Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

HCA Vanadzor received clarifications from the Ministry of Social Affairs regarding the social support actions conducted during the pandemic

June 26, 2020

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Since 16 March 2020, when a state of emergency was declared in Armenia, HCA Vanadzor has been receiving various phone calls from citizens of socially vulnerable groups: persons with disabilities, pensioners, the elderly and so on. Persons who call the Organization, inform that as a result of coronavirus, they found themselves in a difficult social situation and have not received any support. On 10 June 2020, HCA Vanadzor sent a letter to Zaruhi Batoyan, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, to fill the gaps in the lack of awareness on support actions, to ensure the right to be informed, to get clarifications for the relevant questions and to refer to the relevant structures. The Organization asked the Ministry for information as to what steps are taken during the pandemic to ensure the minimum food supply of citizens who have lost their main source of income and job, to mitigate the social situation of families that are not beneficiaries of the Government’s anti-crisis measures.  


HCA Vanadzor asked to provide information on the Organizations implementing social, including food supply actions: what financial means are used to implement them? To what degree are the Ministry, regional administrations and local self-government bodies involved in the implementation of social actions, and with what criteria are beneficiary families chosen? 


Besides, HCA Vanadzor also asked the Ministry for information on the number of citizens who made use of food support programs and the organizations that deal with issues of providing social support. 


The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs provided comprehensive information to HCA Vanadzor regarding social support actions and also presented the list of cooperating structures and the number of beneficiaries to the actions being conducted.


The Ministry has made a list of socially vulnerable lonely elderly people and people with disabilities, movability difficulties and eyesight problems.They were provided to 55 territorial centers and organizations of social support. This information and the data of isolated citizens was received by the Ministry via hotlines of the Office of the Commandant and the Ministry. Families with social difficulties also applied to regional administrations, municipalities and territorial social support bodies.  


During March-May 2020, at least 20 organizations provided packages of social support to around 80,000 persons.  


In order to provide support to persons who were isolated based on a medical instruction and persons in need of food and hygienic-disinfectant items, by the decision of 27 May 2020, the Government allocated 5 million AMD to each regional administration. In order to make this work more effective, on 5 June 2020, the Ministry provided regional administrations and Yerevan municipality with the guidebook on the organization of work of social support territorial agencies/departments. It includes criteria for social assessment of families:


  1. being registered in the family insecurity assessment system,
  2. being registered in territorial center of employment,
  3. contacts with and social services received from  other organizations providing social services,
  4. presence of an underage child (especially belonging to another social group) in the family,
  5. the condition of having lost the job due to the pandemic,
  6. the condition of working for a daily wage before the pandemic,
  7. not being involved in  the actions of neutralizing economic consequences of coronavirus, and in case of being involved, the amount of support and the date when it was received were taken into account,
  8. the lack of adults of working age in the family or the condition of the family’s breadwinner receiving treatment in a hospital,
  9. the condition that support from relatives stopped,
  10. existence of debts,
  11. debts for utility services,
  12. the condition of living on rent,
  13. the impossibility of a family member going abroad to work (in case that condition was the main source of income before the pandemic),
  14. existence of other chronic illnesses and/or difficulties to purchase medications and so on. 


When developing this guidebook of quick assessment of needs, the Ministry also took into account the opinion of social worker or other relevant responsible specialist of the family’s settlement community.


In the frame of the memorandum of understanding signed between the RA Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and Armenian Progressive Youth NGO on 27 May 2020, in-kind support will be provided also to 900 families residing in Yerevan in the form of one-month food, hygiene items and other necessary things. Priority will be given to those socially vulnerable families that were particularly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, lost their jobs and were left out of the Government’s support actions. 


For the effective implementation of the program, Yerevan social support territorial divisions made phone calls and used other means of information collection to make assessment of families’ needs and make lists to be provided to Armenian Progressive Youth NGO and the Ministry. 


Due to the extension of the state of emergency, now works are conducted to organize a second phase of food support. In particular, the Armenian Red Cross Society envisages to provide food support packages to around 16,000 persons in the near future. 


Below you can see the list of organizations that provided food support and the number of beneficiaries.




The number of beneficiaries


Mission Armenia Charitable NGO



Armenian Caritas



World Vision Armenia



My Step Foundation



Armenian Red Cross Society



“Apaga” Foundation



Yerevan municipality



“Armenian elderly” program of Association “Hay”



Children of Armenia fund /COAF



UN Development Programme /UNDP



Fund for Armenian Relief /FAR



German Red Cross (GRC) Baden-Wurttemberg (BW) provincial branch



Bari Mama



Art Lunch



Armavir support center






Diocese of Syunik



Benefactors cooperating with Yerevan municipality



Benefactors cooperating with regional administrations



Benefactor (who did not want to publicize their name)



In total


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