the training was targeted on achieving this for the participants. The participants learnt how to improve the quality of their farm products through budding and grafting; how to argument their irrigations availability and doing good irrigation channelling, etc.
Most of the trainees were already applying the skills learnt in their own farms. Also the IEPF hopes to expand the activity of the farm to do large scale farming on seedlings within the project activity of “extension of the VTC”. The participants in the Agricultural trainings would be involved as workers in some cases for the farm activity in the extended VTC.
The trainer for the bakery product is: Mrs. Kamaqurova Aleksandra.
The gender make-up of participants in the training was all women. And all are married to husbands that are mine victims. Just like the women of the carpet weaving session, most of the women wanted to learn skills that can aid them in assisting their husbands in supporting the family financial needs.
Trainees were taught how to make different kinds of breads: round regular Azerbaijan breads, breads without yeast, bread rolls like in French “baguette”, and white and brown breads. Although, most of the women have had experience at home in baking, but not in baking to the standard that is for commercial consumptions; there the training was aimed to teach to the participants on the ability to produce large quantity of breads and that entails practicing on the right quantity for various ingredients appropriate with the size of flour to be used.
Besides the bread making, the women in the group were taught how to make several kinds of bakery products. Every week, a new type was introduced: Doughnuts, pies, sausages, Azerbaijan delicacies, like “Sakabura”, “Paklava”, and “Gouha”. Again, the purpose was to teach the women on how to produce these products in large quantities for commercial consumptions.
The trainer for the computer and advertisement design is: Mr. Kerimov Resad.
In the early stage of the training, the trainer took time to do computer appreciation for the trainees; the use of different parts of the computer, learning simple computer basic commands, learning simple short cuts, using Microsoft Office tools like Word and Excel, and PowerPoint.
In the latter stage, the trainees perfected their knowledge on Microsoft Office tools: especially the use of the Microsoft Word 2007. Also various MS tools like the PowerPoint, and Excels. They got a better understanding of these tools and its application.
Finally, the trainees for the computer and advertising-designs were taught the various software programs for designs. Firstly the Microsoft pictures manager program, then the use of paints. Also the use of Microsoft Word for designs was taught. The participants learnt how to make advertisement designs on Word program; the use of shapes, word Arts, Charts, and clip arts for producing an announcement, simple fliers, etc.
The trainer tasked the participants on producing various designs on announcement related to the vocational training center, the outcome was satisfactory as all of the participants showed a good level of comprehension of the training process.
The trainer for the carpet weaving is: Mr. Musa Imamverdiyev.
The participants in the carpet weaving, all women between the ages of 20 – 38; among the women, 7 are married with kids to provide for. The husbands of these women are mine victims are the sole providers for the family needs. Therefore, the carpet weaving skills to be acquired would assist the women to compliment the financial source of their husbands and therefore help in reducing the burden that the husbands have carried all the years past.
The participants demonstrated a high level of learning skills. The practical aspects of the training was conducted at the downtown office of IEPF where there is an already fixed carpet weaving machines used within the project of establishing the Azerbaijan Mine Victims Association. Although most materials and tools used for the training were purchased based on recommendation of the trainer, and also based on the particular type of carpet designs to be taught.
The training duration was for 20 weeks, 4 hours weekly. The participants were able to learn various decorative designs on carpet weaving. Most of them mastered the typical Azerbaijan pattern. Also the trainers taught the trainees on how to make various facial designs on carpets.
In the end of September VTC graduated the first batch of 32 persons who were trained in several vocational skills on Carpet weaving, Food and Nutrition (Bakery), Agricultural Practices, and Computer and Advertisement designs. The participants were all got satisfactory remarks from their trainers after consistent 4 hours weekly training for 20 weeks at the VTC center located in Tartar.
In another development, the VTC center has started the next batch of training for another 32 persons drawn from the mine victims, their family members, and the retired de-miners. The duration for the training would last from October all through to December.
The participants who have already completed their trainings are assisted by the VTC management and the IEPF headquarter office to get job placement and in some instance to go into or expand their existing profession particularly with the farmers that were involved in the training on Agricultural practices. For this purpose, the project grantor, the US Government through the Office of Weapon Removal and Abatement has approved a small fund within the project to be appropriated for micro-crediting.
The selected participants from the target groups of war victims, mine victims, retired de-miners and their family members learning vocational skills on Bakery at the VTC center in Tartar have almost completed their 20 weeks training course. The major part of the training was the practical aspects and all most of the trainees have perfected the skills.