Success Story from Armenia: Generating Employment, Improving Lives

Generating Employment, Improving Lives

For 58-year-old Anush Margaryan, and many Armenians like her, the country’s dearth of employment opportunities has made it nearly impossible for her to make ends meet and care for all those who depend on her for support. A pensioner who lives in a one-room apartment with her 34-year-old daughter – who has had health problems and is unable to work – along with her 12-year-old granddaughter, Anush says that they have barely scraped by. “During the last 5 months we were almost starving. We had no income aside from my monthly pension and poverty family benefits, which hardly cover our daily needs.”

However, things have begun to change for Anush as a result of the recent opening of the USAID Public Works Project in Sevan, which was a collaborative effort of USAID/Armenia, CHF International and Sevan Municipality. Through the project 16 local residents received training and 38 members of the community, including Anush, were employed as laborers.

The 16 vocational trainees learned key job skills in concrete works and stone masonry, which consisted of a classroom course and an on-site job internship. Managed by CHF International, the 25-day project provided short-term labor opportunities to a total of 54 vulnerable people. USAID provided funding to construct 32 solid waste collection units in residential areas throughout the city, improving garbage collection, protecting the environment, improving sanitary hygiene and supporting local businesses in their efforts to operate in a clean and pleasant looking city. Together, these efforts are improving the business and employment environment for many Armenians.

When asked what her employment opportunity with the USAID Public Works Project in Sevan has meant to her and her family, Anush said, “I can never thank you enough for this opportunity. I tried hard to find any job so that I could heat our apartment this winter. This project came just in time. I am so proud that I am part of this work.”She added, “We not only learned new skills, but we also understand that if we work together to accomplish a task, we can be as successful as we are today.”

By creating opportunities for temporary paid jobs, USAID and CHF are providing necessary income and allowing Armenian beneficiaries to gain employment experience, which is vital for getting a full-time permanent job. Working also positively impacts the self-esteem and mental health of the beneficiary by occupying his or her time with productive activities.

In addition to providing vocational training in construction skills, CHF continues to identify and implement labor-intensive projects that will both employ vulnerable people and improve community prioritized infrastructure.