Civil Society & Inclusive Governance

Civil Society & Inclusive Governance

© Photo: Shushanik Nersesyan

We support civil society in its engagement with government actors in order to advance participatory democratic processes and develop inclusive public services. The main emphasis of PIN Armenia's work in this sector is on developing civil society organisations (CSOs) and the socio-economic development of local communities. To achieve this, we strive to support CSOs and build the capacity of local authorities to close the gap between governments and citizens. We emphasise working with diverse civil society actors, apart from established CSOs. We also work with informal civic groups and grassroots activists who play a decisive role on the path towards democracy and, thus, contribute to a world free of poverty, hunger, and injustice.

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Ongoing ActivitiesORPast Activities

Advancing Media Literacy through Armenian Civil Society Actors

Advancing Media Literacy through Armenian Civil Society Actors

Promoting media literacy is essential in creating a well-aware and critically-thinking civil society. Therefore, PIN Armenia has initiated the "Advancing Media Literacy through Armenian Civil Society Actors" project for registered Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Lori, Armenia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic financially supports this project within the framework of the Transition Promotion Programme.

The project aims to equip Armenian CSOs and regional youth and adults with the necessary knowledge and skills to recognise and combat fake news, misinformation, and manipulations. It seeks to support them in seeking, receiving, and sharing accurate and reliable information. It will also create opportunities for networking and collaboration to combat the spread of disinformation collectively.

As part of the project, the selected CSOs will have the opportunity to participate in tailored courses to develop and enhance their media and information literacy skills and competencies. After completing and passing the final selection, the civil society organisations demonstrating significant progress will receive sub-grants to implement their ideas for media literacy enhancement.

Along with the primary topics of CSO capacity building, we have also included the innovative methodology of the One World in Schools (OWIS) programme, one of People in Need's educational programmes. This interactive, non-formal educational method, which has been in use since 2001, has engaged many young people, helping them position themselves in the modern world while encouraging unbiased and meaningful consumption of media information.
Resilient Civil Society in the Eastern Partnership Region

Resilient Civil Society in the Eastern Partnership Region

Emphasising the importance of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in representing people's needs, influencing systemic changes, and identifying hidden and significant societal problems, we continually engage civil actors who contribute to these efforts as direct witnesses in their communities.

People in Need is implementing a multi-country project titled "Resilient Civil Society in the Eastern Partnership Region", funded by the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR). The project aims to strengthen the role of CSOs as resilient, inclusive, and trusted governance actors advancing the democratisation process in the Eastern Partnership region. The project seeks to empower CSOs to become more effective protectors of civic space and drivers of democratisation, reform, and recovery processes in the Eastern Partnership region. The 24-month project will target at least 20-24 CSOs from Armenia and Moldova.

Within the project, PIN provides capacity development, financial support, and facilitation of national and regional networking, as well as cross-learning opportunities to small formalised CSOs, grassroot organisations, and emerging CSOs in Armenia.
Reinforcement of the Migration Management System in the Republic of Armenia

Reinforcement of the Migration Management System in the Republic of Armenia

Recent developments have transformed Armenia from a primarily emigration country to one that plays an increasing role as a country of transit and immigration. With an estimated third of the country’s population living abroad, emigration numbers remain high. However, several factors have made Armenia a destination country for displaced populations from neighbouring countries, not to mention asylum seekers and people from further afield.

The ICMPD-funded “Reinforcement of the Migration Management System in the Republic of Armenia” project aims to counter irregular migration to EU member states by ensuring the successful integration of returnees and foreign nationals in the Republic of Armenia. The project supports the development and improvement of migration and integration policies. Additionally, the project strengthens the capacities of the relevant government agencies responsible for managing the inward migration to Armenia and local CSOs providing services to different migrant groups.

Within the project, we closely cooperate with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Migration and Citizenship Service of Armenia, the Office of the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, regional and local authorities, civil society and media actors.

