Armenia: Sustainable Livelihoods and Environment
Migration is among the most serious problems in today’s Armenia. The volume of migration flow increased particularly after the 1988 earthquake, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and in connection with the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Between 1988 and 2001, about 1.1 million people left Armenia, which is around a third of the country's total population.
Today, between 15 and 16 thousand people depart from the country each year, which represents about 0.5% of the overall population. Apart from corruption and violations of human rights, the main reason for migration is high unemployment, which has reached 27.5% of the working-age population today. People in Need therefore focuses on creating new jobs to increase the chances of the local population finding work at home. PIN is trying not only to discourage other people from migration, but also to motivate Armenians living abroad to return home.
Its activities mostly concern support for small businesses. This includes retraining courses, as well as the subsequent provision of small grants to allow people to launch their own business.
Transcaucasian Trail – Promoting Cross-Border Tourism
People in Need (PIN) has initiated the "Transcaucasian Trail – Promoting Cross-Border Tourism" project to develop a new network of rural and adventure tourism actors across Georgia and Armenia and develop new hiking trails to connect them to the growing Transcaucasian Trail (TCT) initiative. Overall about 300 km of trail will be marked and mapped in both countries.
USAID financed this project through grant from the regional Economic Development, Governance and Enterprise Growth - EDGE project, and PIN Georgia is leading the implementation in a partnership with PIN Armenia and the Transcaucasian Trail NGOs in both Georgia and Armenia. PIN is bringing its Armenian experience of the “EU4Tourism: Outdoor adventures on the historic trails in Syunik” project as part of the Legends Trail, which then became a part of the Transcaucasian Trail in the Goris, Tatev, and Kapan communities.
In the framework of this project, new trails in Aragvi, Akhalkalaki (Georgia), and Lori, Shirak regions (Armenia) will be developed and marked as part of the Transcaucasian Trail. The newly developed trails will act as a “honeypot” in the Caucasus to attract new visitors to Georgian and Armenian rural areas. Local enterprises will receive capacity building, and promotional resources to maximize the business opportunities this brings. The project will seek to identify those small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that have been forced to downsize because of the COVID-19 economic downturn and support them to increase local employment opportunities.
A key focus of the project is networking and sustainability. Local Action Groups (LAGs) in Georgia and Women Resource Centers (WRCs) in Armenia will play a vital role in bringing together key stakeholders from public, private, and civil society sectors in their respective regions. They will facilitate initial buy-in for the activities, and coordinate trail maintenance in the future.
“Reduce! Reuse! Become a friend of Nature!”
So far only 7% of inhabitants of Syunik region shop with reusable bags, revealed a survey conducted in frames of the “Reduce! Reuse! Become a Friend of Nature!” project.
EU4Tourism: Outdoor adventures on historic trails in Syunik
The trails will also increase economic opportunities for many of the approximately 10,000 people living along the route, as they are encouraged to develop tourism businesses. As part of the project, certain business initiatives will be selected for financial support. Some examples of such potential businesses include: home-based guesthouses and small restaurants; traditional crafts and food and beverage production; guide services; equipment rental including hiking, camping, fishing, bicycle and rock climbing equipment; horse-riding and more! Grantees will be given the greatest possible support to help them establish and develop their business.
Beyond increasing economic and employment opportunities, the project also aims to empower civil society in Syunik to take an active role in poverty reduction, planning and sustainable development at the local level. Civil society organizations and local authorities in Syunik will work together in creating incentives for sustainable development and job creation along the trail.
Reviving the Art of Craft in Shirak Region
Amasia, a rural municipality in the Shirak region, is known for its long tradition of sheep rearing and traditional wool crafts. People in Need together with our partners the Women Resource Center Development Foundation, the Shirak Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Amasia Municipality, have launched an initiative to revive and modernize the wool value chain and the art of wool crafts in the Shirak region to drive job creation and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Through this initiative, we intend to create 60 jobs by establishing a wool-processing factory, increase the employability of 148 women and men through upskilling in wool crafts, and increase the competitiveness of 15 small and medium-sized enterprises along the wool value chain (from sheep shearing to the production of various woolen items, to distribution and branding).
Support for vulnerable groups and their integration into society
In total as of April 2015, counselling services had been provided to over 7,000 beneficiaries. A helpline was another effective tool, offering advice to another 2,100 potential migrants and returnees.