Survey Helps ANAMA Realize New MVA Projects

by Dr. Rauf Mamedov [ Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action ]

Following a Mine Survivors Needs Assessment Survey in 2004,1 the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action and several nongovernmental organizations are working closely to bring victim assistance to mine and unexploded ordnance survivors throughout Azerbaijan. Since 2005, victim assistance in Azerbaijan has included five needs-based projects, as well as individual assistance provided to survivors, such as treatment sponsorship and wheelchair provision.

The new ANAMA database was created as a result of the Mine Survivors Needs Assessment Survey in 2004 and serves as a reliable and useful source of information on mine/UXO survivors' needs. It has proven itself with a number of successful pilot projects, which are now being realized and put into practice under the leadership of ANAMA.

Under the project, researchers have interviewed 1,883 mine survivors living in 65 areas of Azerbaijan about their needs. A special questionnaire, created by ANAMA specialists, reflects various needs of victims in the following areas: medical care, economic and educational assistance, physical and professional rehabilitation, psychosocial support, suitable sports and others. Using the newly created database helped ANAMA recognize the particular needs of survivors; therefore, it has become easier to plan and realize new projects.

Recent VA Projects in Azerbaijan

Organization of summer camps. One of the first projects in the field of mine-victim assistance was the project "Organization of Summer Camps" for injured children and children from mine-victims' families. This project started in 2005 in cooperation with UNICEF, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the U.S.-based organization Right to Play. One hundred twenty children from war-affected and borderline districts spent their rest and leisure time over a two-month summer break at a boarding school in the Geranboy district. The children enjoyed relaxation and fun activities while staying at the school.

At the beginning of 2006, four more projects began. National NGOs, which are active participants of the ANAMA MVA Working Group and given grants by ANAMA through a bidding process, were responsible for implementing all projects.

Organization of sanatorium treatment. The project with the NGO Shefali Eller ("Healing Hands" in English) on "Organization of Sanatorium Treatment" for 120 mine survivors, was successfully completed recently in the Mardakan settlement (one of the suburbs of Baku), in a boarding house sublet to the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection.

Image 1Image 2
A mine survivor receives a medicinal bath (top) and electroencephalography (bottom). All photos courtesy of ANAMA

This MVA project, sponsored by the European Commission, is actually the first project ANAMA has implemented in cooperation with local NGOs. Mine survivors are delivered from their residences to a boarding house where they rest and receive medical care, mostly physical-therapy treatment, and then are brought back to their residences. The majority of survivors express their gratitude for the organization of such services; they also emphasize the usefulness of the treatments and their hope that they will continue to receive this and other services. In light of this positive response, ANAMA intends to continue implementation of such projects in the future.

Establishment of Mine Victims Association. The NGO International Eurasia Press Fund initiated the project to establish the Mine Victims Association in the Terter district, which is ongoing. The U.S. Department of State's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement is sponsoring this project for a period of three months.

The project's goal is to mobilize internal resources of the community through the establishment of the Mine Victims Association to meet survivors' needs in medical care, physical and psychological rehabilitation; education, social and vocational adaptation; economic assistance; and financial support. The sustainability of this project will strengthen the community's capability to solve problems it faces and improve civil society. The skeleton of the organization consists of 10 mine survivors (in total, there are about 230 mine survivors in the Terter district); however, the goal of the project is to expand the activities of the association to a national level.

Revision of disability degrees. In August 2006, two projects started at once, the "Revision of Disability Degrees" and "Integration of Mine Survivors into Society through Vocational Rehabilitation in Ganja Regional Resource Centre". The European Commission sponsors both projects with additional support from the United Nations Development Programme. The project "Revision of Disability Degrees" is being conducted by two NGOs, Dirchelish ("Revival" in English) and Protection of Human Rights.

Of the 1,883 mine survivors interviewed during the Needs Assessment Survey in 2004, 400 persons expressed the need for a review of their disability status. It is crucial for many of them because:

Image 3Image 4
Family members work on tailoring, and a finished carpet created by mine victims and their families.
Image 5
ANAMA helps survivors recover their self-sufficiency.
Image 6
Thanks to the financial support of ANAMA, Rashid Veliyev, who suffered an injury from an anti-tank mine, had two operations—above-the-elbow resurgery and extraction of a fragment from his right eye.

