Despite the recent gains in poverty reduction in Armenia, one third of the country’s population (32%) remains in poverty (RA National Statistical Service, 2013). USAID’s social protection programs work closely with the Armenian government and civil society to deliver vital social services to vulnerable populations, build sustainable models of social services delivery, and strengthen the capacity of the Government to implement its broad social reform agenda.
As life expectancy increases and young people seek opportunities for outward migration, the share of the population that is of pensionable age also increases. Armenia’s current pension system is not considered financially sustainable – future fiscal revenues are unlikely to be sufficient to meet the growing stock of pension benefits. USAID assists relevant government institutions in administering a sustainable pension system for current and future generations, and in providing community-based services for vulnerable populations, especially institutionalized children and the disabled.
Ninety-seven percent of the 4,500 children residing in Armenia’s 42 institutions have at least one living parent. Yet, the number of children living in orphanages remains relatively stable despite a decline in child population over the last few years. USAID places a special emphasis on promoting national child welfare reforms to ensure social inclusion and equal access to services and opportunities for especially vulnerable children.
USAID also maximizes the use of government-to-government agreements and supports local civil society organizations to implement activities in this sector and build local sustainability. USAID believes that through greater civic engagement and oversight of the social sector reforms combined with greater capacity and motivation on the part of government, governance in Armenia will become more participatory, effective and transparent.
The Livelihood Improvement through Fostered Employment (LIFE) project applies new approaches to increase employment opportunities for disabled people in the local labor market. The project works to identify and remove legislative and social barriers to employment of the disabled, develops systems for reintegrating the disabled into the labor force, and supports necessary institutional reforms.
The Pension Reform Implementation Project (PRIP) provides technical assistance to support Armenia in pension reform implementation and provision of integrated social services to help individuals, households, and communities better manage social risks and needs.
Social Inclusion of Vulnerable Children in Armenia – The program supports the Government of Armenia’s national child welfare reform to stop the flow of children into residential educational and care institutions, as well as reintegrate de-institutionalized children into a family environment by developing alternative family- based care and community-based services. In parallel, the program will also help strengthen the network of community social workers and incorporate child protection into the integrated social services package.
Support to Social Sector Reforms in Armenia – The project seeks to promote an improved social protection system in Armenia that is responsive to the needs and concerns of citizens. The project will encourage citizens to participate in monitoring of social sector reforms; strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations to advocate for and monitor these reforms; and develop recommendations for further improvement of social policies and better protection of social rights.
Support to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to Implement Social Sector Reforms – USAID works directly with the Government of Armenia on national child welfare reforms to stop the flow of children into institutions and reduce the number of children in institutional care. The project will also help strengthen the integrated social services system in Armenia.
Last updated: April 05, 2016