Since November 1, 2020, Eurasia Partnership Foundation, Embassy of Sweden in Yerevan and SIDA have started a new Civil Society Support for Ensuring Impact on Reforms (CS Support) project, which aims to support civil society in Armenia.
The CS Support project consists of three main components, one of them being the call for open door grants’ competition. Within the call announced on March 18, EPF received numerous project proposals. So far, 26 projects are already being implemented. The following is a brief description of those projects.
Effective and full participation in policy development and monitoring procedures
“Disability Rights Agenda” NGO
People with disabilities often do not have the opportunity to participate in the development, implementation and monitoring of the policy for persons with disability due to various behavioral, physical, legal and communication barriers. Those barriers have become more pronounced due to health, socio-economic and communication obstacles brought by Covid-19 pandemic and the deep crisis in various spheres of life following the war in 2020. The interaction between those two factors also contributed to the loss of connection between public administration bodies and organizations defending the rights of people with disabilities, which in its turn, affects their participation. The purpose of this project is to support the rights of persons with disabilities through monitoring and evaluation on the participatory development and implementation of the comprehensive social inclusion program. As a result, in collaboration with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, a new program with research and human rights-based approach to disability will be developed.
Contributing to the effective realization of the right to education of prisoners
“Center for Legal Initiatives” NGO
Despite the right to education for prisoners being enshrined in the legislation regulating the penitentiary sector, it is not effectively enforced and is related to a number of legislative, practical and other issues. The goal of this project is to promote the proper implementation of the principles and responsibilities adopted by the state exercised within the right to education for prisoners. It is planned to study the legislative and practical obstacles that hinder the realization of the right to education of prisoners as well as their impact at individual level, to raise public awareness on identified issues, to develop packages of suggestions for improving the situation based on the results of the study and promote their advocacy.
Preventing violence in schools for the benefit of a healthy society
“Intra” psychological club NGO
The school environment is extremely important for students and it has a great impact on their future lives. Studies show that violence at school has a negative effect on every child and affects both sides: violence survivor and perpetrator. However, solutions for violence prevention at Armenian schools are still ineffective. The aim of “Preventing violence in schools for the benefit of a healthy society” project is to contribute to the prevention of bullying at schools in Shirak region and raise awareness on the issue by providing psychological support to all sides of bullying. Within the framework of the project, it is planned to identify the reasons for bullying at schools of Shirak region, collect data on records of violence and provide appropriate methods of prevention.
Getar: Urban Transformations, Human Rights & Environment Told Through the Collective Memory of a River
“Cultural & Social Narratives Laboratory” NGO
Over the past decades, historical buildings, natural objects and Yerevan city itself underwent a lot of changes. Especially the pollution of water resources, their neglect by the authorities and illegal exploitation by business interests led to a crisis in ecology and urban planning. Due to the lack of resources and knowledge, civil society and individuals could not address those issues systematically and holistically. This project addresses the issues of environment, urban planning and development, corruption and human rights through one specific case study of Getar river - the only river that passes almost through the whole city. The main goal of the project is to conduct research on current issues and memory of the river in the context of the development of the urban environment; strengthen the civic position of society regarding transformations in urban planning and environment; inform the general public about the importance of democratic decision making regarding urban spaces and natural resources.
Peace messages distortion mechanisms and how to combat it
“Public Agenda” NGO
As a result of third Artsakh war, it became clear that national issues are often difficult to be discussed in a civilized atmosphere, as a result of which any statement about peace is neutralized on the spot. The main goal of this project is to contribute to make countermeasures against the distortion of peace messages a subject of public discussion, to promote the formation of a public agenda on the issue and to reach a public consensus. Special attention will be paid to the role of new information technologies in internal propaganda campaigns and the phenomenon of “fake-news”.
Transforming the hunting in Armenia in a responsible and sustainable mode
“BirdLinks Armenia” NGO
Hunters in Armenia fail to recognize game birds and differentiate them from other look-alike endangered species. The first reason is the absence of state licensing procedures, which aims to check hunters’ ability to identify game birds. Another reason relates to hunting that takes place in such areas, where a number of protected species might be killed unintentionally or on purpose. The overall goal of the project is to improve the conditions of hunters’ licensing procedures and reshape the borders of public hunting lands for the protection of endangered bird species.
Contest for young literature critics
“Literary Station” NGO
Events dedicated to the culture of reading prove that despite analysis is one of the most important components of reading, the society and especially young people lack analytical thinking skills. Although young people living in the regions read fiction, they mainly prefer non-contemporary Armenian writers or foreign literature. The aim of this project is to develop critical skills in literary analysis among young people by writing reviews on the works of contemporary Armenian writers. The objectives of the program are the following: to acquaint young people with the works of modern writers, to train them with proper reading and critical text writing skills, to encourage young people to write reviews and articles on the works of modern Armenian writers.
