The Council of Europe and the Azerbaijani authorities in charge for youth policy at national level have been cooperating in the field of youth policy since the early nineties before Azerbaijan became a member state of the Council of Europe. This cooperation aims to support Azerbaijan in the development of youth policy in line with the Council of Europe standards, principles and approaches.
Specific bi-lateral co-operation activities between the Council of Europe Youth Department and the Ministry of Youth and Sport of the Republic of Azerbaijan were included for the first time in the Council of Europe Action Plan for Azerbaijan 2014-2016 and continued in the Council of Europe Action Plan for Azerbaijan 2018-2021.
Since then, cooperation has been significantly strengthened, especially with a focus on supporting non-governmental youth organisations in their role as actors in the implementation of the Council of Europe's Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education. Both projects included standards setting with public authorities through expert advice and training; capacity-building activities and the provision of educational resources in Azerbaijani language for promoting human-rights education and democratic youth participation and for supporting the implementation of relevant Recommendations of the Committee of Ministers, namely “on Access of young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods to social rights”, “on Access of young people to rights” and “on Youth work”. The activities were held in different regions of Azerbaijan and at the European Youth Centres in Strasbourg and Budapest.
The first youth project “Capacity-building of youth leaders and activists from Azerbaijan, on human rights education and democratic citizenship” was implemented in 2017-2018, and included a Long-term training course on human rights education and democratic citizenship with youth leaders and activists from the Republic of Azerbaijan. A training course on democratic citizenship and youth participation for specialists from authorities working with young people and for representatives of youth non-governmental organisations from Azerbaijan and a National Forum on Human Rights Education, as well as the translation of relevant manuals into Azerbaijani, were also implemented in this period.
The project “Supporting the development of participative and rights-based youth policy and values-based youth work” covered the period 2019-2022 and continued the efforts of the first project by engaging all levels of youth work and youth policy in Azerbaijan, including youth houses, youth centres and local youth organisations in developing participatory youth projects and programmes. This project strongly contributed to improving in creation the conditions for building network/pool of youth trainers and educators in human rights education, supported non-formal education activities in Azerbaijani language, and brought the Azerbaijani youth policy agenda closer to the Council of Europe approaches and principles.
The youth projects in the Council of Europe Action Plan for Azerbaijan were based on the experience of working with youth workers, youth leaders and young people on the integration of citizenship and human rights education into youth work in Azerbaijan. The adoption of the 2030 strategy of the Council of Europe youth sector has strengthened the case for a closer integration of the triangle youth participation, youth policy and youth work as a basis for qualitative youth interventions.
Key activities in 2017-2018
- Compass Long-term Training course on Human Rights Education and Democratic Citizenship with Youth Leaders and Activists
- Have Your Say! Training on Democratic Citizenship and Youth Participation for Specialists from Authorities Working with Young People and for Representatives of Non-governmental Youth Organisations (a 50/50 training)
- Translation and publication of Compass, a manual for human rights education with young people
- Translation and publication of Have Your Say!, a manual on the revised European charter on the participation of young people in local and regional life
- National Forum in human rights education on the occasion of the launch of the Azerbaijani versions of Compass and Have your say!
Activities implemented in 2019-2022 (summary of results by objectives)
Objective 1 - Promoting human rights education and access of young people to social rights
- Training seminars on human rights and democratic citizenship education in youth work in 2019 and 2021 i and allowed them to get acquainted with standards and approaches of the Council of Europe on human rights and democratic citizenship education in youth work. Youth leaders and multipliers active in remote areas of Azerbaijan, were supported to apply approaches and educational resources of the Council of Europe on youth participation and human rights education through e-learning, mentoring and local projects. As a follow-up of the training modules 12 local activities on human rights and democratic citizenship education were implemented by participants in their communities.
- A Compass national training course on human rights education in 2021 increased knowledge and skills of twenty-two young trainers and multipliers from ten districts and cities of Azerbaijan.
