Azerbaijan, Baku, September 13 /Trend, S.Ahmadova/
The U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan held a grant signing ceremony for the Summer 2013 round of the Democracy Commission Small Grants Program, according to the information from U.S embassy in Azerbaijan, Trend reported.
According to the information, ten local non-governmental organizations and initiative groups that participated in the merit-based competition were awarded within the program. They will implement projects focused on the development of civil society and democratic institutions in Azerbaijan, namely fighting trafficking in persons, fostering youth development, creating civic oversight mechanisms in the regions, advocating for ex-prisoners' rights, raising awareness on early and forced marriages in the regions, and promoting women's rights.
U.S. Embassy Azerbaijan Deputy Chief of Mission Dereck Hogan, and Public Affairs Officer Stephen Guice greeted the winners of the program. Organization representatives spoke about their activities and future plans.
The information also noted that the Democracy Commission Small Grants program aims at building and developing Azerbaijan's democratic institutions and civil society by awarding competitive small project grants (maximum $24,000) and is only open to Azerbaijani nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations, nonprofit community-based organizations and other nonprofit associations and community groups, as well as independent local media organizations. The competition is open to all well-developed grassroots initiatives aiming to create open, tolerant and democratic society, develop pluralistic communities and foster social responsibility. Topics are updated during every round to keep in line with the current tendencies in Azerbaijani society, however, four main directions are considered to be priority for the program's next rounds, including freedom of speech, youth development, women's issues, civil society capacity building in Baku and the regions.
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