Successful business responses to Covid-19 in Armenia: What are the supporting factors?
“Knowledge and Impact” LLC
Covid-19 outbreak and 44-day Nagorno-Karabakh war generated unprecedented crisis for the economy of Armenia. Taking into account the above-mentioned factors, this project aims to conduct an in-depth research on innovative business approaches in Armenia as a response to Covid-19 pandemic and 44-day Nagorno-Karabakh war that will help understand the driving forces which conditioned the success of the companies that managed to cope with the unprecedented crisis and adapted to changes.
Raising public awareness and promoting participation in the electoral and post-election period
Snap parliamentary elections held on June 20, 2021 in Armenia were unprecedented considering the number of candidates and the uncertainty of post-election predictability. In such chaotic situations, precise media coverage on the election processes is especially important. Thus, pre-election programs and sectoral policies adopted by political parties during the pre-election period will be covered. In post-election period, formation of governmental bodies, pre-election campaigns, political behavioral patterns of the parties and changes in their policies and speeches will be analyzed.
Vahram Martirosyan: Text writing workshop
When writing a text, many Armenian writers either use borrowings and terms from other languages, or try to adapt to Armenian language, which sometimes makes the texts incomprehensible. To address the above-mentioned issue, courses for improving written skills will be organized and the main focus will be on public non-fiction texts that reflect sectoral policies, popular articles and research analyses. After the completion of the courses, project beneficiaries will be able to create logical, literate and interesting texts that will engage their readers.
Aghasi Tadevosyan: Oral stories about the second Nagorno-Karabakh war - anthropological research
The recent war in Nagorno-Karabakh was marked by a large number of casualties in a short period of time and human impotence in the face of technology, which left a heavy mark on many aspects. The documentation of the war, its impact and consequences, people involved in the war, values and worldview of their family members, attitude towards war and peace, and changes in common values are very important. The aim of the research carried out within the project is to study the impact and consequences of Artsakh war on its participants, both in terms of its consequences and changes in worldviews.
School on e-literacy and digital security
All rights foundation
Given the recent events, such as 44-day war, Covid-19 pandemic, political and economic instabilities, as well as snap parliamentary elections, which happened at the same time with rapid advancements in technology, a great amount of attention was shifted to e-literacy and digital security over the last year. In the context of the described issue, a school on e-literacy and digital security will be organized for young people from Shirak region. As part of the project, weekly courses on cyber security and usage of secure tools will be arranged.
Politics and policies: Boon talks
“:Boon” scientifical and cultural foundation
In Armenia, public debates and dialogues are always formed according to traditionally accepted stereotypes, often because participants avoid to express their ideas freely and openly, without any labels and under the risk of marginalization. On the other hand, public debates very often remind of monologues and are aimed at reaffirming viewpoints rather than seeking solutions. The aim of the project is to establish a constructive dialogue on public issues, which will lead to developing more effective public policies and considering them in inter-sectoral context.
Ensuring effective judicial production
Journalists’ Club “Asparez” NGO
After the velvet revolution in 2018, programs on judicial reforms were of high importance for the new government. Thus, the goal of the project is to increase the efficiency of the judiciary system in Armenia, support the unimpeded realization of citizens' right to justice and increase general trust in courts. Within the frameworks of the project, monitoring on judicial system is envisaged, which will help reveal the subjective-objective reasons for the inefficient activity of judicial institutions and advocacy community.
4Plus Documentary Photography Center
After the end of the 44-day Artsakh war, the public was informed about a rather painful reality: thousands of victims, captives, wounded, missing and displaced people, as well as general uncertainty for the future. The aim of the project is to document the aftermath of the conflict through visual stories, reveal the hidden post-war issues and unspoken side of reality. Through disseminating ethically literate and well-edited materials both on social media and through public debates, it is expected to involve the general public in the dialogue on issues of war and peace and raise their awareness on those issues.
Promoting legal mechanisms to ensure freedom of speech in the Republic of Armenia
For equal rights NGO
Since 2018, Armenia has faced many challenges and implemented corresponding crisis response actions․ The post-revolutionary period presupposed an active process of reforms, namely, multi-layered cooperation between the government and civil society. Discussions on public control and reforms became impossible in the context of Covid-19 pandemic and 44-day Artsakh war. As in many other countries, the fight against Covid-19 pandemic in Armenia was also accompanied by democratic setbacks and restriction of rights. The aim of this project is to raise issues on freedom of speech and hate speech; guide their solutions via a common platform for politicians, experts and stakeholders, thus enabling them to hold discussions and constructive debates so that they can exchange their ideas.
