The nearly century-old village of Zardabi lies on the Guba-Khachmaz road in northern part of Azerbaijan and is surrounded by thousands of apple and sour plum orchards. In Zardabi, like everywhere else in Azerbaijan, the social infrastructure collapsed along with the Soviet Union. To overcome social problems inherited from Soviet era, the community has closely collaborated with USAID-supported projects since 2006.
The road leading to the school and kindergarten was built more than 40 years ago and has undergone maintenance only rarely since then. Poor road conditions have caused major difficulties and delays in transporting agriculture goods and products to the local market, thus hindering the community’s socio-economic development.
The willingness and the initiative of Zardabi residents to address a number of unresolved problems drew the attention of the USAID-supported Socio-Economic Development Activity (SEDA). The program, which began in 2011 and ends in 2016, is designed to support small infrastructure projects in 100 communities. Following the training organized by SEDA, Zardabi Community Development Council (CDC) members developed a community project to repair the central street and install street lights. This street is important as it leads to the kindergarten, secondary school and cultural building. With further support from the district government, the local municipality and the Ministry of Economic Development, the Zardabi CDC took the critical steps of combining resources to put new asphalt coating on 370 meters of this road, repair the next 600 meters, and renovate and repair 20 street lights.
April 2013 will long remain in the memories of Zardabi residents, who celebrated the newly-paved road and street lights at a gathering in front of the village Culture Center. The rehabilitated road ensures safe transit for pedestrians and vehicles, thus improving the day-to-day living condition of 3,000 people in Zardabi community.
“Successful completion of the project is the rebirth of Zardabi people as our dream was realized,” said Amirsultan Aliyev, CDC coordinator for Zardabi. Emphasizing the collaboration of the community, the government and USAID, he added, “Now we feel strong enough to further play an important role in working with the government and donor organizations to identify and achieve development goals.”
USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia Paige Alexander, who attended the opening, said, “USAID was pleased to help convert the community’s knowledge, choice, plans, decision and vision into the reality that we celebrate today: this improved asphalt road.”
Last updated: March 18, 2014