Transforming and Supporting Armenian Civil Society Organizations

November 29, 2023

In many of the countries where Counterpart operates, we’ve seen that the presence of an effective civil society is critical to the creation of a strong governance system. Armenia has a long and challenging history of autocratic rule by elites. The Armenian Revolution in 2018, however, swept in a number of progressive political changes, largely due to successful advocacy efforts by Armenia’s vibrant civil society. While progress is being made, Armenia’s civil society needs support as it takes steps towards achieving a free and fair democracy. Counterpart’s new Civil Society in Action program, funded by USAID, is working with our local partners to transform and enhance Armenian civil society organizations through strengthened organizational development. 

In support of the country’s efforts to improve governance, Counterpart’s activities alongside local partners Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development and NGO Center include elevating the voices of civil society organizations by helping them enhance their policy dialogue, financial sustainability, organizational capacities, and leadership in local development initiatives.

Irene Chávez, an organizational development and transformational change specialist, conducted the training for the Civil Society in Action program in Armenia.

Earlier this year we hosted a training on organizational development, a process that strengthens stakeholders and organizational members at every level. Participants learned about approaches to assess and strengthen an organization’s operational efficiency and sustainability, including financial stability, structural soundness, and the effectiveness of its knowledge management, training, and monitoring and evaluation of program implementation. More importantly, the training demonstrated the critical importance of any organization’s operational stability and development to advance the meaningful impact of its work. By combining these practices, we have and will continue to improve our partnership with Armenian counterparts, enhancing advocacy, leading legal reforms, raising public awareness, and supporting a sustainable and proactive civil society in Armenia. 

This training is part of Counterpart’s transformational change approach, which provides civil society organizations with tools to help them operate in a way that is efficient, effective, and enhances their credibility. The change is holistic and identified by the community, and the solutions are community-driven. This collaborative process ensures that societies are in control of shaping their own destinies.  In Armenia, we arranged for an organizational development specialist to conduct a training for Counterpart, Urban Foundation, and NGO Center staff. Based upon Counterpart’s organizational development methodology, the training involved activities that reinforced the critical tie between any organization’s internal health and the reach and impact of its mission.  

Irene Chávez led the organizational development training for the Civil Society in Action program staff and local Armenian partner organizations.

The methodology prioritizes engaging traditionally marginalized groups to enhance the skills and confidence they need to effectively participate politically, and helps organizations work together more efficiently to pinpoint and address any financial or system-related issues.  

In Armenia, our work has focused on ways that civil society can better engage women and youth to improve their data literacy skills and policy communication. Ensuring that all voices are included and heard, our training provides the foundation, tools, and resources needed to allow Armenian civil society to help citizens thrive.