As a country in transition, Azerbaijan and its people are experiencing some adjustments in social life that are not always positive. The Needs Assessment Survey reflected that some people with disability status have some unresolved social issues largely due to the current level of family income and lack of social services, including peer support systems. Some of the issues expressed included lack of documentation at the time of injury and bias against disabled people on the part of government employees providing care. Consequently, ANAMA decided to provide a solution to these problems, to find and eliminate reasons for social tension and discontent among mine survivors. As a result of the "Revision of Disability Degrees" project, the following will be achieved:

  1. Strengthening mine survivors' social protection
  2. Growth of real income of families over their lifetimes
  3. Acquisition of knowledge on mine survivors' rights and opportunities through the network
  4. Increased care by society toward the problems of disabled people and opportunities for the disabled to be integrated into society
  5. Participation of mine survivors in mine-risk education delivery and training
  6. Acquisition of real knowledge about implications of current legislation and recommendations developed

Vocational rehabilitation in Ganja. The project called "Integration of Mine Survivors into Society through Vocational Rehabilitation in Ganja Regional Resource Centre" is implemented by the NGO Ojag ("Fire" in English) from Ganja city. In this project, mine survivors will learn new professions. The ultimate goal of the project is to integrate mine survivors into society through vocational rehabilitation and facilitate income-generation for their families. With this goal in mind, 20–25 mine victims—either disabled people or their family members—are trained in carpet weaving and tailoring over a period of four months.

Successful trainees are provided equipment and materials for self-employment and self-sufficiency. The materials are purchased with funds received for carpets and clothes the trainees have made and sold during special events arranged for donors and other interested parties.

Individual Assistance

In addition to carrying out projects, ANAMA also provides individual help to especially disadvantaged mine survivors. At the given stage of national agency activity, this help may include sponsoring surgical treatment of survivors and providing them with wheelchairs.

There is work on new MVA projects in such fields as providing ophthalmologic care to all identified mine survivors in the country who need it (about 433 people), providing microcredit loans, creating collective farms and other agricultural opportunities, etc. Besides these projects, ANAMA, in collaboration with foreign partners, made it possible to share experiences obtained in this field. These experiences include visits of professionals working in the sphere of MVA as well as mine survivors themselves visiting other countries and receiving some treatment there. The main purpose is to increase knowledge of MVA specialists and to increase access for intercommunication of mine survivors.

An example of individual MVA can be seen in the case of assistance to mine survivor Elman Aliyev. With the assistance of the government of Slovenia and support from the Consulate of the Republic of Slovenia in Azerbaijan, Aliyev, a landmine survivor from Azerbaijan, will undergo rehabilitation treatment at the Institute for Rehabilitation, Republic of Slovenia.

Aliyev will receive a prosthesis and complete rehabilitation treatment through support of International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance and IR-RS. Sponsors for the initiative are a number of local and international organizations in Azerbaijan.

Conclusion

Researching and recording the needs of mine/UXO survivors has helped ANAMA plan, implement and coordinate several new projects in the field of mine victim assistance. By giving the Azeri survivors a voice, ANAMA has been able to provide more focused victim assistance in areas such as medical treatment, economic support and socioeconomic rehabilitation, achieving positive results for almost five years. As always, ANAMA staff are ready to share their experience with any interested colleagues.2 Bullet

Biography

HeadshotRauf Mamedov is a general practitioner and a 1988 graduate of Azerbaijan State Medical University. He worked in diagnostics as a cardiologist. From 1996 to 2000 he was involved in activities with Relief International in Azerbaijan as a Mobile Health Unit physician. He has worked for ANAMA since July 2001 and made significant contributions to the survey procedures described in this article.

Endnotes

  1. For more information, please see "Mine Victims Needs Assessment and Assistance Coordination." Journal of Mine Action. Issue 10.2, January 2007. pp 72–76. http://www.jmu.edu/cisr/journal/10.2/notes/mamedov/mamedov.shtml. Accessed 27 March 2007.
  2. All the figures submitted for the article were obtained according to the Countrywide Mine Survivors Needs Assessment Survey conducted by ANAMA in 2004.

Contact Information

Dr. Rauf Mamedov
Victim Support Officer
Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action
Tel: +994 12 495 8401
Cell: +994 50 364 8470
Fax: +994 12 497 4427
E-mail: rauf@anama.baku.az
Web site: http://www.anama.baku.az/