Reconstruction of Dede-Gorgud Village Medical Point in Azerbaijan

Situation

The Medical Point of Dede-Gorgud, constructed in 1986, provides medical services for more than 800 families in the area. Located in the Saatli region of Azerbaijan, about 200 km (124 miles) away from the capital Baku, the building is remote and has not been renovated since it was first built.

Over the last few years, patients have begun refusing to accept medical procedures at the Medical Point due to the substandard situation and absence of proper sanitary and hygiene conditions. Approximately 400 patients and 60 pregnant women choose to seek treatment at other, farther away hospitals every year.

What We Did

Through the US Department of State Small Reconstruction Project initiative, Counterpart International was able to fully reconstruct the six-room Medical Point. New ceilings were installed using more durable plastic materials. Floors were replaced with a new linoleum cover. The walls were plastered and repainted, and the windows and doors were replaced with plastic ones. The electricity system was restored, and a completely new drain and waste system was installed. Counterpart was also able to convert one room into a bathroom, so personnel and patients would not have to use the outdoor bathroom.

The Medical Point’s staff helped the project by cleaning the site of debris; laying stone blocks; and plastering during the reconstruction. They also provided fuel and electricity. The local municipality donated a 1.0 metric ton iron water tank so the Medical Point will now have a consistent water supply. Counterpart distributed five beds and three drawers to this institution from its commodity distribution project.

Counterpart’s Small Reconstruction Project has provided the Medical Point with better conditions for its patients. Moreover, the area families will no longer have travel to the Central Region Hospital located about 22 km away.

To learn more about Counterpart’s Small Reconstruction Projects throughout the Former Soviet Union, visit our Web site.

October 4th, 2010 | Tags: Azerbaijan, reconstruction, Small Reconstruction Project, SRP Azerbaijan | Category: Impact Stories | Leave a comment

Viewpoint Photo: Fiji

By Maggie Farrand

Seen here: A group of men transport ripe pineapples to their village. As part of the Regional Nutrition Action project, the Foundation for the South Pacific (FSP) worked alongside villages to increase their agricultural production in order to provide easily accessible, nutritious food.

In the 1970s, the Regional Nutrition Action project increased the availability of and access to nutritious food throughout the Namosi village of Fiji and introduce innovative community development activities.

Counterpart International, then the Foundation for the South Pacific (FSP), began its work in Fiji in the 1960s with a farming co-op and village remodeling project. For the next 30 years, FSP would continue working in Fiji, focusing on nutrition programs that brought new and improved fishing techniques, education about proper nutrition practices and practical ways to alleviate malnourishment among pregnant women.

The Regional Nutrition Action project, a 5 year program, worked closely with the Fiji Department of Health to initiate widespread education campaigns and provide nutritious food to mothers and their children. FSP designed a Nutrition Newsletter, targeting medical personnel, social workers and civil servants, on proper nutrition and health practices. The project also introduced community development activities to promote local businesses and income-generation for the villagers.

Learn more about our history on our website.

 

*This photograph is part of a series on Counterpart's blog called Viewpoint Photos. Each Viewpoint post highlights Counterpart's work in a country through the use of a single still image.

October 1st, 2010 | Tags: agriculture, Fiji, Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific, FSP, nutrition, pineapple, Regional Nutrition Action Project, Viewpoint | Category: | Leave a comment

Armenian Civil Society Index National Workshop Identifies Opportunities to Empower Civil Society

By the final session of the Armenian Civil Society Index (CSI) National Workshop, participants were tired. They had been hard at work since 9:30am, and by 6pm there was still much to be done. But as the members of the three task forces filed into the Manoogian Auditorium at the American University of Armenia and began presenting their final action plans, something unprecedented and exciting started to happen: for the first time in Armenia, civil society representatives had an honest conversation about the state of civil society in Armenia, without the input or guidance of any international donors.

It was the final plenary session of the CSI National Workshop. The event was constructed to bring together a broad range of civil society actors and partners in government, the business community, media, donors and academia to discuss the CSI findings, identify strengths and weaknesses of civil society and plan appropriate strengthening initiatives.

There were 84 participants from Yerevan and 11 other regions of Armenia in attendance. Counterpart International was pleased to welcome Deputy Minister of Health of Armenia Tatul Hakobyan, and USAID Deputy Mission Director John Seong who delivered opening remarks. Participants were also welcomed via video by CIVICUS Secretary General Ingrid Srinath. After a presentation of the research findings in the opening plenary session, the real work began. Participants broke into five working groups organized around the five dimensions in the CSI. The working groups reviewed and discussed the research findings and carried out an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) to civil society in Armenia. True to form, many lively debates were held throughout the sessions with active involvement from the participants.

