Baku, Azerbaijan, January 06, 2010 --(PR.com
)-- The Council on State Support to NGOs under the auspices of the President of Azerbaijan (NGO Council) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on December 15, 2009. The MOU sets a framework for strengthening civil society institutions and institutionalizing open, transparent public financing mechanisms in Azerbaijan, promoting cooperation between the parties relating to Counterpart International’s (Counterpart) Civil Society Project.
The MOU builds upon a foundation of cooperation that has been in the making since the establishment of the NGO Council in 2008. It was signed by Mr. Azay Guliyev, the Chairman of the NGO Council, Mr. Jock M. Conly, USAID Caucasus Mission Director and Mr. Michael Kunz, Chief of Party for USAID Civil Society Project led by Counterpart.
At the ceremony, Mr. Conly said: “Open and transparent public financing of NGOs is an important part of building a sustainable NGO sector with the capacity to deliver demand-driven services to constituents and ability to effectively participate in the Government of Azerbaijan's socio-economic development reform agenda. A number of exciting initiatives serve as an example of the potential for collaboration between USAID's Civil Society Project led by Counterpart International and the NGO Council, including the strengthening of institutional capacity of NGO Council’s Secretariat, joint organization of an international Civil Society Conference, as well as potential co-financing of NGO initiatives promoting socio-economic development.”
The NGO Council was established by Azerbaijani Presidential decree on May 15, 2008. It has implemented two grant rounds, providing 430 Azerbaijani NGOs with a total of $4 million in grants assistance on a competitive basis. In 2010 the NGO Council expects to launch a third round of grants, totaling approximately $3.5 million.
Counterpart’s Civil Society Project in Azerbaijan, which began in 2005, assists the NGO Council in institutionalizing international best practices in the area of open and transparent public financing for NGOs.
Established in 1965, Counterpart International (Counterpart) has forged strategic partnerships in more than 65 countries. With 350 staff currently operating in 25countries, Counterpart’s programs encompass humanitarian aid and relief assistance, health care, democracy and governance, natural resource management and feeding the impoverished. Though Counterpart’s projects are diverse, they share a common objective: improving the lives of those in need by empowering people and local institutions to develop innovative, holistic, and lasting solutions that address social, economic and environmental challenges. Learn more at www.counterpart.org.