Today the Increased Resilience of Syrian Armenians and Host Population – IRIS Programme Final Conference took place in Yerevan.
The project aimed to enhance the economic integration of Syrian-Armenians and the host population by raising the competitiveness of the local economy by stimulating innovation and entrepreneurial spirit in Armenia.
“I believe that this support from the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis and joint efforts of the founding organizations helped to facilitate and strengthen the economic integration of Syrian Armenians, migrants, repatriates and local entrepreneurs, contributing to the growth of Armenian SME sector. I hope that this experience would be useful for replication within different similar projects in the future,” said the Head of the European Union Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador H.E Andrea Wiktorin in her welcoming speech.
The EU IRIS programme was implemented from July 2018 to July 2021 and was consisting of four main components: Economic integration, Housing Support, Information Services, Social Inclusion. The objective of the programme was to improve social and economic integration of Syrian Armenians and host population and to strengthen institutional capacities for economic growth in Armenia.
During 36 months Armenian Red Cross Society achieved the following:
- 270 families received housing rental subsidies
- sustainable housing models were developed for low and medium income families,
- 100 Syrian and local Armenians participated in paid traineeships activities, from which 77 received job offers afterwards
- 200 older people received food and hygiene parcels on quarterly basis
- Psycho-social Support (PSS) Centre of Armenian Red Cross Society established and provided personal PSS support to 361, and offered group-based integration activities to 735 Syrian Armenian children and adults, as well as to more than 40‘000 people affected by COVID-19 and escalation of Nagorno Karabakh conflict
- 631 teachers / partner organisations‘ & state body employees participated in Psychological First Aid trainings
- 9‘000 pupils and teachers were reached through educational activities
- 430 youth were empowered through capacity building and Seed Grant sub-projects.
Armenian Caritas and SME Cooperation Association established EU IRIS Business Incubator foundation as a separate entity which provides full cycle of business incubation including trainings, coaching, mentoring and access to the finance in form of grants and loans. As a result of two calls 102 entrepreneurs have been supported through IRIS Academy, and AMD 449’000’000 has been allocated for their businesses in form of grants and loans.
The Centre for Coordination of Syrian Armenians’ Issues with its InfoHub made sure that all services available and provided by different organizations were bundled and shared with all Syrian Armenians.
The IRIS programme is funded by the European Union through the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis (the ‘MADAD’ Fund), Austrian Development Cooperation and Austrian Red Cross and is being implemented by the consortium led by Austrian Red Cross and consisting of “Armenian Caritas” Benevolent NGO, Armenian Red Cross Society, Centre for Coordination of Syrian Armenians’ Issues and SME Cooperation Association.