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Yerevan Municipality implements economic programs aimed at enabling the business environment through the economic integration of Syrian businessmen in the local context, together with social activities for housing of refugees and education programs for young Syrians.
Lead Authority or Organization: Yerevan Municipality
Area: Yerevan, Republic of Armenia
Beneficiaries: Young Syrian refugees, Syrian women, businesses directly benefitting from the program
Timeline: 2012 - Ongoing
Human Resources: Staff from the Armenian Government, Ministry of Diaspora, Municipality and local community
Sources of Funding: Armenian Government
Since the escalation of the war in Syria, Armenia began receiving Syrians, mainly in the capital of Yerevan. The Armenian Government and Yerevan Municipality implemented social programs for housing Syrians, as well as programs within local schools and pre-schools for the continuous education of Syrian children.
As Syrians noted a different culture for doing business in Armenia, the Armenian Government and Yerevan Municipality decided to also establish training programs, assistance, and a better business environment to help Syrians’ economic integration in the Armenian business climate context.
The project went through the following steps:
Results and outcomes are regularly published by the Armenian Government. The Municipality Reports can be found at the webpage of the Yerevan Municipality:
Beneficiaries comprise 1,200 families with secured housing, with 7,119 Syrians trained on social and economic integration aspects in Armenia. In addition, businesses already located in the industrial zone donated by the Armenian Government in Yerevan benefited from the program. The program is ongoing, and beneficiaries are increasing steadily.
Challenges & Risks
A challenging aspect was for the Yerevan Municipality to design and implement the program in a way that would benefit as many Syrians as possible. This posed the risk of setting a group of Syrians apart from the larger community. To avoid this risk, the Municipality targeted activities to both Syrians and locals.
Key Ingredients of Success
The Armenian host community was tolerant and supportive toward Syrians in Armenia. Support was provided by Armenians to help Syrians socialize and integrate into the host society. Accordingly, the host community also supported the Municipality with their trust in the success of the program.
The key approaches of this program are now being scaled up by other Armenian municipalities. Ensuring additional sources of funding beyond governmental funding would enable the implementation of a larger-scale program that could target more beneficiaries.
Stakeholders involved are the central government, the Ministry of Diaspora of Armenia, Yerevan Municipality, and local communities.
The central government arranged the transfer of Syrians to Armenia, the Ministry of Diaspora was engaged in the process of receiving, registering, providing housing and social programs for Syrian refugees, in collaboration with Armenian municipalities and local communities.
During the second stage, Yerevan Municipality established social and economic programs targeting Syrians residing in Yerevan. Other municipalities and communities are also engaged in implementing the relevant components of the project for Syrians residing in other cities.