AzRIP is a project established by the Government of Azerbaijan and implemented by the State Service on Management of Agricultural Projects and Credits under the Ministry of Agriculture of Azerbaijan Republic to invest in the rural development of six regions (Mughan-Salyan, Lower Shirvan, Nakhchivan, Karabagh, North and North West) of Azerbaijan, particularly targeting community-based infrastructure investments. The objective is for rural communities to identify their needs and then openly prioritize, plan, build, monitor and manage infrastructure projects for their social benefit and increase use of infrastructure services.
AzRIP provides financial and technical assistance to communities who are willing to invest some of their own time, labor and funds to improve the social wellbeing of their communities. Projects may include such things as the rehabilitation or new construction of schools, health posts, hospitals, potable water facilities, irrigation systems, electrical and natural gas systems, roads, bridges, community centers, etc.
Finances are provided through a loan from the World Bank to the Azerbaijan government. AzRIP targets rural communities with more than 1,000 and less than 10,000 people in areas that meet the criteria for high poverty incidence. These communities cover all regions of Azerbaijan.
The project has three components:
- Infrastructure: includes the identification, design, construction, rehabilitation, operation and maintenance of rural infrastructure, based on the priority needs identified by communities. The average size of Community Projects is USD$90.000. Community Projects over US$ 120.000 will require prior review by the Working Group.
- Capacity Enhancement. Communities, NGOs/CBOs and support service providers have their capacities enhanced through trainings, conferences, lessons learned seminars, consultations.
Project Management. This component finances the administrative and operational project implementation and management costs including the hiring of qualified personnel to undertake procurement, disbursement, financial management, as well as reporting, monitoring and evaluation.
Some of the key highlights of the project are:
- Communities are selected on the basis of infrastructure needs, community assessments and their ability to organize themselves and implement and maintain projects.
- AzRIP contributes up to 90% of the funds for projects. Communities must contribute at least 10%. At least 2% this must be in cash. The remaining 8% can be in their own labor or materials.
- Communities selected to participate in a Community Mobilization process facilitated by Project Assistance Team (PAT). PAT assist the communities in an open and transparent process of identifying their needs, prioritizing and selecting projects as well as electing a Community Project Committee.
- PAT train the Community Project Committees along with members of the Municipalities and community leaders in leadership, management, planning, accounting, procurement, project implementation, monitoring and proposal writing.
- Once the Community Mobilization and trainings are completed, communities, with the help of engineers they choose and with the assistance of the engineers of the Service Providers, design and plan their own projects and send project proposals to AzRIP for approval.
- Approval of projects is based on proper design, appropriateness of project, transparency of community approval and AzRIP’s site appraisal.
- For projects under $15,000, communities may procure materials and do their own construction. For projects over $15,000, a contractor must be hired through an open competitive bidding process.
The community establishes a Maintenance Committee with community funds to maintain the project throughout its life. Community has to make sure that, there is an arrangement either municipality or CBOs to be a base for maintenance and sustainability as well as operation of CPs
There are many successful stories within the framework of the project implementation. Most of them are based on communities’ mobilization and increased self-reliance of the inhabitants.
- An example of the transformative impact of AzRIP’s community investments is demonstrated by the current community action in Gaysa community, located in a remote area 25km from Balakan rayon centre. Communities that have successfully partnered with AzRIP for rural infrastructure community projects now have access to opportunities to apply for support to community-based livelihood projects. In Gaysa, there was not a single processing workshop or incubator in the locality. The community has embarked on a livelihoods incubator project and evidence suggests this was a relevant and strategic choice of investment. Every household has sufficient eggs for entry into the incubator, as well as corn seed for use as chicken feed. With the incubator operational, the majority of community members have the opportunity to deal directly with the production of chicken meat and eggs, using the breeder eggs and the corn seeds that they have in hand. Each household can provide 80-100 eggs for incubation and after 3 weeks they can recall 60 – 80 chickens. The income accruing to community residents enlarges due to the savings in reduced transportation costs to the market. The community has successfully transformed into a production and service delivery entity and community members have become entrepreneurs. Importantly, the incubator workshop is being managed by women entrepreneurs as a venture. The project in Gaysa resulted with the creation Limited Liability Company (LLC) with legal status that deals with private production and service delivery. It is fully functioning based on local human and natural resources. The most important thing for AzRIP is that members of the community earned such skills as participation in decision-making, making right project selection and management skills.
- AzRIP conducted a mobilization workshop under a pilot program on livelihood projects in 2013 and the Kamalli Business Group consisting of five members was elected. The geographical position of Kamalli, the favorable conditions for poultry development and other factors were considered closely, and the implementation of its Chicken Incubator Development project was approved. Today, 3,195 people from neighboring Naharli, Hajigasimli and Mazrali communities are also benefiting from this project. Consequently, its implementation addresses the needs for chicken in both the Saatli rayon and the overall Aran economic region. Buying eggs from the Kamalli community will continue to improve the welfare of the population and create new jobs. The people of Saatli will remember the success of this project and what it has provided them for many years to come.
The poor condition of roads has negatively affected the socioeconomic development of the Galabadin village and integration with neighboring communities. It has also caused serious difficulties in transporting community agricultural products. In a very short time, the community of Galabadin was mobilized around the problem. They succeeded in the rehabilitation of a 5,900 meter gravel road with AzRIP support.
Up to 90 000-120 000 USD from the State Service on Management of Agricultural Projects and Credits under the Ministry of Agriculture of Azerbaijan Republic Azerbaijan (funded with support from the World Bank) 10% of total cost is to be provided by community member (2% in cash and 8% in-kind)
State Service on Management of Agricultural Projects and Credits under the Ministry of Agriculture of Azerbaijan Republic
Azerbaijan Rural Investment Project
Subhan Asgerov, Director, Second Azerbaijan Rural Development Project AzRIP
Gulbaniz Ganbarova, Deputy Director and Community Development Manager
+99412 493 48 13, 493 66 07