The ARCS adopted an approach to developing its branches, according to which the development of Armenian Red Cross branches should be based on thorough analysis of the NS and its environment, and adapted to the opportunities and constraints these present. Corresponding tools will be used to obtain the necessary information and analysis, such as Branch Organizational Capacity Assessment (BOCA), needs assessment tools, mapping activities of stakeholders and other. The approach will be specific and adapted to the local context of each branch, e.g. in conflict or disaster prone areas other additional assessment tools can be used to check preparedness to respond to specific threats. Based on the self-assessment of organizational capacities and assessment of the needs in the region, focusing on vulnerable communities, the branch will develop corresponding plan of action which should be adopted by its own board and approved by the board of the ARCS. The HQ will support and monitor the implementation of the branch Plan of Action, but the branch leadership is the responsible of development of their branch.
The entry point for each branch development initiative should be BOCA, adapted for use in Armenia. The tool was translated and adapted to use in Armenia. Six BOCA facilitators were trained during a five day training and practical exercise in Armavir regional branch of ARCS.
Capacity building initiatives are currently underway in three ARCS branches: Lori, Shirak and Tavush.
The Strengthening ARCS Tavush branch project aim is to build stronger regional branch in Ijevan and community branches in Berd, Dilijan and Noyemberyan, so that the branches are better prepared to respond to humanitarian and emergency needs in their communities. This is a tripartite pilot initiative, supported by the ICRC and Danish Red Cross which will continue in 2017.
The first ARCS branch that conducted the BOCA self-assessment exercise is the Tavush Regional Branch. Following the assessment, an annual capacity building plan was developed based on the strengths and capacity gaps which the branch prioritized. The following cluster themes are included in the development plan of Tavush branch: recruitment, engagement and retention of young volunteers; planning, monitoring and evaluation of activities; financial management, including fundraising; infrastructure development.
The Lori and Shirak regional branches need strengthening their capacities in relation to the new ‘Integrated Community based Home Care and Active/Healthy Aging’’ service being established with the support of the Swiss Red Cross. BOCA self- assessment exercises are scheduled for Lori and Shirak branches in January 2017.