YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Since 1999–a highly successful Armenian-German program titled "Promotion of Self-Support Activities" has been in operation in the Stepanavan area. Its aim is to significantly improve the living conditions of as many inhabitants in the area as possible.
Conditions in the remote region of Stepanavan are very difficult–with official records indicating more than 40 percent unemployment–one of the highest in the country. There is also an extremely high percentage of single women in the area..
The program has achieved extraordinary success from its very start. Unemployment figures have been reduced and the number of social welfare recipients has noticeably diminished. The program focuses on training and education–as well as direct financing and a credit base funded by the German government. The program is carried out by the German Society for Technical Cooperation in partnership with Armenian institutions–including the ministry of social affairs.
Up until now–more than 350 people have been trained and over 30 micro-enterprises have received start-up financing. Altogether–more than 200 people have found employment and receive a steady income.
This program is not only a way to success–but is also a unique experience for the inhabitants of the region. They realize they can contribute on their own initiative not only to significantly improving their own living standards–but the general living conditions of the area as well. Based on the positive results–the program is to be extended to other areas this year.