Who

Armenian civil society organizations 

What

Enhance Armenian civil society’s financial viability, capacity, and policy engagement.

Where

CSA is implemented across Armenia, in each of the 10 marzers (administrative regions), plus the capital Yerevan.

How

Strengthen CSOs’ impacts on national policy discourse and their representation of constituents by building organizational capacity to deliver more effectively.

Challenge  

Armenian civil society organizations (CSOs) have a long history supporting citizens’ needs, providing humanitarian assistance, and facilitating platforms for democratic discourse. CSOs 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 (GOAM). 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, CSOs are neither perceived by citizens as representatives of the people nor does the GOAM perceive civil society as a key partner to engage with, in part due to CSOs’ inability to communicate with their constituents and identify actionable policy recommendations. To overcome these challenges, CSOs 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. 

 

Promise 

Civil Society in Action will enable local organizations and civic movements to enhance two key dimensions of civil society: CSOs’ impacts on policy discourse (the external effect) and CSOs’ 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 (CBOs), ensuring that CSOs improve their delivery of both external and internal effects. CSA will also enhance CSOs’ skills, knowledge, and opportunities for dialogue to effectively engage in public policy and evidence-based advocacy, further enabling CSOs’ ability to deliver external effects. Counterpart will achieve these objectives through a locally-led process that ensures local ownership of development results. 

 

Impact 

  • Improve financial viability of CSOs to sustain their work for the long-term. Our team assists CSOs to transform from relying on donor funding to using more diverse streams, including locally-available resources. By leveraging Armenian funding sources, CSOs will also enhance citizen and government perceptions that the civil society sector is credible and responsible to local needs. 
  • Enhance the organizational capacity of CBOs to build the credibility of community-based groups, which derives mainly from their ability to deliver advocacy, services, policy reforms, and oversight that responds to local needs. CSA supports CBOs to enhance their organizational capacity so they are more effective in delivering these results.  
  • Strengthen CSO and government dialogue on public policy to enhance CSOs’ ability to influence GOAM legislation and monitor policy implementation that has a direct impact on local communities—especially in sectors like education and health—and CSOs play a key role in public consultations required by Armenian law. 
  • Promote locally-led development so Armenian CSOs are well-placed to address local needs and deliver innovations that lead to effective results.  

 

Partners

Funder: United States Agency for International Development (USAID) 

Collaborator: Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development 

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