Tag Archives: STRONG CSOs for a Stronger Armenia

On 25 September the official contract signing ceremony for winning grants under the small grants scheme of the “STRONG CSOs for a Stronger Armenia” project took place. 17 winning projects received funding, exceeding €900,000 (projects could receive up to €60,000). These projects will be implemented by 46 civil society organisation (CSO) partnerships based in Yerevan and other Armenian marzes. The implementation of these projects will not only bring about positive change, but also strengthen civil society in Armenia by building a strong CSO network across the country. This network will provide CSOs with the opportunity to work in consortia, share experiences, learn from each other, and develop their skills and capacities.

DSC_0898Sub-granted projects will begin from 1 October 2017 and last 12 months. Projects cover the following sectors: youth, social services, justice, and human rights, entrepreneurship, and education. The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, together with the President of Podlaska Regional Development Foundation and “STRONG CSOs for a Stronger Armenia” Grants Manager, Andrzej Parafiniuk, spoke to attendees of the ceremony.

DSC_0523Ambassador Świtalski highlighted in his opening speech that a crossroads had been crossed: ‘Congratulation to all of our civil society partners who have made it to this stage. Signing the contracts has brought you past the crossroads – over the past two years you have tested your patience, congratulations for surviving until now! We have now 17 excellent projects. We are naturally interested in the success of this project, as your success as pioneers will determine how often and how deep the concept of sub granting will go. So, today, while signing the contracts, understand your responsibility: there is no other option than success, it is an obligation!’

DSC_0459Parafiniuk echoed the importance of the project event: ‘This is a very important moment for the project. You have passed through hundreds of hours of training, coaching, seminars and conferences, as well as many other activities which we have proposed to you over the past two years. Now we have come to the most important part of the project – you have to practice what you have learned. Today we are signing contracts and you will start to implement your projects in a few days. Success is in our common interest, so I am sure we will cooperate well during the projects’ implementation’.

The “STRONG Civil Society Organisations for Stronger Armenia” project is aimed at increasing the capacities of CSOs in Armenia to be independent development actors, more competent, more responsive to citizens’ needs, and to proactively support the country’s development through practical, project-based approaches. The project is being implemented by a consortium of the Podlaska Regional Development Foundation and DAS.AM. It was launched on 1 October 2015 and the implementation period is 3 years. Target groups of the project include CSOs across Armenia (not just Yerevan) and their client groups, the private sector, state institutions, and different segments of society. The project is co-funded by the European Union.

_V1A0241On 27 May the Europe Day celebrations reached their final stop: Northern Avenue, Yerevan. The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, welcomed the Mayor of Yerevan, Taron Margaryan, to launch the final celebrations and addressed a large crowd in the centre of the city: ‘During Europe Day we celebrate the values, the foundations of the EU which link us with Armenia. We have done a big tour over the last three weeks. We started on 6 May here in Yerevan with the “Europe for Peace” concert. We then travelled throughout Armenia: Gymuri, Vanadzor, Dilijan, Kapan, Goris, and Yeghegnadzor. Today we have a closer meeting with the residents of Yerevan, a beautiful European city. I want to thank our member states embassies, the people involved in the implementation of our projects, and the team who organised these events for their hard work during the last month. We want to demonstrate to you that Armenia is very important to us. We want Armenians to learn what the EU is doing here – we are, by far, the biggest donor to Armenia and we want to make progress together. The atmosphere is good for our relations, for example, a few days ago, the EU-Armenia Cooperation Council took place in Brussels in a very friendly and constructive atmosphere. A very ambitious agenda has been charted for the future and I think it is good for Armenia. The EU will stay engage here and we will work hard to ensure you all benefit’.

ARS_3877The TmbaTa folk band from the TUMO Centre in Yerevan performed the Anthem of Europe to kick off the musical celebrations, while Ambassador Świtalski, Mayor Margaryan and other diplomats toured an information fair divided into several zones: EU4Business, EU4Agriculture, EU4Education, EU4CivilSociety, EU4HumanRights, EU4Youth, EU4Enviroment, EU4Energy and EU4Innovation. More than 50 EU-funded projects and EU member states embassies presented their activities.

_V1A0390Projects which attracted the most attention included the “Stop the Flow of Corruption” anti-corruption awareness campaign, which began on 1 February 2017, launched by the EU Delegation to Armenia. This campaign will continue throughout 2017 to raise awareness of the negative effects of corruption and to highlight the EU’s efforts in fighting against corruption in Armenia. Sergey Sargsyan from Arm Comedy and Marat Atovmyan from the Armenian Lawyers’ Association gave examples of the negative effects of corruption to the attendees.

_V1A1022Alongside the information fair there were award ceremonies for the ICMPD MIMBA photo exhibition, the #EUAroundU contest and the Europe Day Street workout performance. This involved a dance performance by “STRONG CSOs for a Stronger Armenia” project representatives and more performances by TmbaTa and the Armenian Progressive Youth band, as well as UFAR Tempus and Erasmus+ students. The Street Workout team organised a flash mob and invited people to join in their workout. The final concert involved performances by Polish singers Adryan Jan and Cesco, who filled Northern Avenue with nice music and dancing. To finish they performed a special new song dedicated to Armenia to show their love and respect to all Armenians.