Armenian community based organisations develop new strategies in addressing social needs

Budapest/Yerevan. 20 June 2015.

amIntensive cooperation among the countries of the Visegrad Group and the Caucasus show graspable results in increasing the sustainability of regional community based organizations (CBOs) in Armenia, including the development of social enterprises and cross-sectoral cooperation. Within an international project funded by the International Visegrad Fund, three local Armenian CBOs in regional towns were awarded for developing their ideas and organisations: “Pulse of Community” from Vardenik, the Independent Experts Association (IEA) from Vanadzor, and Regional Partnership and Development Centre (RDPC) from Yeghegnadzor. To various degree, and using different methods of operation, all three awarded organisations are solving local issues with the active involvement of their local communities. In addition to making possible the implementation of their projects, with the support of experts from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and Armenia, the awarded CBOs were offered assistance in developing their organizations, harmonizing their organizational mission, vision, and values with longer-term sustainability plans.

The organization “Pulse of Community” from Vardenik successfully develops its activities based on the needs of the local community, but also actively involving in the initiatives support from local businesses and building good relation with local self-governing bodies. The priority tasks of the organization are flexible, so that they can respond to the most urgent needs of the community. In the awarded “Youth Club” community building project, a dance school was established in a mode resembling a social enterprise. The project involved young people to take more responsibility in implementing project activities and also to work more independently.

The Independent Experts’ Association (IEA) from Vanadzor is a CBO with a “movement potential” surpassing the needs and concerns of the local community. The Association takes part in national movements for issues related to social justice, ecological movement, and the use of public space. In collaboration with NGOs, professional associations and the media, IEA used their IVF grant to create a campaign against sex-selective abortions of female children. The campaign was carried out against the background of the precarious situation of many young women in the Armenian countryside who are put under pressure from their extended families to undergo abortions when pregnant with a girl. In addition, in general, young women have poor knowledge about the risks of pregnancy and delivery and lack advice or support when facing pregnancy with girls. The Association set out to increase awareness in society on this issue via a media campaign and provided examples and demonstrated possible social services as solutions to maintain the health of pregnant women.

Located in Yeghegnadzor, the Regional Partnership and Development Centre (RDPC) detects the pressing social needs and help authorities in designing good strategies in addressing these in efficient ways. The awarded project was aimed at incorporating youth in regional tourism development. After participation in the workshops, the involved young people conducted on-line research on European and Georgian good practices, visited the local small and medium companies that provide tourism, hospitality and related services to identify development needs and opportunities. Finally, the young participants came up with ideas for tourism development initiatives, which were presented also to authorities.

The awarded campaigns occurred within the framework of „Learning by Doing - Practice-oriented V4 support for strengthening civil society in the Caucasus” project, led by Hungarian Foundation for Development of Democratic Rights (DemNet), in partnership also with NGO “Millenium” from Yerevan, Armenia. The project was financially supported by the International Visegrad Fund.

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Three models of Armenian community based organisations
and their development through the “Learning by doing” approach

 

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