Armenia redefines local social planning – a slow but steady way to support the most vulnerable

UNICEF’s Social Protection Officer Armenuhi Hovakimyan explains the importance of local social planning on Boon TV.

UNICEF Armenia
Աշտարակում ապրող մեծ ընտանիք է, որոնք սոցիալական աջակցության կարիք ունեն։
UNICEF Armenia/2018/Anush Babajanyan
19 August 2020

A person’s needs – especially social needs – are usually complex and multifaceted and the solutions to those needs are often beyond the responsibilities of one sector or level of government. This is the case for children, persons with disabilities, families living in poverty, labour migrants, and other vulnerable populations. One tool to address those needs at the local level is through local social planning.

The methodology for local social planning was developed in 2012 jointly by UNICEF Armenia, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, and the Communities Finance Officers Association. The methodology was piloted in 4 regions and respective communities as part of an EU-funded programme and then was clearly embedded in the legal framework of Armenia; including the Law on Social Assistance, thus creating an opportunity for informed social service delivery at the local level. However, according to UNICEF’s recent assessments, the local social planning methodology remains largely underutilized. One of the reasons for this is the absence of clear regulations for communities as well as financing methods.

Since 2019, UNICEF together with the Yerevan municipality, as part of a much larger reform of the child and social protection system in the community, has been supporting the development of clear regulations for local social planning – from programme development and approval to financing as well as monitoring and evaluation.  This development aims to ensure that the community provides more targeted and needs-based services in the municipality for the benefit of children and their families. As a result, the municipality will be able to implement social projects that are based on data and evidence, actual needs and with support of local NGOs, individual, international organizations and the private sector. This also includes outsourcing of services, which would be a complete novelty in the context of these communities.

Moreover, as part of the joint UN project on “Enhancing human security in communities of Armenia”, up to 6 community social projects will be implemented in Berd, Amasia, Alaverdi and Tumanyan in 2020-2023 and will be co-financed by UNICEF. These projects will focus on the development of better services and more sustainable opportunities for the most vulnerable families and children, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Regional and community social needs have been assessed, and now is the time to develop the community project concepts for selection.

Investing in social services is an investment in human capital – quality workforce and economic development in the future. This is why local social planning should be an integral part of regional and community socio-economic development strategies in Armenia and should be connected to budget and human resource allocations in communities.

Watch our Social Protection Officer, Armenuhi Hovakimyan, further discuss these issues on Boon TV.

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