- Fifty-four young people from Ganja, Samukh and Goygol took part on a series of activities for strengthening civil society and youth work based on human rights and democratic citizenship values. These trainings highlighted the importance of equality, democratic citizenship in human dignity and developed knowledge and competences of participants on human rights education by applying the Compass manual for their future initiatives.
- A training-seminar for twenty youth workers was held in Lenkaran with the aim to strengthen participants knowledge on social rights, as well as to improve their competencies on working with vulnerable groups. This was complemented by involving youth organisations to the process of working with young people coming from disadvantaged communities. The project used channel on YouTube to reach more youth workers and community leaders through educational videos on social rights and active citizenship.
- Five modules including 2 in-person training and several virtual meetings and digital exercises conducted by participants. The learning modules supported emerging young leaders, multipliers, and trainers from Azerbaijan with skills, knowledge, and attitudes in understanding the Council of Europe approaches to youth work through human rights education.
- A national seminar on the campaign for revitalising democracy was organised in Azerbaijan and supported the visibility of the activity in the country, resulting also in a visible participation of Azerbaijan in Youth Action Week.
Objective 2 - Recognition of non-formal education and development of a network of youth trainers
- The Council of Europe key educational resources and various recommendations in Azerbaijani on youth participation and youth work, presented in Baku in December 2021, have become good tools for youth workers, trainers and practitioners to improve their knowledge and apply it in practice. The conference "Strengthening Youth Work in Azerbaijan" brought together partners and representatives of the youth, education and human rights sectors.
- A national seminar for trainers and youth workers using non-formal education under the title Common grounds for networking for non-formal education was held in September 2022 and fostered exchange between youth workers and trainers and encourage the further development of trainers’ networks in Azerbaijan interested to work with the Council of Europe youth work values and approaches. The 32 participants explored the notion of quality in non-formal education and training activities and how to apply it in Azerbaijan. One of the main outcomes of the event was a new informal network and springboard for establishment of a future trainers’ pool which should play a key role in the new chapter of quality and development of non-formal education in Azerbaijan.
- A long-term training course for trainers in non-formal education (TRAYAZE) was initiated in Baku in November 2022. The course is set to develop participants competences necessary to implement quality non-formal education/learning activities, and support youth work and youth policy development in Azerbaijan according to Council of Europe values and standards. Involving 34 participants-trainers, TRAYAZE is a long-term training course, is a complex capacity-building activity, that comprising various forms, working methods for personal development and practical experience of the participants. In addition to this seminar, the course includes e-learning, mentoring and personal development as well as a practice phase based on training projects. The course was completed with and an evaluation and consolidation seminar in Strasbourg at the end of 2023 and should represent a landmark in the provision of quality non-formal education and youth work in Azerbaijan.
Objective 3 - Raising the quality of youth work and the development of youth centres
- A seminar for representatives of youth houses and youth development and career centres took place online in November 2021 and allowed a vast range of managers and programme officers to understand the Council of Europe quality standards for youth centres and the Committee of Ministers recommendation on youth work as a first step towards renewing and updating the role and programme of youth houses and youth centres. The 88 participants from 22 youth houses and 40 youth development and career centres discussed general objectives, features and approaches to help staff of the centres to understand better their mission, to situate their work and its qualitative development alongside the principles of youth participation and civic engagement.
- A “50-50” training course on Young people’s access to rights in Azerbaijan took place at the European Youth Centre Strasbourg from 23 to 27 May 2022. The seminar strengthened youth participation and access of young people to social rights for further development of youth policy and youth work in Azerbaijan by enhancing competences and cooperation with different stakeholders at local and national level. The thirty participants explored the notions and meanings of youth participation and human rights and get acquainted with the relevant Council of Europe policy standards including the ENTER! Recommendation and the Revised Charter on Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life.
- The training place at the European Youth Centre Budapest from 18 to 22 July 2022. youth The twenty-six participants explored the Council of Europe quality standards for youth centres, reflected on the current place of youth participation, citizenship and human rights education in the work of the youth centres and improved skills of planning the educational activities of the youth centres taking into account the experiences of the Council of Europe.