IRD has works in Armenia for 11 years

IRD (International Relief & Development) Organization Country Director Ruzanna Stepanyan answers questions of NT

27-03-2012 11:31:44   | Armenia  |  Interviews
1. How long has your organization been operating in Armenia? What is its mission? The IRD is a charitable, nonprofit, non governmental organization that works in the world's most challenging regions. We specialize in conflict, post-conflict, and disaster settings. The IRD's mission is to reduce the suffering of the world's most vulnerable people and provide the tools and resources needed to increase their self-sufficiency. The IRD works in over 40 countries in six core sectors: community stabilization; democracy, governance; community development; sustainable food and agriculture systems; health; infrastructure; and relief and humanitarian assistance. We also specialize in acquisitions and logistics, delivering over $100 million in in-kind donations each year. IRD registered its branch in Armenia in January 2001. Since then a number of projects have been implemented in Yerevan and regions/marzes. 2. Which programs implemented by your Organization in Armenia do you consider most important? Why? We started with the U.S. Department of State's (DOS) Essential Medical Commodities Distribution (EMCD) project, targeting the most socially disadvantaged and vulnerable people countrywide. During these 11 years, The IRD has delivered over $65 million worth of medicines, medical supplies, and nonmedical commodities to vulnerable populations in Armenia. The IRD Armenia works with 100 medical facilities and about 300 NGOs, rural communities, boarding schools, orphanages, elderly homes, and other institutions to supply-free of charge-wheelchairs, walkers, hygienic kits, school kits, and newborn kits, children's shoes, new and second-hand clothing, and pharmaceuticals. This humanitarian assistance has helped both the government of Armenia in its efforts to relieve social tension and the socially vulnerable people to cope with their daily needs and redirect scarce resources to other basic needs. From 2001 to 2004, the IRD implemented the USAID-funded Primary Health Care Initiative Project in Armenia. The IRD rehabilitated and equipped rural medical ambulatories in seven villages of Tumanian region, Lori marz, established and operated mobile medical units for those remote villages, and established community health groups to identify and manage health-related activities. Healthcare providers were trained in emergency care, family medicine, integrated management of childhood illnesses, and health facility management. The IRD's training package included both on-the-job training and interactive theoretical classes. The program improved access to and quality of primary health care services for population of the region. In 2005 the IRD Armenia began implementing small rehabilitation projects (SRPs) in poor villages and social institutions, aimed at addressing humanitarian and public health needs. Funded by DOS, these projects helped in reconstructing the potable water network in a refugee village, and providing needed repairs to a nursing home, boarding schools for disabled children, public institutions of preschool, and school education. So far IRD Armenia has implemented 14 such projects, with a value of $242,561. 3. Do you implement any programs in cooperation with Armenian state bodies or non-governmental organizations? If so, please present these programs, indicating their significance to and their real effect on the vital activity of Armenian society. The IRD Armenia has many partners among healthcare facilities, social institutions, and non-governmental organizations. They help us distribute our commodities and make better targeting of those in need of our assistance. 4. What programs do you plan to implement in the near future? We will continue our EMCD program through the end of the 2012, distributing essential medicines, children's clothes and shoes, quilts, and school kits. We will implement two more SRPs in institutions of preschool education of Kanaker-Zeytun administrative district of Yerevan. With more funding from the U.S. and other government agencies, international donor organizations, international finance organizations, faith-based organizations, corporations, foundations, and other partners we can do much more relief and development programs to the benefit of people of Armenia. 5. Does the work carried out by you attract interest of society? What about society's support? Yes, it does. It attracts interest of plenty of organizations that apply for assistance. We are welcomed in marz and local government offices. Our assistance commodities reinforce training and cultural activities carried out by NGOs and child care centers. Our projects inspire others to bring their contribution and/or participation. To the mentioned above examples I would like to add one when parents of two institutions of preschool education where we were doing SRPs last year got mobilized their resources and voluntarily conducted cosmetic renovation of children's playrooms. 6. Is your cooperation with Armenian authorities successful? The IRD effectively collaborates and coordinates its activities with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labor and Social Issues, as well as marz governors' offices and representatives of local authorities. As an example of successful collaboration the SRPs in villages Yeghegis, Vayots Dzor marz and Darbnik, Ararat marz and Kanaker-Zeytun, Yerevan can be mentioned where the local governors brought their participation in SRPs. 7. What kind of difficulties have you met during your operations in Armenia? The IRD has worked in Armenia for 11 years, and we have successfully cooperated with state bodies. As to difficulties in working with our local partners like NGOs, villages, etc., it is always a challenge to receive accurately and timely reports! 8. What things do you consider positive in present-day Armenia? In your opinion, what should be changed in the country? A lot of hardships have been overcome since independence and quite a lot of development has taken place. What is most needed in my opinion is for Armenia to promote the rule of law, reduce corruption, break market monopolies, provide citizens with equal opportunities to develop their capacities in full, allow development of democratic society, and better plan and manage public resources. All of this will require hard work, dedication, and determination-from each member of society, irrespective of age, sex, religion, nationality, and position.

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