Fighting the pandemic in rural regions of Armenia

In April 2020, we stepped up efforts to combat the COVID-19 crisis in rural Armenia. Considering the rising number of coronavirus cases, the lockdown, and the limited economic activity, we saw an urgent need to lend a helping hand to our beneficiary villagers in need.

We organized a fundraising campaign aimed at raising $50,000, and thanks to our caring donors, we reached our goal. Here is how your generosity has been helping rural Armenian families to stay safe, be well-informed, and overcome the social-economic hardships caused by the pandemic since then.

According to our research, around 20% of the 1000 COAF-beneficiary households in the Lori region were directly affected by COVID-19 in terms of temporarily or permanently losing their source of income․ The largest segment was the migrant workers (10%), who could not leave the country as a result of the lockdown.

Another group is migrant workers living and working in Russia and losing jobs there, thus being deprived of a source of income for their families in Armenia. People who lost their job locally included employment in stone factories, dairy & food production, sales, and construction sectors. Other families who lived in poor or vulnerable conditions before the virus outbreak saw their conditions worsen because of the pandemic. Overall, the situation is similar to other regions of Armenia as well.

Along with delivering the aid packs to households and health facilities funded by EU Delegation to Armenia, the Austrian Development Agency, and the Estonian government, in Lori and Shirak regions, our team moved towards our other beneficiary villages in Armavir, Aragatsotn, and Tavush regions.

Through COAF COVID Emergency Fund, we will be providing 788 families with primary food, hygiene supplies, board games and stationery, and 17 beneficiary health facilities with medical gear. The healthcare items include masks, sanitizers, soaps, thermometers, pulse oximeters, face shields, respirator masks, etc.

Our preliminary assessment indicated that 41% of 1300 COAF SMART Center students from the 26 Lori villages, were left out of education (both school & COAF programs) because of not having a device or internet connection needed for distance learning. We have included games and painting materials in the pack to encourage our children to stay home and ensure entertainment and self-development at the same time.

The COAF team that travels through our villages and hands in the aid supplies consists of doctors and social workers who have years-long experience in working with rural Armenian communities. The one-on-one meetings with the villagers assimilate a short consulting on COVID-19 safety measures, with our specialists explaining the situation in the world, and answering the questions of our beneficiaries.

For the consecutive month of the state of emergency in the country, recent days have been extra emergent for the people of the Tavush region. The military aggression started on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, started by Azerbaijan, has disturbed the peace of its villagers.

Despite the situation, a part of our staff members was right next to our villagers in the borderline communities of Tavush, including Berdavan, Koti, Aygehovit, and Vazashen, helping them overcome the negative consequences of the pandemic. We continue to support our beneficiaries in the fight against COVID-19 in Tavush, Armavir, Aragatsotn regions. If you want to make a difference in the lives of rural families in Armenia in these challenging times, you can use the link to donate to our COAF COVID Emergency Fund.

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