What are the obstacles to the passivity of citizens in the communities of Armenia in the process of participatory governance, how to improve local government-citizen communication for the benefit of community development, what mechanisms to introduce to make the citizen interested in participating in community processes? These issues were discussed during an online meeting on December 22 to present the results of qualitative surveys conducted in seven multi-community communities in Armenia.
The “Community Power” project, which aims to promote the active participation of citizens at the local level in decision-making processes, to promote the activation of the local government-citizen dialogue, to increase the level of public participation in community development programs was launched this year. In July 2012, within the framework of the “Good Governance for Local Development in the South Caucasus” program implemented by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), implemented by “NGO Center” Civil Society Development NGO.
This qualitative survey was conducted in August-September in seven populated communities of Armenia, which are: Alaverdi, Akhtala, Aparan, Shoghakat, Areni, Charentsavan, Meghradzor (now part of Tsakhkadzor united community), in addition to 2020. The UNDP Resident Satisfaction Survey in Local Community Decision-Making, Budget Planning, and Assessing Their Involvement in Community Development Processes.
The event was opened by Rima Gulzatyan, Chief Specialist of the Community Information Flow Management Department of the Local Self-Government Policy Department of the Territorial Administration and Infrastructure of RA, Lika Mkrtchyan, Advisor of the GIZ, and Arpine Hakobyan, President of the NGO Center. The event was attended by representatives of community leaders and staff members, UNDP, NGO Center NGO and Territorial Administration and Infrastructure of RA representatives.
The results of the research were presented by researcher Tatevik Margaryan.
As a result of the research, the expert team came to the following conclusions:
- There is a lack of information on participation mechanisms and opportunities in the communities, in particular, many residents are not aware of the opportunities for participation
- Lack of understanding community issues in the context of day-to-day employment, social issues, separation of personal interests from community interests
- Distrust of being audible, of the likelihood of accepting offers
- Lack of skills in communicating with decision makers, formulating problems, proposing solutions, presenting, negotiating
- Insufficient communication between residents, council members, inactivity of council members etc.
In the next phase of the project, the following activities will be carried out based on the results of the research: awareness raising activities, joint thematic meetings with local representatives, residents, provision of guidelines and practical support for public participation activities to promote public participation possible participation opportunities.
In addition, practical assistance will be provided to address community issues through the use of participatory tools, in particular the funding of small grant programs offered by residents and consulting support.
“Support to provision of Grant Administration service for women empowerment” programme is coordinated by the NGO Center with the financial support of Good Governance for Local Development South Caucasus Programme implemented by GIZ, and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the framework of “Improvement of Local Governance system in Armenia – Phase 2” co-financed by German and Swiss Governments. The Programme is carried out in close cooperation with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure as the main political partner.