• AGBU Armenia Launches EU-Funded BRIDGE4CSOs Programme in Yerevan

AGBU Armenia Launches EU-Funded BRIDGE4CSOs Programme in Yerevan

26 June 2017

New civil society strengthening programme will engage diaspora expertise to help Armenian СSOs provide better services to beneficiaries

June 26, 2017, Yerevan, Armenia – The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Armenia has officially launched its BRIDGE for CSOs programme implemented in partnership with the Eurasia Partnership Foundation and financed by the European Union. The three-year programme with a total budget of EUR 2.2 million aims to strengthen the capacity of Armenian civil society organisations (CSOs) to better respond to citizens’ needs.

Through the programme, Armenian CSOs will have the opportunity to participate in thematic trainings and university-based non-profit management certificate program, benefit from pro bono consultations, and apply for small grants.

“As a global Armenian organisation, AGBU is committed to strengthening civil society in Armenia through shaping its resilience, sustainability and impact,” said Vasken Yacoubian, AGBU Armenia President and AGBU Central Board member.

As the first and essential step for the programme’s implementation, BRIDGE for CSOs conducted sector-related professional needs assessment of more than 200 Armenian CSOs and experts working in the fields of education, healthcare, art and culture, sports, youth and gender issues. The research findings revealed that Armenian CSOs are willing to become more professional, and believe that peer-to-peer trainings, on-site consultations and coaching are among the most efficient methods to improve their skills. Most of the CSOs also consider social entrepreneurship as a key to self-sustainability and are looking for more opportunities to form networks and consortia for experience exchange and to build links with overseas organisations working in the same area.

A unique component of the programme is engagement of diaspora talent and potential in the development of the Armenian non-profit sector.

The Head of the EU mission in Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski said:   ”Bringing diaspora Armenians’ expertise to Armenian CSOs is a win-win situation for all.”

“Through our programme, any qualified individual can be a pro bono consultant, become a board member of a local organisation, conduct a specific training or workshop, become a supporter of a non-profit’s project and thus contribute to diaspora involvement in advancing Armenian civil society,” said Arsen Stepanyan, the team leader of the BRIDGE for CSOs programme.

A free, web-based Together4Armenia.am platform, jointly managed by AGBU Armenia and UNICEF in Armenia, will allow for the transfer of knowledge and skills from a network of experts based in the diaspora.

Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF) is a ‘think and do’ tank with 20 years of expertise in the nexus of project design and management, network building and consortium management, civil society capacity building, policy research and advocacy, alternative content development, and peace building. EPF’s mission is to empower people to effect change for social justice and economic prosperity through hands-on programs, helping them to improve their communities and their own lives. More about EPF: www.epfarmenia.am

European Union (EU) is made up of 28 Member States who have decided to gradually link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, during a period of enlargement of 50 years, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms. The European Union is committed to sharing its achievements and its values with countries and peoples beyond its borders.