ARS Receives $500 000 from USAID

WASHINGTON–The Armenian Relief Society Consortium Washington Office announced that it has received approximately $500,000 from the United States Agency for International Development to implement a School Weatherization Project in Armenia. The grant is made to the ARS through USAID’s Caucasus Umbrella Grant Program managed by Save the Children.

The ARS will weatherize 20 educational institutions in Gumri and Vanadzor including kindergartens–primary and secondary schools–and create employment opportunities for more than 100 local Armenia’s.

"The Armenian Relief Society values the trust and confidence that USAID and Save the Children continue to place in our ability to help meet the educational and health needs of Armenia’s children," said ARS Weatherization Project Director–Karine A. Alemian. "Our ongoing work weatherizing dozens of schools and hospitals and providing gainful employment for Armenia’s workforce reflect our enduring commitment to serving those in need–in Armenia and around the world."

Several schools receive kerosene for winter heating from international donors such as USAID. However–the physical conditions of these institutions often contribute to the inefficient use of these limited resources. In many cases–windows are cracked–broken or missing. Window frames and window and door casings allow drafts of frigid air into classrooms. Due to the unbearably cold conditions–many schools close during the winter disrupting the educational development of Armenian children. Weatherization enables schools to maintain a warm–healthy environment and to remain open during the winter thus–providing opportunities for increased student attendance and improved education.

"Save the Children believes the Armenian Relief Society’s weatherization project is a very valuable one given the difficult conditions under which schools operate," stated Save the Children Caucasus Desk Officer–Dana Burde–"Save the Children is especially pleased to support the ARS in its endeavors to improve education in Armenia."

Previous ARS Weatherization Projects

This is the third weatherization grant the ARS has received. ARS involvement in weatherization activities began in October 1994 as part of a larger USAID energy sector reform program for Armenia. The ARS received a $60,000 sub-contract award from Burns and Roe Enterprises–an American engineering firm conducting several energy-related projects in Armenia–Georgia–Russia and Ukraine.

Based upon ARS’s previous success–USAID and Save the Children granted $256,200 directly to ARS to continue weatherization for eight months in December 1995. To date–the ARS has weatherized 35 health and educational institutions in Akhourian–Amassia–Gumri–Maralik–Spitak and Vanadzor.

Benefits of Weatherization

The results of previous ARS weatherization projects are noteworthy.

All weatherized institutions demonstrated increased energy efficiency–increased interior temperatures and decreased fuel expenses. For example–Vanadzor’s Hospital No. 2 reduced its heating fuel consumption by 25 percent. Prior to weatherization–the hospital consumed 32,000 kilowatts during January and February 1994. After weatherization–however–the hospital required only 24,000 kilowatts to provide adequate heating during the same period in 1995.

Gumri’s Hospital No. 2 saved $1,250 on winter heating expenses and experienced an average increase in temperature of 3.6 degrees Celsius.

The US Agency for International Development administers the US foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.

To date–the ARS Consortium Office has secured $1.8 million in funds–commodities and equipment to support new and existing ARS projects in Armenia.

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