Baku, Azerbaijan (October 18, 2013) – With support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Counterpart International announces a 2 year extension of the Women’s Participation Program (WPP) in Azerbaijan.

The WPP seeks to improve the status of women in Azerbaijan by advancing public awareness of issues important to and affecting women, and by empowering more women to participate in decision-making processes. Implemented by Counterpart International, in partnership with 13 local women’s organizations and the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs, the two-year program extension will:

• Increase public awareness of the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and women’s issues;

• Enhance the institutional capacity of local civil society organizations to engage in policy dialogue with the Government of Azerbaijan  on issues affecting women;

• Increase the number and influence of female leaders in decision-making processes;

• Issue policy recommendations to the Government of Azerbaijan for improving implementation of CEDAW, including proposing legislative initiatives to improve the status of women.

In the past two years, about 4,000 Azerbaijani citizens participated in program activities, increasing their knowledge of women’s issues. The program awarded grants to 13 local CSO partners and delivered training on women’s rights, political participation, and leadership. The WPP has also increased the capacity of journalists to report on gender issues and reached large audiences through TV talk shows, social media campaigns, and public service announcements on issues such as domestic violence, early marriage, gender equality and women’s education.

The WPP’s two National Women’s Leadership Conferences remarkably engaged over 200 diverse stakeholders in critical policy dialogue. This participatory process resulted in 42 policy recommendations calling for improvements to existing gender legislation; investment in monitoring, analysis, and research on gender issues; public awareness and training on gender issues; and the introduction of temporary measures, such as quotas, for increasing women’s leadership. These recommendations have been submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers for consideration, and the WPP partners are engaged in advocating for their adoption by the government and the creation of concrete implementation mechanisms.

“For the coming two years, we will continue our partnership with CSOs and the government to better respond to Azerbaijan’s commitment under CEDAW,” Ilgar Agasibeyli, WPP’s Chief of Party, said in reference to the WPP’s intention to build on its achievements. “As a country, Azerbaijan deserves talented and skillful women to have high chances to compete in electoral processes and broadly participate in decision making at the local governance level.”

 

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Counterpart International helps people build better lives and more durable futures, community by community. For 50 years, Counterpart has been an innovator, changing the way people look at, and solve, global development challenges. Today, we are working with more than 3,500 local organizations, and more than 150,000 leaders — including women and youth — in 24 countries around the world. Learn more atcounterpart17.wpengine.com.

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