Ganja is the third largest city in Azerbaijan, 340 km west of Baku, and home to more than 335,000 people, at least 5% of whom are internally displaced persons who have moved here from other areas of the country.
The city and the surrounding areas are among the poorest in the country. The local economy is dependent on agriculture, mineral extraction, transportation, and tourism. Like Baku, Ganja is undergoing a process of urbanization with significant income disparity.
Since 2005, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Ganja.
In the Ganja-Gazakh Economic Region, 33% of the population lives in poverty and is unable to meet basic needs.
Access to basic services is lower among rural populations, including Ganja: 1 in 4 household do not have access to water and 1 in 5 do not have access to gas.
Children born into poverty are more likely to experience a wide range of health problems. They may also face social exclusion that further worsens their prospects and leads to multigenerational poverty.
In Azerbaijan, there are very few early learning facilities. As a result, less than 1 in 10 children receive pre-school education. Children who go to pre-school often do better at school. In addition, 5% of children are not in primary school while 13% of adolescents are absent from secondary school.
The consequences of a poor educational background can be profound, from slower progress in learning and worse prospects for future employment. It can also restrict social and emotional development and increase children’s vulnerability to abuse and exploitation.