After the SWOT analysis, it was time for participants to explore the concrete implications that the CSI research has on civil society in Armenia. Using the findings and the discussion, participants brainstormed priority areas that need to be addressed to strengthen civil society. The main priorities identified were the need to strengthen the institutional capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs), enhance the legitimacy of CSOs and to create consultancy mechanisms to fund organizations and CSOs.

From these working groups and priorities, ‘task forces’ were created. They met and drew up concrete action plans, including strategies, specific tasks and potential partners. The actions identified include promoting civic education, fostering closer cooperation with all stakeholders (government, media and business) and networking and coalition building. It was hard work, but it is important to build a foundation that will strengthen Armenia’s civil society.

And it was all to culminate here, in the final plenary session, with the presentation of the action plans. Despite the long workday, once the presentations began participants became re-energized. The future of civil society organizations in Armenia was debated and representatives discussed how that sector alone would be able to generate success and create lasting structures through intersectoral collaboration. As foreign donor funding to Armenia is certainly going to decrease in the coming years, it is vital for the sector to begin to prepare itself for this new reality.

During this final session, several project ideas were put forth that can potentially lead to a stronger and more sustainable civil society. Counterpart will now take the lead in creating a platform to turn these plans into action. Further meetings between participants will allow for the development of final actions plans and, with Counterpart’s help, the task forces will then have the opportunity to realize them.

Learn more about Counterpart's Civic Advocacy Support Program in Armenia.

September 29th, 2010 | Tags: Armenia, CASP, CIVICUS, civil society, Civil Society Index, civil society organizations, CSOs | Category: Impact Stories | Leave a comment

Garima Project Receives Visit and Praise from Department of State

Tara Sharma, Counterpart's Country Director, translates for Ambassador Verveer.

By Maggie Farrand

The U.S. Department of State Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, Melanne Verveer, recently visited the “Garima” project office in ­­­Delhi.

Garima, a USAID-funded initiative with Counterpart International, works closely with civil society and community groups to advocate for improved legal protection for women and girls and increased access to health services. 

Ambassador Verveer applauded the project’s achievements and noted that it could be replicated in other countries. She commended the implementing partners and beneficiaries for their ability and willingness to be catalysts for change in a multi-cultural society, and was particularly impressed with program collaboration at various levels of Government. Ambassador Verveer’s association with Garima began when she formally launched the program in Delhi last November. 

Speaking with Ambassador Verveer, program beneficiaries reported that the project has made them more knowledgeable about violence against women, and that laws prohibiting prenatal gender selection and child marriage helped them to become more active in the community.

Dr. G. Kausalya, Chief Medical Officer, Directorate of Health Services, Government of Delhi, noted that Garima-led training sessions for medical officers are going well and attendees are implementing their new knowledge in area clinics and dispensaries.

Garima (“dignity” in Hindi) operates in Delhi, Karnataka and Rajasthan. Counterpart International implements Garima in partnership with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).

Learn more about the Garima project.

September 22nd, 2010 | Tags: Ambassador Verveer, Department of State, DOS, Garima, India, women, women's empowerment, women's rights | Category: | Leave a comment

Trip Report: Counterpart Begins Programming in Chad

This first-person account is part of a regular series of how Counterpart works in the field. This story is by Abiosseh Davis, Program Coordinator for Knowledge Management.

In July 2010, Counterpart was awarded a grant to implement the Promoting Elections, Accountability and Civic Education (PEACE) program in Chad.

I arrived on the ground in late July and promptly commenced the process of establishing Counterpart’s presence in N’Djamena.

The opportunity to help with the start-up a new program was both thrilling and daunting. It was my first start up and I had no idea what to expect. The experience has turned out to be one of the most rewarding of my career to-date.

Gathering information about Chad is difficult; there are few websites that can offer any degree of insight, not even travel sites. Consequently, it is difficult to know what to expect.

What I discovered was a fascinating country with a mix of cultures, languages and religions. At the same time, Chad is struggling to balance an opening economy that has significantly increased investment and a desire for democratic change with the reality of persistent poverty and a legacy of conflict and authoritarian rule.

Through meetings with government officials and other electoral actors, it became clear that the Chadian population has experience voting, but little hope in significant change or oversight on government activities.

Counterpart’s PEACE program, led by the enthusiastic and knowledgeable Chief of Party, Renzo Hettinger, will work to enhance the capacity of the Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) to organize and conduct free and fair elections. Simultaneously, PEACE will support civil society through grants, training, and technical assistance to improve their ability to disseminate information and educate the population about electoral processes and to meaningfully engage the citizens of Chad in future elections.

Learn more about our PEACE program.

September 21st, 2010 | Tags: Abiosseh Davis, Chad, trip report | Category: From the Field | Leave a comment

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