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The project results and challenges of the EU’s migration project focusing on maximising the social and economic impact of migration for a better future in Armenia were presented to the Armenian press on 21 June 2016. Within this EU-funded migration project, jobs and income for 400 Armenians have been created over the past three years.
The project has involved Armenians at risk of leaving Lori marz due to lack of job and income opportunities. Individual grants have been given along with training on household-level honey, vegetable and animal production, marketing and how to run a business, which have kept families together. The cooperation between the Italian NGO “CISP” and the Armenian State Migration Service has been positive.
The project has also contributed to the definition and implementation of effective policies on migration and local development by strengthening the positive impact of migration on socio-economic development.
CISP has developed a document, in cooperation with the Armenian State Migration Service, which will be included in the implementation of the concept of state regulation on migration 2017-2020 action plan.
CISP also cooperated with the Vanadzor Economic State Development Centre and local state authorities. Financial assistance has been provided to 13 entrepreneurs and small family businesses, and more than 400 people have received technical assistance. With the launch of these businesses, some family members of businessmen and -women returned from abroad to support the development of the new businesses and to give a hand to their native communities.
The Deputy Head of the Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation, Jose-Maria Medina Navarro, spoke on behalf of the EU and underlined the importance of projects working on migration: ‘We are aware that Armenia has a huge diaspora and huge migration, but migration should not be seen as only a disadvantage – the idea of this project is turning it into an advantage. If people leave a country for certain reasons, they can also return for other reasons! In Armenia we have many migration projects through which we have already invested more than €10 million’.

On 31 May 2016, a press conference was held in Vanadzor to present the results and lessons learned from the “Lori region: a perspective on business promotion and agribusiness development” project. The project is funded by the EU and being implemented by Comitato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo dei Popoli (CISP). Beneficiaries of the project, media and state authorities were all present at the event.
Since its start in 2013, the project has aimed to contribute to the development and implementation of effective policies on migration and development. To accomplish that, the Armenian diaspora has been involved in strengthening the positive impact of migration on the socio-economic development of Armenia. Direct financial assistance was provided to 13 entrepreneurs and small family businesses, and more than 300 people received technical assistance. Research was undertaken on communities in Jrashen, Pambak, and Vanadzor, and the project also provided investment and other assistance to create ties between the diaspora and local businessmen.
The project had two components: the first one being the formulation of policy to evaluate the link between migration and development; the second one being the development of the local economy. Since the project was implemented in Lori region, the conference was opened by the Deputy Governor of the region, Tgran Badoyan: ‘Local economic development plays a very important and significant role in migration. Projects like this are very important for the development and growth of the region. Economic factors can be changed through them and on behalf of Arthur Nalbandian, Governor of Lori, I say that we firmly stand alongside every important initiative that is being implemented in our region’.
Serena Fusco, Project Manager of CISP Armenia, made a presentation on “Maximising the social and economic impact of migration for a better future in Armenia”. It included explanations of the project’s background, activities, key results, challenges, lessons learned, and sustainability. Moreover, Serena emphasised the key impacts of the project: ‘We are so happy to see all these people siting here and to know that they have benefited from the project. We implemented it in this region because it has very many migrants and seasonal workers. People are preferring to work abroad because the salaries are higher. However, as a result of the project, we have had cases where people started their own businesses and stayed here’.