Civil Society in Action
Armenia needs a strong civil society for democracy to prosper
Armenian civil society organizations have a long history supporting citizens’ needs, providing humanitarian assistance, and facilitating platforms for democratic discourse. Civil society organizations made key contributions to Armenia’s economy, education, health, and political reforms and played an important role in the grassroots civic movements that led to the Velvet Revolution in 2018. The change in government post-revolution presented opportunities for reform and participatory engagement, fostering a new culture of cooperation between citizens and the government of Armenia. Despite this, various challenges continue to hinder the effectiveness of civil society. First, financial viability is a significant hinderance, with the majority of funding coming from foreign donors. Second, civil society organizations are neither perceived by citizens as representatives of the people nor does the government of Armenia perceive civil society as a key partner to engage with, in part due to civil society organizations’ inability to communicate with their constituents and identify actionable policy recommendations. To overcome these challenges, civil society organizations are seeking to play a larger role in public policy discourse in the new political environment and within the post-conflict and post-pandemic environment.
Increased visibility of civil society to engage in public policy
Civil Society in Action will enable local organizations and civic movements to enhance two key dimensions of civil society: civil society organizations’ impacts on policy discourse (the external effect) and civil society’s representation of constituents (the internal effect). To this end, CSA will support the civil society sector’s financial viability at the national and community levels and enhance the capacity of community-based organizations, ensuring that civil society organizations improve their delivery of both external and internal effects. CSA will also enhance civil society organizations’ skills, knowledge, and opportunities for dialogue to effectively engage in public policy and evidence-based advocacy, further enabling their ability to deliver external effects. Counterpart will achieve these objectives through a locally led process that ensures local ownership of development results.
Improve, enhance, strengthen, and promote Armenia's civil society sector
- Improve financial viability of civil society organizations to sustain their work for the long-term. Our team assists civil society organizations to transform from relying on donor funding to using more diverse streams, including locally available resources. By leveraging Armenian funding sources, civil society organizations will also enhance citizen and government perceptions that the civil society sector is credible and responsible to local needs.
- Enhance the organizational capacity of community-based organizations to build credibility, which derives mainly from their ability to deliver advocacy, services, policy reforms, and oversight that responds to local needs. CSA supports community-based organizations to enhance their organizational capacity so they are more effective in delivering these results.
- Strengthen civil society and government dialogue on public policy to enhance civil society organizations’ ability to influence government legislation and monitor policy implementation that has a direct impact on local communities—especially in sectors like education and health—so that civil society play a key role in public consultations required by Armenian law.
- Promote locally led development so Armenian civil society organizations are well-placed to address local needs and deliver innovations that lead to effective results.