Doc and Theatre: Stage that tells the contemporary text
Open platform NGO
Post-revolutionary, post-pandemic and post-war Armenia has witnessed the hardest times of its history. The unexpected turn of past and ongoing events has pushed the public to view things from different perspectives, reposition their civic status, priorities and change their mindset towards the future. The goal of the project is to create forum-stage of creative art and documental plays (performance, video-performance etc.), thus creating an opportunity for artists to reflect on recent pivotal developments in Armenia, 44-day war, Covid-19 pandemic, Velvet Revolution in 2018.
School as a center of community development
“Sebastatsiner” Educational Foundation
The school and the community are interlinked institutions. Yet, currently they lost the connection and operate separately. Our aim is to remind that schools must serve the needs of the communities. The aim of this project is to establish close cooperation between the school and the community, raise the awareness about the importance of this cooperation among the society, as well as to establish connection between people and the labor market.
Competitive youth in labor market for business development
““Akhuryan” community development association” NGO
According to the official statistics on unemployment in 2019, Shirak region was the first among other regions in Armenia. Reasons behind the statistics vary: incongruity between the requirements of the market and professional qualities, strict requirements posed by the employers, giving the preference to the youth, the crisis situation caused by Covid-19, and many more. The goal of this project is to enhance the development of the labor market in Shirak region.
Urban planning perspectives in Dilijan
“Youth Cooperation Center of Dilijan” NGO
The overall surface of public places in Armenia has decreased. areas near central squares and municipal parks have been privatized in different communities. These areas do not serve their purpose and are not available for the citizens.
The project aims at discovering the issues pertaining to utilization of public areas and complete overview of urban planning through data analysis, Council monitoring, interviews, and thematic research. The project also aims at raising awareness about public participation in urban planning and decision-making processes through targeted activities.
Digitization of archival documents of refugees and displaced persons in Armenia
“Mission Armenia” NGO
The aim of the project is to finalize the digitization process of documents of those displaced from Azerbaijan from 1988-1992. According to the project, it is planned to digitize around 30.000 documents and manage 73.000 cases (available at electronic database), through assisting the Migration Service (Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure) through staff support and organizational matters.
"Unhindered education ․ new opportunities"
“Alvan tsaghik” social-educational centre NGO
Criminal subculture is a serious challenge to societal development. It has manifested itself in almost every aspect of social relations. Indeed, the source of ‘reproducing’ criminal subculture still remain penitentiary institutions. The aim of the project is to contribute to the reduction of the negative influence of criminal subculture by reforming the educational rights of detainees in PI “Artik” and creating new opportunities in terms of new professions and skills.
Media sensitization in war and post-war crisis situations
In post-war situation, the operation of the media has become more important. It is imperative to monitor the quality and impact of the content, ethical procedures during the content creation process, as well as coverage of sensitive topics and conflicts. The aim of the project is to enhance the media quality of responsible coverage in war and post-war crisis situation, and encourage free and objective coverage of mass media.
Preventing the desertification of the Ararat Plain
“ALT TV” LLC
The Ararat Plain has faced an ecological catastrophe. The mismanagement of water resources leads to the transformation of the semi-desert landscape into a desert. The aim of the project is to prevent the decrease of Ararat artesian basin and the desertification of the Ararat Plain by developing public opinion about the current situation.
Legal assistance to people, who suffered the consequences of the second Nagorno-Karabakh war
The aim of the project is to provide legal and psychological assistance to parents of soldiers, who had fallen in unspecified circumstances following the 44-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Promotion of legal mechanisms to ensure freedom of speech in the Republic of Armenia
“For equal rights” educational center NGO
Considering the reality of media platforms being influenced by various political forces, as well as drastic increase of nationalist discourse in pre-election period, alarming rates of dissemination of manipulative content, and declining mental state in the citizenry caused by the war, it is imperative to create a platform that will evaluate, discuss, and promote democratic processes through alternative platforms. The aim of the project is to voice the issues pertaining to the freedom of speech / fight against hate speech and find solutions by creating a platform for politicians, professionals in respective areas, and other beneficiary groups intended for exchanges of opinions, discussions, and constructive debates.
The text was translated from Armenian into English on August 18, 2021
The text was edited on October 28, 2021
"Civil Society Support for Ensuring Impact on Reforms” project is implemented by Eurasia Partnership Foundation with support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida.