CFE II project in Armenia: bringing experience on community level
Although the Armenian Red Cross Society (ARCS) has long experience in the area of Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Change Adaptation is a new field where National Society (NS) started its active engagement from 2013 with the first stage of “Climate Forum East” Project.
In 2015 ARCS started implementation of “Climate Forum East II” Project with the aim to sustain and support “Armenian climate forum” network (ACF) established within the framework of the Project first stage and strengthen the capacities of the network and its members to contribute to national and local policy making processes, public awareness raising, and education on Climate Change and environmental governance in the Eastern Neighborhood Region.
The key elements in the project included provision of sub-grants to ACF member organizations, which finally would enhance their capacities, position in the country and relationship with relevant governmental and non-governmental stakeholders.
The first sub-grant was provided with the aim to strengthen the capacities of ACF member organizations in Leadership, Fundraising and Communication. “Eco Peace” NGO took over the implementation of this grant has successfully organized three trainings in the above mentioned fields and supported development of Network Development and Fundraising Strategies. Key success of these trainings was indicated during the endline study when ACF member organizations come up with clear vision to further coordinate the ACF activities after CFE II Project completion and structural divisions developed during the SWOT analysis, clearly underlying fundraising focal point appointment issue and the overall vision of ACF. According to Kristine Sahakyan, a President of “Eco-Peace” NGO, ACF will continue its active engagement in CCA adaptation in the country based on the strategies developed and overall common vision from the part of ACF member organizations which come up as a result of trainings and discussions over strengthening the network in Armenia. Development of Local CCA Plans and further implementation of small scale adaptation projects in 3 beneficiary communities have further enhanced the capacities and position of ACF being engaged in the whole process of preparation, interviews, meetings and discussions, construction etc. According to Arevik Hovsepyan, President of “Country Water partnership” NGO, “the process of implementation of local adaptation plans mobilized ACF member organizations and becomes a starting point for initiating joint activities in the future.”
The Process of development of case Studies further promoted ACF engagement in community level thus creating opportunity for its members to initiate other funding opportunities. Arevik Hovsepyan stressed the point of importance of community-based subprojects focusing on development of Local CCA Plan of action and implementation of small-scale project “as a prerequisite for successful positioning and fundraising as well as for inspiring ACF members to implement for joint projects … enhancing the influence of ACF in the field of CCA in Armenia.” As a logical continuation, the whole process of above mentioned subprojects were followed by Eco-Peace NGO in order to develop a comprehensive and reader friendly Case Studies that have been further distributed among governmental, non-governmental and international organization to share experience, lessons learnt and best practices of ACF and CFE II Project. Among the most important successes of subprojects are increased community ownership, changing mentality of the local residents towards community needs, an opportunity for additional business investments and good practice for surrounding communities to be engaged in similar projects that have been identified during development of Case studies in Margahovit, Mets Parni and Basen communities of Armenia.
Media campaign conducted by “Civil Voice” has increased people awareness on climate change adaptation issues through development of three media messages and further producing TV and radio slots broadcasted throughout the country by nationwide covered “Kentron” TV and “Sose” regional TV channels. Those messages have been extracted and adopted from the “Analysis of Climate Change and Health Policy” Study done in 2016 by another ACF member organization, “Social-Ecological Association”.
Finally, “Khazer” NGO has been engaged in developing of awareness raising materials for youth and further conducting awareness raising activities in schools.
A poster, 15 Intellectual coloured cards, “Methodological handbook” for teachers and a computer Game (based on Microsoft Net) have been developed during 2016. Afterwards, all the materials have been used to raise awareness among schoolchildren and teachers in number of regions. As a result, “Khazer” NGO has successfully conducted training sessions in various schools of Lori, Shirak and Gegharkunik regions and Training of Trainers (TOT) for the teachers of the abovementioned regional centers (providing them with “Protect our Planet’s Climate” published materials packages).
During the implementation of CFE II various meetings, discussion and round tables have been organized in order to ensure active engagement of ACF member organizations in CCA issues and enhance their influence on decision-making processes in the field. Importantly, ARCS together with “Khazer” and “Country Water Partnership” NGOs has been engaged in the process of development of Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) and the Forth national Communication. With the leading position of ARCS in the ACF, several governmental and international organizations have appointed focal points to ACF who have taken active part in the whole process of implementation of CFE II Project. Namely, Armenia Three Project, State Hydro-meteorological Service and UNFCCC Focal points have taken part in round table discussion over sharing experience, lessons learn and best practices in CCA on community level organized by ARCS within the framework of CFE II Project. Meanwhile, ARCS has engaged ACF member organization in trainings organized within other projects with the aim to increase their capacities
in communication/ advocacy and leadership. Explicitly, a training in “Negotiation” was conducted in December 2016 where seven ACF members took active part. The knowledge and practical skills gained during the training will assist them in the whole process of communicating with national and local authorities and development of ACF.
Summing up the results of CFE II Project, it could be stated that the Armenian Climate Forum network (ACF) with its 16 member organisations has all necessary capacities to become a player in the field of CCA in the country. It has extensive experience in implementing community based adaptation projects, trained, devoted members and defined structure to ensure its independent and collaborative work with governmental institutions, local authorities, local NGOs and international organization. ARCS CFE II National Coordinator has pointed out that “the second part of CFE Project started in 2015 have had an enormous impact on the development of ACF with its subgranting scheme and coordinated work on the regional level that allowed to better position ACF and the NS in the field of CCA in Armenia”.