On 18 February, delegation headed by Dr.Stefan Scholz, Head of Department of Programming and Planning of Development Cooperation, Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, visited Armenian Red Cross Society Headquarters.
Dr. Gunther Zimmer, Chancellor, Head of Coordination Office for Technical Cooperation at Austrian Embassy, Robert Zeiner, Director Programmes and Projects International, Austrian Development Agency, Nikoloz Grdzelidze, Programm Officer at Regional Office for the South Caucasus, Austrian Development Agency and Sonja Greiner Head of Delegation in South Caucasus , Austrian Red Cross, were in delegation staff.
The aim of the meeting was to get acquainted with the activities of Armenian Red Cross Society, particularly with the projects implemented with the support of Austrian Development Agency and Austrian Red Cross.
Having welcomed the guests, Dr. Anna Yeghiazaryan. ARCS Secretary General presented Armenian Red Cross Society’s history and activity directions, mentioning, that the National Society enlarged it's activities after Spitak earthquake in 1988, launching development projects, rather than merely providing aid. After 25 years of such an active work, now the organization has an impressive list of partners. Among them are other National Societies, who support wide range of projects implemented by Armenian Red Cross Society. Regarding the cooperation with Austrian Red Cross, Secretary General mentioned:
- Our cooperation with Austrian Red Cross started at 2011. We have implemented projects in several directions: in psycho-social support, Climate Change and Disaster Management spheres. Let me to thank you also for the great work, that Austrian Red Cross had done after the earthquake in Gyumri, building special district for disabled people. It's still is called «Austrian district».
The members of Austrian delegation were mostly interested in ARCS projects for refugees, as starting from October 2013 “Relief for Syrian Armenians” project is being implemented by the finance of Austrian Development Agency and with the support of Austrian Red Cross.
Edmon Azaryan, Head of ARCS Disaster Management and Population Movement department presented the project describing the aid, that Syrian Armenians receive, emphasizing, that, except food and hygiene parcels and medicine, special attention has been given to the possibilities for integration. Particularly, they have been provided with equipment to start small business and appropriate consulting. In the future, it is planned to include a component of joint business to be established by several beneficiaries.
To be more informed on the issues and needs of the beneficiaries involved in the projects, members of Austrian Delegation wished to meet some of them. After a detailed discussion with four Syrian Armenians settled in Armenia, it was found out, that, even being very grateful for the aid received, they will prefer to have an opportunity to start their own business and live with dignity.
Accordingly, it was suggested to continue working on and developing the idea of income generating in future projects for Syrian Armenians.
“Building safe and resilient communities” project achievements presentation followed the discussion. It is financed both by Austrian Development Agency and Austrian Red Cross. The project launched on 1 December, 2012 and will continue till 1 December, 2015.
The main objective of the project is to contribute towards reduced vulnerability to disasters of rural and urban population.
Austrian Delegation representatives express their gratitude to Armenian Red Cross Society for the provided information on the ongoing projects and their achievements, as well as for the opportunity to meet the beneficiaries and assessing their needs. They assured, that the effective cooperation between Austrian and Armenian sides would continue.