REACTing to the needs of Armenia’s conflict-affected populationPublished: Jan 26, 2022 Reading time: 4 minutes
People in Need (PIN), in partnership with ACTED, the Armenian Association of Social Workers (AASW), and Mission Armenia, has launched a project called Relief and Early Recovery for People Affected by Conflict in Armenia (REACT), with funding from European Union humanitarian aid. REACT aims to meet the needs of more than 17,000 displaced people in the regions of Armenia.
Through this project, the consortium is working on key aspects of integration and aid in all the regions. The total budget of the REACT project is more than 2.5 million euro.
In particular, PIN is helping the most vulnerable 500 families in Syunik, Armavir, Ararat, Kotayk, and Vayots Dzor regions – many of whom have fled fighting in neighbouring Nagorno-Karabakh – with eco-friendly warming briquettes and another 2,000 families with utility payments. The selection and identification of aid recipients is conducted in close cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia and local municipalities. Beneficiaries are selected based on a needs-assessment and vulnerability criteria.
“We are glad that, with the European Union’s continuous humanitarian support, we are able to work on the integration of displaced people in Armenia, which will bring a long-term positive impact to the Armenian economy,” says Petr Drbohlav, PIN’s Regional Director for the Eastern Partnership and the Balkans.
To help displaced people in the affected regions find work and integrate into society, PIN is implementing vocational education courses in programming, pastry making, tailoring, hairdressing, and other careers. During the project, 1,500 people will receive career counseling to identify gaps in professional experience and guidance on relevant skills such as CV writing, networking, advising, and interviewing. Additionally, 1,000 people will receive vocational training and 700 will receive livelihood kits to help kickstart their business.
“In addition to increasing employability, REACT helps raise awareness of the benefits of vocational education, and is decreasing deforestation by promoting recycled briquettes as a means of heating alternative,” says Drbohlav.
“More than one year after the conflict, many affected people still find themselves in an extremely vulnerable position and struggle to find the resources to keep their families warm and healthy. Their dire situation is exacerbated by the harsh winter and the coronavirus pandemic. The EU is providing support for the conflict-affected population to help those most in need get through the winter,” says Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia.
Another feature of the REACT project is PIN’s operation of seven child-friendly spaces in the region; these were established in 2020 with funding from USAID and the PIN Club of Friends. With continued support from EU humanitarian aid, some 400 local and displaced children take part in recreational activities, participate in various cultural and sightseeing events, and play with their peers. Periodically, parents participate in sessions designed to reduce stress through conversations with a trained therapist.
Since the outbreak of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, PIN has been supporting thousands of people who fled for safety in Armenia. In 2020, with funding from the European Union, PIN helped supply 2000 individuals 500 displaced households with heating briquettes and assisted more than 4,200 households with utility payments for the season.
ABOUT THE CONSORTIUM PARTNERS
ACTED, the REACT project’s implementing partner, is providing vouchers for clothes, shoes, and food to enable 6,800 conflict-affected people in Armenia to meet their basic needs. ACTED is also designing a referral management system for consortium partners to facilitate, direct, track, and follow-up on individual referrals, and to help project beneficiaries access relevant services. ACTED is designing a similar system for the Unified Social Service of Armenia’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
Meanwhile, AASW aims to build the resilience of more than 1,500 conflict-affected individuals in five Armenian regions (Syunik, Vayots Dzor, Gegharkunik, Tavush, and Kotayk) and Yerevan through the provision of psycho-social support and case management services, community mobilisation, and integration. As part of the REACT project, AASW will establish and upgrade an additional nine family- and child-friendly spaces in the above-mentioned regions to facilitate inclusion and integration opportunities for displaced persons.
Finally, Mission Armenia provides case management services to improve response mechanisms and social protection for the most vulnerable conflict-affected people from Nagorno-Karabakh residing in the Armavir, Lori, and Shirak regions. To ensure that at-risk and vulnerable conflict-affected individuals have access to specialised protection services, Mission Armenia also provides psycho-social and legal support. As part of the REACT project, 1,150 displaced people will receive assistance. Mission Armenia also implements advocacy at community and national levels aimed at helping displaced conflict-affected persons from Nagorno-Karabakh access state assistance programmes.