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Brighter Days Ahead for Shuttle Participant


Nargiz Aslanova, 28, from Barda, Azerbaijan, came to hear about the Employment Shuttle programme through a chance meeting with a friend. An only child helping to support her widowed mother who is a seasonal worker, Nargiz studied and graduated in Tourism Management, which she followed with work experience with Asan Volunteers and later worked for the Regional Development Public Union. It was from here Nargiz’s interest turned to the field of social work. However, despite her best efforts, Nargiz struggled to find gainful employment and was losing hope and the motivation to improve her situation. That all changed when Nargiz heard about the Shuttle programme and she immediately applied for a place.

The Shuttle programme brings together 20-25 people that are seeking employment and over a five-month period assists them to improve their professional and personal competencies through coaching support, teamwork and peer-to-peer learning. In Barda, the Shuttle programme is run by GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) and supported by Action Against Hunger, who devised the approach in Spain several years ago.

After a successful interview, Nargiz was accepted into the Shuttle programme. From attending the sessions and trainings on soft skills development and with the mentoring support of her coach, Nargiz’s self-confidence steadily grew. She began independently applying for other training courses and workshops that she felt would boost her chances of finding meaningful work and that would put to good use her talents and the new skills she had acquired from the Employment Shuttle. She took courses in volunteerism, ecological issues, empowerment of rural women and gender equality, among others, that were run by organisations in Azerbaijan. It was her participation in the project, “Women’s Participation”, run by USAID and Counterpart, that eventually led her to finding a job as a specialist in social work within the Family, Women and Children Committee branch in Aghdam. “I am so happy because I am the person now who has the self-confidence to achieve my goals. I have new hope and new dreams, and, in the process, I have made many new friends from all over Azerbaijan”, she says. But Nargiz is not stopping there. She hopes to continue her education, possibly in university, and with that, progress her career even further. With her new-found self-belief and her drive to continue to gain valuable experience the future is looking so much brighter than in the days before she joined the Employment Shuttle back in February 2019.

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