Open Society Foundations-Armenia has to date allocated over $1,002,000 to help fight the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Armenia. In this unprecedented crisis, OSF-Armenia has voiced the opinions of civil society, duly responding to the need to protect human rights, especially those of vulnerable groups, because in any crisis, the rights of vulnerable groups are endangered and breached more frequently.
In the response to COVID-19, OSF-Armenia’s attention has been focused on protecting the rights of single elderly persons, persons with disabilities or chronic illnesses, persons with mental health issues, victims of domestic violence, persons living with HIV, refugees, ethnic minorities, children with special needs and socially vulnerable families.
List of the projects, funded by OSF Armenia to address the impact of the COVID-19 in Armenia, is presented below.
Emergency Support to Vulnerable Groups
Mission Armenia NGO delivered one-month food packages to 2160 elderly and chronically ill people in Gegharkunik, Kotayk, Ararat, Shirak, Lori, and Syunik provinces.
Armavir Development Center provided two-month food and hygiene supplies to 115 elderly and people with disabilities, residing in Armavir and Metsamor towns.
Martuni Women Community Center delivered two-month food and hygiene packages to 120 elderly and people with disabilities, residing in Martuni town and 14 neighboring communities.
Center for Community Mobilization and Support NGO provided one-month food and hygiene packages to 370 vulnerable people in Alaverdi and Vanadzor towns and 18 rural communities in Lori province.
Full-Life NGO delivered two-month food and hygiene packages to 300 people with disabilities and chronic illnesses in Lori province (Tashir, Stepanavan) and Yerevan.
“Aleppo” compatriotic charitable NGO aided to cover two-month housing and food of 120 families of Syrian refugees in Armenia, who have lost source of income because of COVID-19 lock down. The NGO supported a social enterprise-kitchen run by Syrian refugees in Armenia and organize delivery of lunch meals to 100 healthcare providers and volunteers at the hospitals treating the COVID-19 patients. The project also aimed to protect the Syrian and Lebanese refugees’ labor rights through documenting the violation cases, raising awareness on use of protection mechanisms, and providing legal counsel to refugees.
Child Development Foundation provided food packages to 209 families that live in Armavir, Ararat, Kotayk and Vayots Dzor provinces and Yerevan.
Lusastgh NGO delivered one-month food and hygiene packages to 240 vulnerable families of people with disabilities, residing in Vanadzor and 13 communities of Spitak and Gugark region of Lori province.
To provide emergency relief to 400 vulnerable people and unregistered workers from the Yezidi community, suffering the impact of the COVID-19, the Yezidi Center for Human Rights NGO organized delivery of one-month food packages and hygiene supplies to the beneficiaries from Yerevan and 27 communities of Ararat, Armavir, Aragatsotn, Kotayk and Shirak provinces.
Association of Women with University Education prepared and delivered baby kits with necessary clothing and hygiene sets for newborns to 250 beneficiary families from Noyemberyan, Berd and 27 remote rural communities of Tavush province.
Agate NGO organized delivery of two-month food and hygiene packages to the beneficiaries residing in Gyumri and 5 regions of Shirak province.
Armavir Development Center organized in-home social services and psychological consultation for 130 vulnerable elderly people and people with disabilities in Armavir and Metsamor towns during six months.
Medical and public health assistance
OSF Armenia organized purchase and delivery of 2,200 PCR tests for the Ministry of Health of Armenia.
OSF Armenia purchased personal protective equipment for medical staff of “Nork” Republican Infectious Clinical Hospital.
Real World Real People NGO supported people living with HIV and those in need of palliative care through consultations on COVID-19 response and protection of their rights to access adequate health services. The families of 150 patients were provided with food, medicine, and safety supplies.
Center for Rights Development provided emergency assistance for protection of patients’ and inmates’ right to receive adequate health services during COVID-19 outbreak. A group of 100 volunteers received training on infection prevention and control measures, as well as was provided with personal protection equipment and other means for their efficient operation.
”Khnamk” NGO provided consultations to 126 people with mental health problems and people with hearing impairment on COVID-19 response and safety measures. The beneficiaries also received food packages, personal protection, and hygiene supplies.
“AMBRA” Mental Well Being Center NGO provided emergency assistance to psychiatric facilities in Armenia to increase safety measures during COVID-19 outbreak through establishing adequate infection prevention and control plans. The health professionals received training on infection control measures and were provided with personal protective equipment. In cooperation with the Civil society monitoring group in psychiatric institutions, the project oversaw the implementation of the emergency plans and the adequate use of infection protection and control measures by the health professionals. Civil society group mandated to conduct monitoring in the healthcare institutions providing treatment and care to people with mental disabilities within the framework of the RA state support programs.
National Institute of Health built capacity of the medical personnel of the Penitentiary service of the Ministry of Justice of Armenia to effectively prevent and control COVID-19 in prisons.
