The Diaspora’s potential to benefit Armenian children | EUNewsletter

The Diaspora’s potential to benefit Armenian children

9 February 2016
ARS_3657

On 3 February 2016 UNICEF brought together a large group of Armenian child-rights and diaspora experts in a Workshop on Innovative Approaches to Diaspora Engagement and use of Remittances for Children’s Wellbeing in Armenia. The workshop was funded by the EU as part of the “Mitigating social consequences of labour migration and maximising migrants’ involvement in local development” project.
ARS_3676Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, spoke to conference participants about the potentials as well as economic, societal and human costs of migration: ‘Armenia is a nation of migrants – more Armenians live abroad than in their country. This is not unique, but there are very few other countries where this is the case. The Armenian Diaspora is very visible; it has a very powerful political lobby in many countries; it is a source of foreign investment; it provides a cultural link between Armenia and the rest of the world; it brings very concrete and material benefits to Armenia in the form of remittances. However, let us be frank: migrant workers would bring greater benefit to their country if they would stay at home and use their skills in their own country. This does not only apply to Armenia, but also to many other countries around the globe. The EU wants to help the Armenian government to significantly reduce the migration flow abroad and develop Armenia for the benefit of the Armenian people. This land is too beautiful to allow young talents to search for a better future elsewhere’.
Ambassador Świtalski went on to discuss remittances in more detail: ‘While remittances from migrants and the Diaspora are key to sustaining many of the most vulnerable families, they are often only used for consumption and are not invested. It is important that these remittances, which currently comprise 20% of Armenia’s GDP, are used as efficiently as possible as they can contribute to growth, socio-economic development, and job creation, thereby having a beneficial impact on the lives of the most vulnerable families and children’.
ARS_3619The Armenian Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan spoke to the well-attended conference about the importance of engaging communities of Armenian diaspora and international experts in solving local challenges. ‘This conference would not take place without the EU-funded project. As part of the activities, some Armenian experts visited Ireland and we are pleased to host international diaspora engagement experts here in Armenia. The experts have already visited my Ministry and we had a very fruitful discussion, during which we shared our experiences’.
Conference participants spent the day discussing the potential of the diaspora and migrants to make more lasting and tangible contributions to social sector development in Armenia, and how they best support the most vulnerable children and families through child-focused reforms.
Tanja Radocaj, the UNICEF Representative in Armenia, discussed how Diasporan communities could offer support: ‘Diaspora Armenians and organisations can play an important role in strengthening gate-keeping mechanisms, such as daycare centres; in establishing new social services for vulnerable families; in supporting alternative family-based child care; in further developing integrated social services in the country; in promoting excellence in education and healthcare. All of these areas need support, and can have a massive knock-on effect on poverty alleviation, particularly child poverty’.
Two independent experts from Ireland and the USA, respectively, were invited to the conference to share Diaspora engagement strategies. The Conference and training was organised for the staff of the Armenian Ministry of Diaspora, staff from other line ministries and civil society organisations. Thematic discussions were also held with the Training and Research Centre of the Central Bank of Armenia and a number of other high-level stakeholders.
The visits were organised as a follow up to the earlier visit of an Armenian delegation to Ireland in October 2015 to study Diaspora engagement strategies for children and local development. The goal of the larger project, funded by the EU, is to promote the better use of migrants’ and diaspora’s financial and intellectual resources for the benefit of their communities and children in Armenia.

The Diaspora’s potential to benefit Armenian children

On 3 February 2016 UNICEF brought together a large group of Armenian child-rights and diaspora experts in a Workshop on Innovative Approaches to Diaspora Engagement and use of Remittances for Children’s Wellbeing in Armenia. The workshop was funded by the EU as part of the “Mitigating social consequences of labour migration and maximising migrants’ involvement in local development” project. ARS_3676Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, spoke to conference participants about the potentials as well as economic, societal and human costs of migration: ‘Armenia is a nation of migrants – more Armenians live abroad than in their country. This is not unique, but there are very few other countries where this is the case. The Armenian Diaspora is very visible; it has a very powerful political lobby in many countries; it is a source of foreign investment; it provides a cultural link between Armenia and the rest of the world; it brings very concrete and material benefits to Armenia in the form of remittances. However, let us be frank: migrant workers would bring greater benefit to their country if they would stay at home and use their skills in their own country. This does not only apply to Armenia, but also to many other countries around the globe. The EU wants to help the Armenian government to significantly reduce the migration flow abroad and develop Armenia for the benefit of the Armenian people. This land is too beautiful to allow young talents to search for a better future elsewhere'. Ambassador Świtalski went on to discuss remittances in more detail: ‘While remittances from migrants and the Diaspora are key to sustaining many of the most vulnerable families, they are often only used for consumption and are not invested. It is important that these remittances, which currently comprise 20% of Armenia’s GDP, are used as efficiently as possible as they can contribute to growth, socio-economic development, and job creation, thereby having a beneficial impact on the lives of the most vulnerable families and children’. ARS_3619The Armenian Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan spoke to the well-attended conference about the importance of engaging communities of Armenian diaspora and international experts in solving local challenges. 'This conference would not take place without the EU-funded project. As part of the activities, some Armenian experts visited Ireland and we are pleased to host international diaspora engagement experts here in Armenia. The experts have already visited my Ministry and we had a very fruitful discussion, during which we shared our experiences'. Conference participants spent the day discussing the potential of the diaspora and migrants to make more lasting and tangible contributions to social sector development in Armenia, and how they best support the most vulnerable children and families through child-focused reforms. Tanja Radocaj, the UNICEF Representative in Armenia, discussed how Diasporan communities could offer support: ‘Diaspora Armenians and organisations can play an important role in strengthening gate-keeping mechanisms, such as daycare centres; in establishing new social services for vulnerable families; in supporting alternative family-based child care; in further developing integrated social services in the country; in promoting excellence in education and healthcare. All of these areas need support, and can have a massive knock-on effect on poverty alleviation, particularly child poverty’. Two independent experts from Ireland and the USA, respectively, were invited to the conference to share Diaspora engagement strategies. The Conference and training was organised for the staff of the Armenian Ministry of Diaspora, staff from other line ministries and civil society organisations. Thematic discussions were also held with the Training and Research Centre of the Central Bank of Armenia and a number of other high-level stakeholders. The visits were organised as a follow up to the earlier visit of an Armenian delegation to Ireland in October 2015 to study Diaspora engagement strategies for children and local development. The goal of the larger project, funded by the EU, is to promote the better use of migrants’ and diaspora’s financial and intellectual resources for the benefit of their communities and children in Armenia.