Women’s Association for Rational Development (WARD)

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WARD Women’s Association

for Rational Development


Women for Development, Development for Women!


  • Mission, vision, goal


Women’s Association for Rational Development (further WARD) was created in 2002 by a group of active women, who were united with the MISSION to contribute to the development of Azerbaijan through women’s empowerment and equal participation. WARD is a non-governmental, non-political and non-profit women’s organization, which was registered by the Ministry of Justice in 2005.


WARD’s mission is based on the faith that full democracy, justice and development cannot be reached if there is any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of gender, age, religion, ethnicity and affiliation. WARD is struggling against any kind of discrimination and violence.


WARD’s vision is democratic and prosperous Azerbaijan, where women are empowered with knowledge & consciousness to be equal & active citizens of the country.


WARD’s goal is empowering women and promoting gender equality in Azerbaijan.


  • Structure


The team of WARD includes founders, members, staff-members, activists, supporters, volunteers of WARD, gathered on the basis of common goals and interests.


WARD has 23 members (with quite strict membership criteria), which form the General Assembly (GA) of WARD – a supreme decision-making body, which is gathers once a year (usually held on the 3-rd week of every December) to evaluate the activity of the organization and discuss the yearly plan. All the members of the organization have a right to take part in the GA, vote, make suggestions and take part in the decision-making process of any current point of the WARD. The amendments to the Organizational charter and structure can be made only if at least 2/3 of all the members are present at the Assembly. Every three years, the GA elects chairwoman, MB members and CRC (Control Revision Commission) members as well as adopts the Plan of Action for next 3 years, which also requires 2/3 of the members’ presence.


Chairwoman – Daily activities of the organization as well as the supervision of the ongoing programmes is run and managed by the chairwoman of the organization, who has the authority to make decisions, supervise the work of departments, coordinate the work of programmes, represent the organization on national and international events, make proposals, sign the contracts, make financial operations, conduct lobbying and advocacy work, contributes to the fundraising process, etc.


The Management Board (MB) is a supreme Policy & Decision-Making Body between the periods of GA. All the issues, which require careful analysis and can influence the organization’s policy, activities, standpoint and reputation, are discussed on the meetings of MB. The decisions are made by a simple majority of votes among the members of MB. In addition to the ongoing activities of WARD, MB decides about the policy and standpoint of WARD to participate in any kind of joint actions, campaigns of other networks. The MB approves the applications for the membership and makes decision on its liquidation. The members of MB receive the list of issues to be discussed as well as information about the applier to membership, drafts of projects and any other materials which need to be discussed – at least 1 week prior to the meeting.


Control Revision Commission – the members of CRC are notified about every meeting of MB at least 1 week in advance. They have the right to participate in the meetings of MB without voting right. The CRC has the right to monitor and control the activities of the organization in general and departments in particular. The CRC make the independent internal monitoring of the ongoing projects/programmes and have the access to the financial information of the organization. The CRC prepares annual internal reports at the end of every year, the summary of the report is submitted to all the members to the General Assembly session.


Departments – 10 thematic and functional departments perform the interlinked and multifunctional activities within WARD. The main directions of activities, consisting of various methods and approaches, include: education, research, monitoring, protection and advocacy. The decision within the Department’s everyday work can be made by the head of the Department, who is appointed by MB every 3 years. However, all decisions, which may influence the policy and standpoint of WARD require the approval of MB.


  • Programs


WARD has the Action Plan, which is approved by GA once in 3 years. The current Action Plan of WARD has 4 programs in priority:


  • Gender Equality Program, aimed at eliminating gender-based discriminatory practices.
  • Healthcare Program, aimed at improving women’s reproductive health and rights.
  • Economic Development Program, aimed at enhancing female entrepreneurship.
  • Peace-building Program, aimed at strengthening women’s role in conflict transformation.


  • Activities


Using innovative and creative approaches for making social impact, WARD is engaged in:

  • assessing & road-mapping,
  • awareness-raising & capacity-building,
  • monitoring & reporting,
  • protecting & advocating,
  • networking & campaigning

for the implementation of all 4 Priority Programs.


