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Home / Stories from the field

New eRiders in Azerbaijan

2003-11-17 23:17:18

eRider Selection Process in Azerbaijan

Our eRider project in Azerbaijan has just begun; we selected five eRiders to work on the project based on the following criteria:
- IT experience,- NGO experience,
- Ability to train people and to be trained,
- Good Azerbaijani and English.

The five eRiders selected are very well respected in the small IT/non-profit community of Azerbaijan:

Two of the new eRiders, Emin Huseynov and Anar Novruzlu, have extensive experience with the most active Azerbaijani web content development group Azer.Net [http://www.azer.net]. They have developed highly sophisticated content oriented portals and web sites. Also, Azer.Net is a unique web development group here that has worked on translating open source software into Azeri. Work they have done will help us to transition NGOs from using proprietary software to free/open source software.

Another recently selected eRider, Zaur Dadashev, worked for a very long time for the Eurasia Foundation (EF) and has contacts with many local NGOs which get funding from EF.
In addition to Zaur, there is another eRider - Yalchin Mammadov who has worked as a programmer and an IT consultant for different NGOs (local and international) for a number of years. He is famous for developing the first Azerbaijani spell checker.

2) After the Riots: The eRider Training in Baku

Our eRider training took place in Baku for four days. There were three international trainers who presented on project planning and design. They discussed in detail the eRider concept, description of models and procedures, internal eRider team needs assessments, skills inventory, background of NGO needs assessment, setting up
expectations and SWOT analysis of the team. Additionally we practiced interviewing NGOs. We used Georgia and Poland as case studies; we also reviewed documents that were used or created in Georgia.

3) Staff composition

Our eRiders group is mostly IT oriented. During the training, we discovered
that the general model of eRiding focuses more on IT and not on NGO work performance improvement. In order to fully maximize our work performance and assessments with NGOs we selected an eRider for our team with no IT experience, but with extensive knowledge of the NGO sector in Azerbaijan. Now our group of eRiders consists of four IT experienced eRiders and one NGO expert. All of those eRiders will work together for one month; however, given our limited budget for salaries we will only hire three eRiders next year. This month is considered a trial period. Nevertheless, we are certain that we will have a valuable and productive year.

For the next month, we will visit with NGOs and work on the following:

Assessment of IT needs
This assessment process will be done in two steps: The first assessment will be done during the selection process. All interested NGOs will have to fill out assessment forms and the results of those will be measured as our criteria. More detailed assessments will be done after the pilot group NGO’s are selected.

Development of the training resources
Our working group will prepare training materials for NGO staff depending on
the needs of the NGOs in trainings. All training will be held in the Open Society Institute’s (OSI) Internet Resource Training Center (IRTC). Trainings on different topics will be organized upon request from NGOs. All of the training materials developed will be available online soon on our eRider web site.

The development of communication standards
The development of communication standards will be developed by a small NGO group. The eRiders will develop ready-to-use solutions regarding the whole range of tools and technologies used by NGOs, taking into consideration their needs and requirements to network between NGOs.

Development of basic information security recommendations
There have been a number of seminars on basic information security which will be held in IRTC. We are planning to attract client NGOs to create information exchanges through AzerWeb and also to create web sites on the basis of the technical toolkit of AzerWeb. Within the framework of the project, online consultancy for NGOs will be created as a part of AzerWeb. That online component will cover comparative and factor analysis of the services, work and production market in Azerbaijan.


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