The project focuses on supporting forcibly displaced persons, returnees, asylum seekers, refugees, internally displaced persons and foreign nationals.
Partnerships for Syunik – Enhanced Community-Based Social Services

Partnerships for Syunik – Enhanced Community-Based Social Services

The European Union funded Partnerships for Syunik – Enhanced Community-Based Social Services project, implemented by People in Need, in partnership with WINNET Goris Development Foundation and Armenian Caritas, contributes to developing a more resilient system of social protection in all 7 communities of the Syunik region. The project also supports sustainable financing of community-based social services that better serve the needs of the country’s most vulnerable people, thus reducing poverty, inequality, and vulnerability. 

Within the project’s framework aimed at sectoral reforms, we closely cooperate with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, all 7 municipal governments of the Syunik region, local civil society organizations (CSOs) and active groups. We also work with consortium partners in several directions, providing quality community-based social services, combining the needs-based capacity development of local CSOs, technical support, and piloting new funding models. 

As a result, CSOs and local self-government bodies will jointly develop sustainable mechanisms for participatory planning and delivery of community-based social services according to the strategic directions of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.  

“The Resilient Syunik Team Europe initiative is the joint undertaking of the European Union, the European Investment Bank and EU Member states Austria, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden, with Switzerland also joining as an external partner. The main objective of this initiative is to contribute to the sustainable socioeconomic and institutional development of the Syunik region in line with local development priorities. The initiative has an approximate five-year budget of €116 million, which may further increase.’’  

Support to the reintegration of voluntary returned migrants through employment, social and business support

Support to the reintegration of voluntary returned migrants through employment, social and business support

Support to the reintegration of voluntarily returned migrants through employment, social and business support

Since 2016 we implement the “Support to the reintegration of voluntary returned migrants through employment, social and business support funded by L’Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration (OFII), a French administrative public body.

People in Need Armenia is providing consultations, conducts need assessments of beneficiaries' social and family situations, and supports developing proposals to be supported by different means on behalf of OFII. The specifics of the assistance provided are:

  • social and medical support
  • vocational training and employment support
  • business support

Up today about 300 voluntary returned migrants were supported in Yerevan and in different regions of Armenia: More than 60 new businesses have been established, 50 and more migrants took vocational training and more than 170 families got social and medical support.

Read about success stories here

Stable income through education and professional equipment

Stable income through education and professional equipment

In cooperation with the Yerevan Municipality, PIN has launched a project to help vulnerable people receive vocational education, business training, and professional equipment necessary to earn a steady livelihood. 

The six-month project aims to provide beneficiaries with professional opportunities they might not otherwise have access to. Project activities are intended to lead to a stable income through permanent employment or business creation.

PIN is working with four beneficiaries recommended by the Yerevan Municipality. These individuals specialise in cooking, sewing, hairdressing, and nail care. PIN is working with each of them to create a small business and ensure access to a decent livelihood.

After project participants establish their businesses, PIN will provide them with three months of consulting based on practical problem-solving and the requirements of day-to-day business management.
Resilient Civil Society

Resilient Civil Society

People in Need has launched an emergency response project—Resilient Civil Society—in Armenia with financial support from the European Union. This project supports civil society organisations (CSOs) to respond to the immediate and medium-term impacts of the recent military aggression in the Armenian borders that escalated on September 12/13, 2022.  This wave of military attacks on the border increased the suffering of the local population in terms of material damage, psychosocial trauma, and physical danger.

PIN Armenia is involved in humanitarian assistance to affected households in the most vulnerable areas; however, many households have still experienced a loss of income, a lack of physical safety, and challenges in accessing social services when needed most. PIN recognises the crucial role local CSOs play in supporting civilians affected by the constant pressure of further military aggression and their role in mitigating the risks of further humanitarian disasters and danger.

