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ITF-ANAMA EVALUATION MISSION: THE PROJECT SUCCESSFULLY PROGRESSES

According to the tripartite Agreement signed on October 10, 2007, ANAMA and International Trust Fund for Mine Clearance and Mine Victim Assistance (ITF) are the Contracting Authorities and the Mission of the International Organization of Migration in Azerbaijan (IOM- Azerbaijan) is the Implementing Agency within the project titled "The Community Based Small Business Trainings and Micro-credit Revolving Fund for Azerbaijan Mine Survivors". The Project is being funded for 70% by the Austrian Development Agency. The rest of the budget is covered by contributions from the governments of Korea, Slovenia and Azerbaijan. The Project is being implemented in five districts of Azerbaijan and envisaged the integrated approach to micro-credits and will provide mine survivors the possibility to obtain small loans for start-up or expansion of small business through social intermediation, training on business skills and counseling for beneficiaries identified based on the results of the Mine Survivors' Needs Assessment conducted under the auspices of ANAMA in 2004. As it was scheduled, on April 22-24, 2008 Mr. Luka Buhin (ITF) and Mr. Aziz Aliyev (ANAMA) have undertaken the first semi-annual evaluation mission within the Project. First meeting held in IOM's office in Baku and related to the interim results and how they seen from the offices of the contracting authorities. The IOM suggested to arrange training sessions for mine survivors women with subsequent micro-crediting of their self-employment activities in two other districts. Effective use of revolving fund was also a subject for the discussion. About 60 mine survivors have already passed training on business skills and counseling, 38 of them have received micro-credits for business start-up within the project. Last group of twenty from Goranboy district have received the opportunity for additional income generation and improving their living conditions on April 18, 2008. Evaluation Mission, accompanied by the IOM's Project Manager Mr. Ashraf Mirzazade and Programme Liaison Ms. Sevda Mirzakhanaova, has visited a number of micro-credit implementation sites in Ganja and Barda districts. The borrowers have demonstrated commitment to the success both, in their business and in relations with the project. It is clear for all that it will need hard work to do. In Goranboy the Mission had the meeting with mine survivors who have received micro-credits recently. First impression of the Mission of what have been observed was positive. The documents related to the project activities have been also audited IOM's office in Mingechevir. It has been noted during all the days of the Mission work that there is still enough room for improvement in coordination of activities within the Project and for further cooperation.