Armenia: Sustainable Livelihoods and Environment
Migration is among the most serious problems in today’s Armenia. The volume of migration flow increased particularly after the 1988 earthquake, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and in connection with the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Between 1988 and 2001, about 1.1 million people left Armenia, which is around a third of the country's total population.
Today, between 15 and 16 thousand people depart from the country each year, which represents about 0.5% of the overall population. Apart from corruption and violations of human rights, the main reason for migration is high unemployment, which has reached 27.5% of the working-age population today. People in Need therefore focuses on creating new jobs to increase the chances of the local population finding work at home. PIN is trying not only to discourage other people from migration, but also to motivate Armenians living abroad to return home.
Its activities mostly concern support for small businesses. They include not only retraining courses, but also the subsequent provision of small grants to allow people to launch their own business.
Development of small business
In detail, since 2009, People in Need has been providing consultancy and seminars supporting start-up entrepreneurs in their preparation of business plans. Those who succeed in an open competition are then awarded grants to purchase the equipment needed to start their business.
During the period 2009-2015, about 314 returnees participated in business trainings which taught them how to write successful business projects. Furthermore, 145 of them entered the competition for the financing of their ideas. 44 of the best business proposals were awarded grants, meaning the creation of more than 170 new jobs. The businesses are in fields such as agriculture, trade, production of various goods, beekeeping, cultivation in greenhouses, etc.
In addition, PIN has been organising requalification courses aimed at enhancing the employment prospects of returnees. The focus of requalification courses has been determined on the basis of a labour market gap assessment and the returnees interests.
Between 2009 and 2015 vocational training courses for 29 professions were held for both for returnees and potential migrants; as a result of this, of the 555 beneficiaries who had undergone trainings, almost 50 % got a job. As of April 2015, these 555 beneficiaries were trained in the following professions: hairdresser, manicurist, confectioner, cook, operator, babysitter, builder, carpenter, designer, etc.
Support for vulnerable groups and their integration into society
In total as of April 2015, counselling services had been provided to over 7,000 beneficiaries. A helpline was another effective tool, offering advice to another 2,100 potential migrants and returnees.