More than 75,000 people have been displaced since violent conflict erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan in late September. The displaced, over 90% of whom are women and children, have fled to border communities and to Armenia’s capital, Yerevan. The agreement negotiated just last week increases the likelihood that what may have been temporary displacements will now be permanent. With winter months quickly approaching and COVID-19 case counts increasing, the challenges facing the displaced and their host communities are only compounded.
Drawing on our local presence and partnerships in Armenia and on our global expertise in crisis response, the Near East Foundation (NEF) has mobilized a rapid response program to help meet the immediate humanitarian needs of conflict-affected families in Syunik, Gegharkunik, and Yerevan. With support from an international community of donors, we are pursuing a four-pronged approach: building the capacity of five local organizations to provide emergency aid, distributing food and personal items to 1,500 displaced people, providing childcare and children’s activities to 500 displaced children, and extending income generation opportunities to conflict-affected women.
Local organizations are well-positioned to respond and address the needs of their communities. However, they require additional capacity to meet the increased demand for critical goods and services, including clothing, bedding, hygienic items, and food. To provide these needed goods, the local organizations that NEF supports plan to hire 100 women from conflict-affected households to prepare and package goods.
NEF is also working to help ensure these organizations are able to adapt to the needs of their communities as the crisis evolves. Knowing that the COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing, life-endangering threat, NEF is supporting our partners to procure needed personal protective equipment and to encourage safety precautions.
NEF has an enduring commitment to Armenia and to marginalized people throughout the region. With roots in the 1915 response to the Armenian genocide, NEF’s current work in Armenia is focused on supporting women and survivors of gender-based violence through advocacy and economic empowerment.
In order to reach our goal of serving 1,500 people displaced by the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, we need your help.
To learn more about NEF’s Armenia Response Program and to find out how you can support this effort, contact Andrea Crowley, Director of Philanthropy and Partnerships, at firstname.lastname@example.org.