During the official opening ceremony of the “Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” Project, the Head of the EU Delegation in Armenia Ambassador Piotr Świtalski among other things, mentioned the weakness of communication between NGOs and noted that the new project will build a bridge between civil society organizations.
The weakness of this communication is obvious especially in the regions. Young members of NGOs in Ararat marz said that civil society is not active here, and the reason is just the above mentioned factor. “NGOs in Ararat marz are very passive or the distance between us is quite long, and it is difficult to maintain communication. Of course, the modern technologies help to keep this connection from time to time, but the direct communication is of greater benefit,” Ani Muradyan, representative of “Kolson” Youth Center NGO said.
According to the coordinator of Artashat Civic Youth Center Ofelia Simonyan, this gap also hampers youth activism. ” Cooperation of local self-governing bodies and NGOs is also very weak. The main issues are these and one of the peculiarities of our region is that the young people realize their initiatives in Yerevan,” Ophelia Simonyan said.
“Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” Project s also aimed at solving these problems. Currently, within the framework of the project, trainings are being held in Yerevan and marzes on the provisions of the new law “On Non-Governmental Organizations”.
The next training course was in Ararat marz, and was organized with the support of Ararat Infotone organization in its office.
President of the Armenian Lawyers’ Association, “Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” Project Manager Karen Zadoyan said that the Project will solve the problems facing NGOs, and also will be the bridge for organizations.
In addition, capacity building of NGOs is envisaged in the following areas: development and implementation of public policies, creation and development of coalition, implementation of public oversight/monitoring, as well as building and deepening a sustainable and constructive dialogue with the government and local governments. “Various studies, including our organization’s research, have shown that these are the capabilities that are the least developed in NGOs. Of course, you can say that the least developed is fundraising capacity. Yes, that is so, and it is a problem for Armenian NGOs, but if you have a good financial opportunity, but you lack the above four capacities, then you cannot influence decision-making and public policy development processes in Armenia,” Mr. Zadoyan said.
After presenting the objectives, areas and advantages of the program, Karen Zadoyan spoke about the Law on Non-Governmental Organizations.
He explained that the law dictates new rules of the game: the institute of beneficiaries has been introduced, the voluntary provisions have been changed, and the possibility of engaging in direct entrepreneurial activity has been added.
“After the amendment of the law, we have a lot of gaps to deal with. We hope that this process will be smooth, there will be no obstacles and problems,” Ms Ani Muradyan said. Ms Ofelia Simonyan informed that they intend to reorganize the Civic Youth Center of Artashat into an NGO, adding that this conceptual training was effective. “From the very beginning, our Civic Initiative plan was designed to be developed and established so that it becomes an independent non-governmental organization. All possible efforts are being made in that direction. And this seminar was of course quite effective as it is very important for us to get acquainted with the changes in the NGO sector” She said.
The “Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” Project is implemented with the financial support of the European Union by the “Armenian Lawyers’ Association” NGO in cooperation with its partners; Agora Central Europe o.p.s (an NGO from the Czech Republic), Armenian Center for Democratic Education-CIVITAS, “International Center for Human Development” Public Organization, SME Cooperation Association and Union of Communities of Armenia.