From Humanitarian to Development Assistance: People in Need is in Armenia since 2003Published: Dec 11, 2018 Reading time: 3 minutes
In 2018, Czech non-governmental organization, People in Need, marked 15 years of development cooperation in Armenia and 30 years since the devastating earthquake that hit Armenia in 1988. People in Need and the Czech Embassy in Armenia will mark this milestone year with a joint event on the 14th of December 2018.
At the outset, these two anniversaries may not appear to be linked but, in fact, they are. The Armenian earthquake in 1988 is connected both, to the beginning of international humanitarian aid from the Czech Republic, as well as the beginning of People in Need. When the earthquake hit northwest Armenia three decades ago, a group of students in the Prague initiated a fundraising campaign, which drew a massive public response and resulted in 50 tons of humanitarian aid being delivered to Armenia. In the years that followed, People in Need was established. Šimon Pánek, one the organisers of the aid to Armenia remains the organisation’s CEO to this day.
"It started with the basic human need to help,” says Pánek. Today, the context and challenges in Armenia have evolved but People in Need continues to support and empower people in Armenia with this basic need to help at its heart. In 2018, People in Need’s efforts in Armenia focus on improving access to jobs, supporting community and rural tourism development, repatriating and reintegrating migrants, building the capacity of young people, and promoting respect for human rights.
PIN’s support in numbers till 2018:
1. 250km of hiking trails in Syunik region being developed to promote eco-friendly tourism and support rural communities.
2. 9530 potential migrants and returnees received social, legal and economic counselling on circular migration.
3. 500 returning migrants received requalification trainings and job search assistance, resulting in 136 people finding new jobs.
4. 504 teachers across the country trained on child trafficking issues to educate around 40,000 pupils.
5. 190 schools in Armenia and Georgia involved in raising awareness of human rights among youth through documentaries. 300 teachers were trained and 9000 students reached.
6. 89 elderly people in Amasia provided with much-needed homecare services.
7. Amasia Wool Factory is being established in Shirak region to stimulate job creation and support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 60+ jobs will be created and 14 SMEs along the wool value chain will be supported.
“Since we established our office here in 2003, the scope of our efforts has been huge and very diverse. We work closely with communities, municipalities and local partners to build projects together in ways that are meaningful and sustainable,” says Varduhi Dadunts, PIN’s Head of Office in Armenia.
“A priority in our work today is to strengthen the economy and provide greater access to jobs and we do this by supporting local businesses, communities and institutions, reviving local traditions, contributing to tourism development, and adapting PIN’s worldwide know-how. In Shirak region, for example, we are reviving and modernising the wool-processing trade in order to stimulate job creation and support the development of small businesses,” says Dadunts. Part of the project involves building the capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises as well as potential employees, and establishing a wool-processing factory, both of which people in the region are enthusiastic about.
“The wool processing trainings and the prospect of employment at the factory will not only help us to decrease unemployment in our community but also give us hope for a sustainable future,” says Tsoghik Grigoryan, from Meghrashat village.
The event on the 14th of December, which will open with a speech from Šimon Pánek, will be an occasion for our partners, donors, friends and the people we have supported to look back over our work together and inspire one another for the future.