Ensuring sustainable and safe implementation of HIV/AIDS programmes amid COVID-19 in Armenia
A project “Ensuring sustainable and safe implementation of HIV/AIDS programmes amid COVID-19”of Armenian organization New Generation was financed by AFEW International within EU-funded COVID-19 Solidarity Programme for the Eastern Partnership countries.
On the 31 of May 2021 the project was finished, providing the social, legal, psychological support to over 250 beneficiaries who had suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic related emergency situation and crisis in Armenia.
Alina Mirzoyan, coordinator of human rights projects at New Generation Humanitarian NGO
Our project was proposed to facilitate access to HIV services, make the provision of services safer and provide social and psychological support to vulnerable groups of population who had remained double vulnerable helpless, jobless, stigmatized and without state support in the COVID-19 pandemic situation in Armenia. As a result, in total we helped 250 representatives of vulnerable groups of the country.
During implementation of the project, it was very important for us to give social assistance to LGBT people. Many of them lost jobs, since many of them work in service sector especially affected by COVID-19. As LGBT people are usually considered as second members of the society, employers often even do not register them as workers. That’s why within the frames of project legal assistance complaints and official letters were submitted to different state institutions to help these people.
Within this program, we also gave legal and psychological assistance to people whose rights have been violated, who have been subjected to discrimination by their own family members. The program helped to assist them with finding temporary shelters and financial support, so they could find some temporary shelter until they have a job or other financial income.
Within these years we have achieved a lot of improvement in cooperation with the state in terms of providing HIV prevention services to vulnerable groups of the society. Nowadays we are cooperating with the Ministry of Health of Armenia about HIV prevention services to trans* people, MSM and commercial sex workers. These programs, which are implemented by our NGO in Armenia, are supported by the Ministry of Health with the funds provided by the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and also in cooperation with the National Center for Infectious Diseases. So, we can say that there is cooperation with state institutions in terms of HIV services.
Our organization is one of the largest community-based NGOs in Armenia, with 70 outreach workers from the beneficiary communities. Only in 2020, our NGO provided HIV services to 8687 beneficiaries, legal aid to 503 beneficiaries, psychological assistance to 90 beneficiaries, shelter and social assistance to 700 beneficiaries.
I believe that step-by-step work and advocacy can make great changes in our country.
Our NGO currently can’t provide social and psychological assistance to its beneficiaries due to the unavailability of resources. But the needs assessment has shown that there is still requirement for social support among the key populations, that’s why we continue fundraising to ensure the social and psychological support for our beneficiaries, especially considering that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has not mitigated yet in the country.
The regional COVID-19 Solidarity Program in the Eastern Partnership countries is financially supported by the European Union and is implemented in partnership with People in Need and the Netherlands Helsinki Committee. This project aims to support community-based organizations to respond to the immediate and longer-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Eastern Partnership countries.