“DEMOCRACY INITIATIVES SUPPORT PROJECT (DISP) IN AZERBAIJAN” PROJECT
On January 1, 2013 Azerbaijan Youth Union (AYU) started to implement a “Democracy Initiatives Support Project (DISP) in Azerbaijan” with financial support from the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF). This 24-month project aims to enhance democracy through the participation of all groups in society enabled by a freer, and more prosperous civil society in Azerbaijan.
This will be achieved through a strengthened civil society in the regions of Sheki, Lenkaran, Ganja, Mingechevir and Guba and in a closer partnership with local governments and the Central Election Commission. The project will involve 5 local CSOs in 5 regions:
1) Bridge to the Future (BtF) Youth Union (Ganja) in Ganja;
2) Social Development of Women and Children Public Union in Guba;
3) Educational Center for Youth in Mingechevir;
4) “Yaddash” Enlightener Youth Social Union in Sheki
5) “Enlightenment” Public Support Association of Youth of Azerbaijan in Lenkaran.
The main strategy is to build the capacity of five selected local CSOs (implementing partners) to ensure the project impact and the expansion of capacity building to the grassroots level. It is expected that the CSOs will build sufficient capacity to become active and capable to develop and support partnership and networking with local stakeholders including officials. Through capacity building and awareness raising efforts and with the support of local governments, the project aims to increase the participation of women and youth in the coming Presidential (October, 2013), Municipal (December, 2014) and Parliamentary (November, 2015) elections in Azerbaijan.
The project holds a set of activities that will increase citizen understanding and participation in the democratic processes in connection with the elections. Capacity building efforts will target both voters and potential candidates, mainly women and youth. In addition, the activities will also promote cooperation between the civil society, local governmental structures and citizenry at different levels. AYU will organize trainings for CSOs, PFs (Public Forums), local exchange study tours; increase capacity of Resource Centers on electoral process and human rights.
The project will build the networking and collaboration between CSOs and municipalities, local Executive Committees and Election Commissions as well as will intends to greatly contribute with its voter education trainings and awareness- rising into increase of new voter numbers, particularly youth and women in coming elections.
The project will also make interventions by linking previously unassisted regions through Resource Centers, which will play a key role in disseminating voter information, with the capacitated CSOs, ultimately establishing a nationwide network with key CSO actors and local governmental institutions.