This project aims to address the security, social and psychological needs of the most vulnerable groups, focusing on civilians in specific border areas, to mitigate the impacts of the conflict. Three CSOs - Pahapan, Mission Armenia, and "WINNET Goris" Development Foundation received sub-grants to work with affected vulnerable groups in the border areas of Gegarkunik, Vayots Dzor, and Syunik. 
Transcaucasian Trail – Promoting Cross-Border Tourism

Transcaucasian Trail – Promoting Cross-Border Tourism

Hiking trails in Armenia are being developed and promoted to enable people to explore the country and learn from local people about their traditions and touristic services. To keep the trail development traditions, People in Need initiated a regional program in Georgia and Armenia to enlarge the Transcaucasian Trail growing initiative with funding from the USAID Economic Development, Governance, and Enterprise Growth (EDGE) project. The "Transcaucasian Trail – Promoting Cross-Border Tourism" project is led by PIN Georgia and implemented in partnership with PIN Armenia and Transcaucasian Trail NGOs in Georgia and Armenia.

Thanks to the project, new trails have been scouted in Georgia and Armenia—in Aragvi (122 km), Akhalkalaki (200 km), Lori (110), and Shirak (102 km) regions. The newly developed trails serve as a "honeypot" in the Caucasus to attract new visitors to rural areas in Georgia and Armenia. Check the GPS track here.

The project focuses on trail scouting and development and working with local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to enhance their capacities for tourist services. In Armenia, marketing training was conducted with over 20 SME representatives. The beneficiaries worked on their marketing plans and strategic development with the trainer. We also have helped beneficiaries with the creation of promotional materials. 
A key focus of the project is networking and sustainability. To help with that, the project implementing partner Transcausatian Trail conducted trail-making training for 16 local activists from Lori and Shirak regions; Local Action Groups (LAGs) in Georgia and Women's Resource Centres (WRCs) in Armenia play a vital role in bringing together key public, private, and civil society stakeholders in their respective regions. They will facilitate initial buy-in for the activities and coordinate trail maintenance in the future.
In the framework of the project, PIN initiated a three-day familiarisation trip to the Lori and Shirak regions. Nine guides, tour operators, and journalists travelled to the regions and explored new local touristic services based alongside the newly scouted trails. The trip participants also met with over 30 members of Lori and Shirak Destination Management Organisation NGOs - they presented their services to the tour operators and discussed possible cooperation.  Read more here

EU COVID-19 Solidarity Programme for the Eastern Partnership

EU COVID-19 Solidarity Programme for the Eastern Partnership

This project aims to mitigate the adverse effects of COVID-19 and contribute to the longer-term socio-economic resilience of vulnerable groups in Eastern Europe. Under the implementation of People in Need (PIN), and in partnership with the Netherlands Helsinki Committee (NHC) and AFEW International (AFEW), the project aims to propose a set of interventions in several countries, including Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.

PIN recognises the critical role local civil society organisations (CSOs) and independent media play in service delivery, community mobilisation, awareness raising, policy engagement, and advocacy for protecting human rights and civic freedoms during and after the pandemic. We will support the CSOs and other civic actors to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations by empowering them with services and access to accurate information.

PIN capitalises on its in-depth field-level knowledge to support CSOs focusing on community-level initiatives, watchdog programmes, and local independent journalism. Our partners NHC and AFEW are specialised in activities to improve human rights protection for responsible persons in closed institutions and key populations at risk for public health concerns like HIV, TB, and viral hepatitis. We will provide grant support to NGOs working with these beneficiaries and assist them in developing strengthened monitoring, reporting, advisory, agenda-setting, and advocacy work.

Read more here

Civil Society Actors as Drivers of Change in South Caucasus and Moldova

Civil Society Actors as Drivers of Change in South Caucasus and Moldova

This regional project aims to support newly established civil society organisations, grassroots groups, civic initiatives, and social and cultural movements in their role as trusted actors advancing the democratic process in the countries of the South Caucasus region and the Republic of Moldova.

With support from the project team and skilled facilitators, each selected organisation developed its own strategy mapping out its path, role in society, and systemic change it is working to influence. Participants had a chance to assess their own capacities and access tailored trainings, coaching, mentoring, consultations, study visits, and fellowships. They were able to strengthen connections with their communities, supporters, and volunteers, as well as to network with peers and partners in Armenia, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and other countries.

Moreover, the selected organisations had access to resources for research, the building of thematic expertise, and participation in policy dialogue at the local, national, and international levels. They explored if, why, and how to engage with the private sector, and how to self-organise and manage resources in an effective, transparent, and accountable way. 