  • PASSWORD to success


WARD has elaborated the PASSWORD – the code of values, principles and features, leading to success, that is Positivism (P), Accessibility (A), Skills (S), Solidarity (S), Wisdom (W), Objectivity (O), Responsibility (R), Dedication (D).


As a result, WARD managed to gain the main asset – the Honest and Positive Reputation of the organization, due to which WARD has constructive cooperative relations with other non-governmental organizations, state agencies, academic institutions, mass media outlets, business institutions, international organizations, diplomatic corps, and foundations.


  • Human Resources


WARD has extensive human resources:


  1. internal – 16 personnel (6 full-time and 10 part time), 23 members, 102 consultants, 120 thematic specialists, 290 thematic trainers and 411 regional focal points;
  2. external, specific infrastructures (such as Gender School, Women’s Parliament), created within WARD to address gender-related issues through researching, analysing, capacity-building, reporting, campaigning on women’s rights situation.


  • Coordination


WARD participates, joins, and supports numerous national and international events, actions, and campaigns through which it is possible to contribute to women’s empowerment. Currently, WARD coordinates/manages:


  • Gender School, the unique capacity-building infrastructure with gender-oriented profiled team, established in summer 2017 for upgrading the National Women Machinery of Azerbaijan, namely the gender focal points of the apparatus.


  • Women, Peace and Security Working Group, the unique platform, established in 2017 to unite state, non-governmental, media, international and academic sectors together to elaborate the first National Action Plan under UNSCR 1325, with further plans to advocate for adoption and implementation.


  • Women’s Parliament, a group of active and well-known women of Azerbaijan, united in 2010 under the single platform for improving women’s rights and gender equality situation in Azerbaijan through monitoring, reporting and advocacy to UN CEDAW Committee.


  • Membership


WARD is an official member/partner of:


  • Open Government Partnership Dialogue Platform, established to push the government of Azerbaijan forward to the international commitments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.


  • National Platform of EaP Civil Society Forum, aimed at strengthening the diversity and plurality of public discourse and policy making by holding governments accountable and promoting fundamental freedoms, participatory democracy and human rights.


  • Human Rights House Azerbaijan, the international branch of Human Rights House Foundation/Norway, aimed at protecting, strengthening and supporting human rights organisations and human rights defenders of Azerbaijan.


  • Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, the international coalition of women’s groups and other civil society organizations, aimed at advocating for women’s leadership to be at the core of all efforts in peacebuilding, conflict prevention and sustaining peace. 


  • UNITED for Intercultural Action, the European network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants and refugees, aimed at eliminating discrimination.



  • Achievements


WARD is the initiator of dozens of “FIRST” initiatives, among which is the establishment of the first Maternity School in Azerbaijan (2007), establishment of the first Women’s Resource Center (2007), formation of Gender Expert Group (2010), establishment of the first Women’s Parliament in Azerbaijan (2010), creation of Women Councils at Municipalities (2011), elaboration and production of the “Gender and Management” 8-book Resource Pack for NGOs (2010, re-published in 2017), establishment of the first gender-profiled commercial organization “Gender Port” (2014),  establishment of Gender School (2017), etc.


In the period of 2002-2018 WARD had 75,000 targeted people and 456,000 direct beneficiaries. The overview of 2002-2018 has the following factsheet:

  • 131 types of publications (leaflets, booklets, manuals, toolkits, resource packs, guidelines, policy papers, monitoring reports, research reports, Sharing Experience Reports, shadow reports, Action Plans, index reports, roadmaps, policy papers)
  • 3290 events (forums, training, seminars, workshops, conferences, round tables, campaigns, lectures, sessions, festivals, marathons, competitions, exhibitions)
  • 25 video products (documentaries, PSAs, interviews)


  • Contacts


Address:       Afiyeddin Jalilov str. 26, apt.98

                  AZ1025, Baku, Azerbaijan
Tel/fax:       (+994 12) 490 40 44/408 40 44

Cell:            (+99450) 760 40 44, (+994 55) 868 40 44

Email:         ward.azerbaijan@gmail.com, info@ward.az

Web:                    www.ward.az


Head:          Shahla Ismayil (charwoman)
Cell:            (+994 50) 630 99 36
E-mail:        Azerbaijan@shahla.org