The Partnership for Artsakh discourse, launched in May 2021, continued on September 11 in Artsakh. The moderators of the workshops on healthcare, economic development, education and culture and social issues held during the previous meeting presented the results of their teamwork of the last months and reviewed the new proposals for the Aurora for Artsakh program aimed at ensuring long-term development in the region.
“We can state that, following the May 2 Dilijan event, we have achieved several results. First of all, it is the establishment and strengthening of links between different organizations and stakeholders, including public institutions. Second, a better level of coordination thanks to this connection. Third, the previous two [factors] have facilitated the launch of several joint projects. The progress is visible. And the important thing is that the main stakeholders, among them Aurora, manifest consistency in ensuring that the achieved arrangements and the main activity are continuous, and today’s meeting is an indicator of that,” noted Artak Beglaryan, State Minister of Artsakh.
“On May 2, we specified the directions and now, we have a few projects on the economic development of Artsakh, which we are slowly bringing to life. One of them refers to sewing production, the other to carpet-weaving. The third project implies the creation of new vineyards and the development of winemaking. All three projects are being successfully implemented and will create new jobs,” said Vahe Keushgueryan, moderator of the workshop on economic development, advisor to the President of Artsakh on development projects, Co-Founder and Board Director of Impact Hub Yerevan.
During the 7-hour-long meeting in Stepanakert, the participants also discussed the new project proposals for the Aurora for Artsakh program. The proposals submitted by 51 local and international organizations cover several areas: humanitarian aid, healthcare, social development, education, culture and sports, infrastructure restoration, environmental protection, and raising awareness of the situation in the region.
“We realized that we have the issue of capacity, losses of infrastructure and equipment, and the need for their replenishment. The management and revision of the financing methods also were a problem. To implement all of this, we had to combine the projects and raise funds. Aurora gave us a platform, an opportunity to unite, discuss and make joint decisions on the directions we must prioritize,” said Ara Babloyan, moderator of the healthcare workshop, Scientific Director and Chairman of the Management Board of Arabkir Joint Medical Center-Institute of Child and Adolescent Health.
Tangible results were achieved in the social sector, too. A conceptual paper outlining resilience-building in Artsakh was drafted and approved by the Artsakh Government. The Association of Social Workers is currently training 75 community social workers. According to the concept, the total number of specialists should eventually reach 170. Students will be taught social work at one of the Artsakh universities, with a second university joining the program next year.
“The idea of having community social workers in our concept is directed at eliminating having isolated, alienated and neglected people and families in Artsakh. Community social workers are there to interfere, detect, identify social issues and raise awareness about them as early as possible and to not allow them to deepen,” noted Mira Antonyan, moderator of the social issues workshop and President of the Association of Social Workers of Armenia.
When talking about the development of human resources and promoting education, two important issues singled out during the previous meeting, Narine Aghabalyan, Head of the Aurora for Artsakh program, noted that Aurora had initiated and supported projects in these two directions as well and reconfirms and strengthens its presence in Artsakh by accepting new proposals.
“Aurora is also expanding its scope of partnership. We are glad to confirm that more than 30 new partners, including international organizations, expressed a wish to participate in the Aurora for Artsakh program. Exactly a year after the immediate response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the 2020 war, the new phase of the Aurora for Artsakh program is being launched. It has about 70 project proposals focused on addressing the issues that arose in the aftermath of the war, and all those who are interested in contributing to the restoration and strengthening of Artsakh can join their implementation,” said Narine Aghabalyan, who was also the moderator of the Education and Culture workshop.
The Aurora for Artsakh program lent a helping hand to more than 131,000 people affected by the war. Overall, Aurora had already allocated $1,740,000 to support 80 projects in Artsakh implemented by local and international partners.