Read the articles and watch the films here and here

Transition from Education to Employment

Transition from Education to Employment

The objective of the project, implemented with the funding of the European Union, is to support socio-economic development in the Shirak region by improving the synergy between Vocational Educational and Training (VET) institutions and the private sector.

For this purpose, VET institutions’ capacities are enhanced, new mechanisms for VET-private sector coordination and work-based learning (WBL) are established, as well as apprenticeship schemes in short non-formal courses piloted in the agriculture and textile sectors. As a result, the quality and relevance of the target VET institutions’ services will be improved, and gaps between the education level and private sector requirements diminished, thus increasing the employability of VET students. 

The project activities aim at enhancing the capacities of 4 VET institutions in the Shirak region to monitor the labor market, improving cooperation with the business sector, and facilitating the introduction of WBL․

A new partnership between VET institutions and private businesses is established. Thus VET-Private Sector Coordination Platforms will be established with the participation of the VET institutions, the private sector, and other stakeholders like GIZ (German Corporation for International Cooperation) and the State Employment Agency (SEA). 

The 4 VET institutions piloted the innovative approach of the dual system and Work-based learning by modernizing their textile and agribusiness sectorial curricula, introducing the WBL component, as well as, developing and piloting market-based short-term courses for the unemployed. The VETs and business sectors utilize GIZ experience through study visits to GIZ’s ongoing WBL sites and experience sharing other events.

Amasia Craftsman State School (ACSS) serves as the core pilot site and model for the other three target VET institutions in Shirak marz (Maralik Craftsman State School, Artik State College, Shirak State Agricultural College).  

As a result, students participated in the apprenticeships within the piloted short-term courses and private companies gain access to a better-skilled workforce. Read more about the project results here

Advocating for supporting the reform of the Armenian Public Broadcaster

Advocating for supporting the reform of the Armenian Public Broadcaster

People in Need is implementing a project, advocating for the reform of the Armenian Public Broadcaster to become a model of the independent media, which will genuinely serve the Armenian audience. The project supported the creation of the coalition group of experts, represented by parliamentarians, top management of the Public Broadcaster, media, and legal experts, and journalists.

The project contributes to the development of the capacity building and training activities for the coalition and journalists to address the problem and find the solution for the independence and efficiency of the Armenian Public TV and Radio regulation. Among those main issues are the effective regulatory model, financial and political independence, and editorial policy-making.

The project is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic in the frame of the Transition Promotion Program.

Previously PIN has already worked with independent journalists to battle the hate speech in the Armenian media landscape and supported small documentary film clubs in the regions. 

Home Care Service for Elderly

Home Care Service for Elderly

Our “Home Care Service for Elderly” project was aimed at supporting elderly people living alone in Amasia.
During the project implementation, there were about ninety elderly people living alone, who needed some assistance in household chores.

A special car with a washing machine, water supply and other facilities in it was bought.

The project team regularly visited the homes of the elderly, relieving household duties, helping to clean the house, cultivating, and more.

Using the car bought with the support of the Embassy of Japane in Armenia and other household appliances purchased by the Amasia Community Municipality and volunteers within the framework of the project, the program continues even after its completion.The community volunteers and Amasia Municipality employees are visiting the elderly and help them.
EU4Tourism: Outdoor adventures on the historic trails in Syunik

EU4Tourism: Outdoor adventures on the historic trails in Syunik

This project with the support of the European Union empowers civil society groups in the Syunik region to take a more active part in reducing poverty through local tourism development. The project supports communities located in and around Goris and Kapan in further development of their tourism potential. It involves civil society organisations, village/community-based groups, individual or family-run small enterprises, and students. The focus is on supporting the rural population in villages that have not benefited from tourism infrastructure investments thus far.