Support to Small and Medium Enterprises
Jinishian Memorial Foundation implemented a project aimed to help entrepreneurs from Lori, Gegharkunik, Shirak, Syunik, and Tavush to overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis. For this purpose, the initiative trained the 50 selected small enterprises in setting COVID-19 specific safety measures and provided expert consultancy to carry out individual rehabilitation plans to address the current problems. Finally, the project awarded emergency grants to 15 enterprises, whose sole survival depends on that financial aid.
“Angel” NGO implemented a project to support a small women-led sewing enterprise in a rural community of Goris region during the COVID-19 crisis. For this purpose, the NGO provided sewing equipment and supply materials, enabling the enterprise continue production and help the beneficiary 10 employed women regain income source.
Support to the victims of domestic violence
OSF – Armenia assisted Women Support Center NGO to provide emergency relief to low income and non-registered women workers, who survived domestic violence. The NGO delivered aid to its 30 beneficiaries from Yerevan and 7 provinces for covering their basic needs. Information on the hotlines for cases of domestic violence during the self-quarantine was widely disseminated. Women Support Center aided victims of domestic violence and ensured safety of the shelter services during the pandemic.
Near East Foundation provided emergency social assistance (food, medicine, housing) to 32 low-income and vulnerable women from Lori, Syunik and Yerevan, who survived domestic violence and were in need.
Women’s Rights House NGO provided assistance to its 30 beneficiaries from Shirak marz during four months for covering their basic needs amidst COVID-19 crisis. Within this project, the NGO operated a hotline and provided legal and psychological counseling for the cases of domestic violence.
Support to marginalized groups
OSF – Armenia supported PINK Armenia NGO to provide emergency social assistance to LGBT people, who lost their jobs due to the pandemic and did not have the means for food, house rent and medical care. They received social assistance to meet their vital needs in self-isolation.
Engaging children in education during the pandemic
OSF – Armenia took measures to make education more accessible to children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, especially those living in remote areas. The Foundation supported regional TV channel “Tsayg” to produce and broadcast TV lessons of Armenian language and Math for the primary school students in Shirak province. The Foundation also supported regional TV channels – “Geghama” TV and “Lori” TV, to rebroadcast “Tsayg” TV’s classes in Gegharkunik and Lori provinces.
Fund for Armenian Relief, Armenia Branch (FAR) implements a project to promote physical health of the school children during the pandemic through improvement of basic sanitary and hygiene conditions of the 6 rural schools in Berd and Ijevan regions of Tavush province, thus safeguarding the continuity of education at schools during the pandemic. Fund for Armenian Relief has provided necessary support to the socially vulnerable families to prevent the negative consequences of COVID-19 as well as ensure provision of school supplies to 165 first graders from vulnerable families for their entry to primary education.
Step Forward, Social NGO supports around 80 children with autism and development problems that have become more vulnerable because of COVID-19. The NGO provides necessary professional treatment, educational classes, as well as enhanced the children’s life skills for independent living and develop their social inclusion skills.
“Katil” Charitable Foundation is implementing a project aimed to reduce the impact of the lockdown caused by COVID-19 on the life quality of around 700 children with diabetes who could not ensure the active and healthy lifestyle necessary for their well-being. “Katil” Foundation will organize trainings in Yerevan and 5 provinces of Armenia on enriching the knowledge and developing the skills of 18 doctors and 950 school nurses around type 1 diabetes for ensuring the provision of the necessary timely medical aid at schools and safeguarding the continuity of education for diabetic children. The Foundation also provides psychological and legal support to the parents of diabetic children who were also challenged throughout the pandemic.
Armenian Territorial Development Fund is implementing a project to promote physical health of school children during the pandemic through renovation and improvement of basic sanitary and hygiene conditions of 4 rural schools in Berdavan, Aygedzor, Voskepar and Nerqin Tsaghkavan of Tavush province thus safeguarding the continuity of education at schools during the pandemic.
Support to human rights protection in penitentiary and psychiatric institutions
With OSF Armenia’s support, the civil society monitoring groups for penitentiary and psychiatric institutions received personnel protection equipment and training on international standards on health and safety conditions, as well as protection of rights of persons kept in these institutions.
OSF Armenia, within its strategic litigation program, provided assistance to attorneys concerning cases of arbitrary, unsubstantiated detentions in instances where the defendant was a member of a high risk group due to age or health condition.
Protection of Rights without Borders NGO conducted a research and monitored the state’s response to COVID-19 in terms of deprivation of liberty and contribute to effective implementation of international human rights standards.
Center for Rights Development protected the rights of persons with mental disability through conducting monitoring visits to psychiatric institutions, overseeing the implementation of human rights commitments and infection prevention and safety measures in these institutions.
Raising Public Awareness about COVID-19 pandemic
With the support of OSF Armenia, Public Journalism Club and Center for Rights Development NGO implement public awareness raising campaigns by creating impactful videos and posters, organizing webinars and online discussions to help educate public about COIVD-19 and encourage people to display a high level of social responsibility.
With the OSF – Armenia’s support the Factor TV, UIC, Boon TV, Article 3, MIND NGO, Center for Policy Studies and other NGOs contribute to the development of a fact-and-science based public understanding of COVID-19 related issues and minimize the impact of disinformation.