Within the project the Legends Trail was developed: it is a hiking route spanning about 150 km from Goris to Kapan, facilitating the exploration of many of the impressive natural and cultural heritage sites in the area, as well as an approach to developing and promoting alternative, eco-friendly tourism by the rural communities living along the route and creating opportunities for them to benefit from the growing influx of tourists to Armenia. The Legends Trail forms part of the larger Transcaucasian Trail, a proposed, 1,500-kilometre hiking path connecting northern Georgia and southern Armenia. Approximately 130 kilometers of the Legends Trail is shared with the Transcaucasian Trail, leading to the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders from both trail projects, and creating opportunities for trail users with a range of hiking abilities and ambitions to explore the Syunik Province.

This new tourist route between Goris and Kapan has been scouted, mapped, and marked by local community members and tourism experts, students, and volunteers. 

The “Legends of the Legends Trail” book is published in five (Armenian, English, Czech, Russian, and French) languages and details local folk tales and legends. 

The Legends Trail detailed guidebook, about the tourist destinations and services of the Syunik region, has also been developed and is available for sale at HIKE Armenia,, and Amazon

Within the project, more than 30 sub-grants have been distributed to support community-led initiatives and individual or family-run small enterprises in villages along the trail. 

The project's implementing partner is ARK Armenia Ecological NGO. Read more about the project here. 

Support of Circular Migration and Re-integration Process in Armenia

Support of Circular Migration and Re-integration Process in Armenia

The Project “Support to the Circular Migration and Reintegration Process in Armenia” funded by the EU and implemented by the People in Need Representative Office in Armenia jointly with the Armenian Relief Society presents some encouraging results and perspectives for sustainability. Its key components have been taken over by the State Employment Agency, the State Migration Service and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development.

The project has aimed to support the reintegration of labour migrants in the Republic of Armenia and preventing illegal migration, thereby contributing to the execution of the 2012-2016 Action Plan for the implementation of the policy concept for the state regulation of migration.

Four regions of Armenia were the focus: Ararat, Armavir, Vayotz Dzor and Syunik; Migration Resource Centreswere established in each of these regions in cooperation with the State Employment Agency (SEA) and, in July 2015, have become fully integrated within the SEA. In their day-to-day activities, the centres provided integrated support to both potential migrants (providing consultancy service) and to returnees, supporting the latter in the reintegration process in the native country. To be able to find new employment, 284 returnees were enrolled in retraining courses through PIN Armenia support; over 50% of them found jobs as a result. 

Furthermore, for the purpose of creating new jobs and contributing to the economic development of regions, we launched a competition of business proposals for returning Armenian migrants, of which 17 were selected and financed. Today the newly established businesses cover such areas as farming, animal husbandry, greenhouse farms, beekeeping, furniture manufacturing, light industry, transport infrastructure, bakery production and the service sector, creating employment for their owners and an additional 55 new jobs.

In the course of the project implementation, educational institutions have also been among the focal points.  In particular, we signed grant contracts with nine high schools representing the target regions. As a result, students implemented various initiatives aimed at awareness rising on key migration issues. 

Another key component of the project was the “Suitcase Award”, aiming to attract the attention of media to migration issues and educate journalists and general public on the risks of illegal migration and opportunities for legal migration. Three editions were organized during the project’s life, each on the occasion of International Migrants’ Day (December 18). Lasting partnerships with other stakeholders were created in those years, leading to the Suitcase Award’s continuation after the end of the project (a new edition took place in December 2016).

Let's talk about films in Southern Caucasus (CAUCADOC)

Let's talk about films in Southern Caucasus (CAUCADOC)

CAUCADOC was implemented in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan in 2012-2014. The project was the result of joint efforts of the South Caucasus partner organizations, Sakdoc Film and Media Initiatives Centre, co-financed by the EU Eastern Partnership Culture Program and the Czech Development Agency.

The objective behind CAUCADOC was to promote documentary filmmaking in the South Caucasus and to educate children and raise public awareness through films. In the course of the project implementation, the People in Need NGO made use of its experience of organizing “One World” human rights international documentary film festival.     

Within the framework of CAUCADOC “Teaching through Documentary Films” teaching method was implemented in both Armenia and Georgia.
In 2012-2014, 1300 teachers from Armenia and Georgia attended professional development courses due to collaborative efforts by the National Institute of Education in Armenia and the National Center for Teachers’ Professional Development in Georgia, respectively.
Trainings were conducted by local and international experts. All trainees obtained the “Teaching through Documentary Films” educational toolkit comprised of a teacher manual and film DVD.  
Due to the classes held by trained teachers, 18 500 schoolchildren in RA and Georgia improved their knowledge on human rights, respective social issues, and civic initiatives skills likewise.
In 2014, memoranda of cooperation were signed: in Armenia with the National Institute of Education, in Georgia with National Center for Teachers’ Professional Development; within this scope, the method was incorporated into the teacher professional development program.

Within the framework of CAUCADOC, regional documentary film festivals were held in 22 communities in Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.
The objective behind this was to develop a culture of screening and using documentary films, and after the viewing, sessions to promote subsequent topic-based discussions on different levels. The cinematheque consisted of 28 international and local films on human rights, tolerance, migration, environment, and other related issues.  
In total, over 10 000 people participated in the festivals.
Within the scope of CAUCADOC, Masterclasses for local filmmakers were held in Armenia and Georgia.
During the key regional film festivals (Golden Apricot, Batumi Art House Film Festival, and Tbilisi International Film Festival) Masterclasses and lectures were held for a wider community of documentary filmmakers. The Masterclasses were conducted by experts from Europe. In 2012-2014, there were 7 Masterclasses held with about 300 specialists concerned. 

Intensive training courses for gifted and active filmmakers
Intensive training courses on skills and capacity building were held for 26 local teams of filmmakers from Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. As a result, each team developed a film project, of which seven projects received local and international awards in 2012-2013.  These are Pirimze; Biblioteka; Holy Cow; Long Gardens; The Things; Ikarus.

CAUCADOC created an opportunity to voice the problems in film production and discuss these with responsible parties.  
Issues related to documentary films and filmmaking, in general, were brought up for discussion on national and regional levels by local and international experts, professionals, and other stakeholders. The key objective was to contribute to the development of documentary filmmaking in Armenia and Georgia.     

Combating Child Trafficking in Armenia

Combating Child Trafficking in Armenia

To combat child trafficking and to prevent it from further proliferation in Armenia, such was the key idea that lay behind Preventing Child Trafficking in Armenia project, implemented in 2009-2011 by People in Need Representative Office in Armenia, jointly with local partners Hope and Help NGO and Armenian Relief Society. The project was funded by the European Union and Czech Government. The Project covered all RA marzes: Aragatsotn, Ararat, Armavir, Gegharkunik, Lori, Kotayk, Shirak, Syunik, Vayots Dzor and Tavush and targeted children from special and comprehensive secondary schools, 5-18 years old children from social and educational institutions, street children (beggars, vagabonds) and public in general.
Within the project’s context, a research on determining the level of awareness regarding trafficking was conducted by Harmonious Society social workers association. The research was carried out in 1200 households and among 800 children.
The results of the research showed that only 1.8 per cent of the population was aware of the trafficking; the unawareness was high among the specialists, too.

More than 350 republican schools were provided with trainings, class supervisors of the 9th-11th grade students, who further, in the school year, allocated 8 class hours to trafficking, had received training. To summarise the final results, by the end of the Project a monitoring was conducted in specified institutions. Those teachers, who had been trained and had transferred their knowledge to students, were to present the students’ essays on the topic. 
A year later, the People in Need Representative Office in Armenia received from the children, previously almost unaware, 3000 essays - all with interesting and captivating contents. Not only was it inspiring, but it also came to prove that the work had been properly fulfilled.  
A 10-day summer school was organized for the students of pedagogical universities in Yerevan, Gyumri and Vanadzor. Training courses were held for all employees of orphanages, care centres, special schools, for the employees of police and public prosecutor’s office, the border guards of the National Security Service, the marzpetarans, as well as for the employees of the Division of Family, women and children’s rights protection of Yerevan Municipality and for the members of the Commissions of trusteeship and custodianship.

The project also developed an initiative with regard to the legislation on the “system involving matters of protection of victims and witnesses of juvenile trafficking and sexual abuse”, incorporated in the amendments made in the “Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Armenia”.