nonprofits in ArmeniaSince Armenia has only been an independent country for less than 30 years, its economy has been slow-building. As of 2017, Armenia has a 29.8 percent poverty rate. The landscape of nonprofits in Armenia is a good example of how diverse strategies can contribute to the reduction of poverty. Here are the top five nonprofits in Armenia.

Top 5 Nonprofits in Armenia

  1. AGBU
    • What they do: The Armenian General Benevolent Union works to promote Armenian heritage around the world.
    • Who they serve: AGBU serves all Armenians by bringing attention to the country for its unique culture. At the same time, AGBU fundraises for causes, like Artsakh. Moreover, AGBU organizes women empowerment programs, work to improve medical care and support local farmers.
    • For more information, read about AGBU here.
  2. Eevah
    • What they do: Eevah aims to feed 33,000 hungry children around the world by 2020. The sale of handmade jewelry funds Eevah’s presence in Armenia. By combining creativity, fashion and charity, Eevah exemplifies how to utilize local talent to enact change.
    • Who they serve: Eevah serves children suffering from hunger around the world.
    • For more information, read about Eevah here.
  3. World Vision
    • What they do: World Vision identifies and eradicates root causes of poverty to benefit the lives of children across. To do so, World Vision empowers communities to become self-sufficient and sustainable.
    • Who they serve: To date, World Vision has helped over 200 million children in poverty. In Armenia, they focus on ensuring children live happy childhoods through programs enriching home and school life. Additionally, they put together clothing drives to provide warm clothes to families in need during the winter.
    • For more information, read about World Vision here.
  4. Air Serv International, Inc.
    • What they do: Air Serv provides safe transportation for people escaping vulnerable and dangerous areas. Accordingly, Air Serv transports them to humanitarian organizations for help.
    • Who they serve: In April 2019, Air Serv transported 1,061 passengers into relief spaces. They are present in Armenia and surrounding countries like Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Georgia. Moreover, they have worked with the World Food Programme to provide food to Armenia and its neighbors during times of war and conflict.
    • For more information, read about Air Serve here.
    • What they do: ACDI/VOCA fights to implement capacity-building projects across the globe. Specifically, they focus on economic advancement to help communities thrive through local programs.
    • Who they serve: In Armenia, ACDI/VOCA has supported innovative growing projects for 60,000 farmers. As a result, these programs benefit local efforts and bolster the agricultural industry. They also supported programming to provide $7 million in loans to Armenian farmers.
    • For more information, read about ACDI/VOCA here.

A labor force migration, weak agricultural system and unemployment drive Armenia’s poverty rate. However, the creativity of local and global nonprofits help provide relief to the 29.8 percent of Armenians who live in poverty. These nonprofits in Armenia prove the many ways communities can benefit from the work of like-minded individuals who want to eradicate poverty.

Ava Gambero
Photo: Flickr

Helping Vulnerable Communities Survive Disasters
Sparked by humanitarian organizations like the American Red Cross, backed by companies like JP Morgan Chase & Co., and enhanced with data sharing from Facebook, vulnerable communities now have a better chance at surviving disasters thanks to a program called Missing Maps.

A disaster can devastate any community, but historically, the damage is considerably more widespread in the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities. For example, on October 4, 2016, when Hurricane Matthew made landfall on the southern peninsula of Haiti, over 3,200 homes were destroyed and more than 15,000 people were displaced. In Haiti alone, over 1,000 people died because of this storm.

Many times, if a disaster occurs in a vulnerable, unmapped location, first responders lack the information necessary to make valuable decisions regarding life-saving relief efforts. Missing Maps is a collaborative project that literally puts these vulnerable communities on the map. This way, humanitarian organizations can better meet the needs of the communities and people they are trying to help.

Digital volunteers working with Missing Maps have helped map the homes of 8 million people worldwide. Data from the program has already begun to enhance disaster response efforts — examples include Typhoon Haiyan that struck the Philippines in 2013, and the Nepal earthquake, in 2015.

JP Morgan Chase and its employees are supporting Missing Maps by participating in “mapathons,” where volunteers create digital maps for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities. Kathy W., a Business Operations Executive at JP Morgan Chase, commented on the effectiveness of the program, stating, “The work we’re doing really helps to build more resilient communities and helps save lives.” Chase employees have held 22 official “mapathon” sessions and have helped put vulnerable communities in South Africa, Vietnam, Colombia and Peru on the map.

Recently, Facebook joined the efforts and began sharing its population density data with Missing Maps in hopes of putting 200 million more people on the map. This will help the Red Cross and other organizations on the forefront of this project to reach their mapping goals.

Earlier this year, Facebook began applying techniques from computer vision satellite imagery to generate high-resolution population maps that indicate how and where people are aggregated in communities throughout the world. Originally intended to aid in developing geographically specific communications technologies, Facebook decided to publicly share this data in hopes of helping first responders and humanitarian organizations increase efficiency with disaster planning and disaster response.

As part of its work with Missing Maps, the American Red Cross has already implemented data from Facebook, mapping more than two million people in Malawi alone. The humanitarian organization plans to continue to use this data to map vulnerable communities in other disaster-prone areas, like Haiti.

Ashley Henyan

Photo: Flickr

The Secret to Combining Healthcare and Women's Empowerment|
For decades now BRAC, a Bangladeshi anti-poverty organization formerly known as the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, has been providing a different approach to healthcare services.  While most health care around the world is provided by doctors and nurses in a hospital setting, BRAC has been using a door-to-door method of healthcare.  BRAC hires women to deliver primary health care or locally by visiting people at their homes without a doctor or nurse.   Not only does this create healthier communities, but it also elevates these women to a higher status in society and broadens the perceptions of the role of women in these rural communities.

These women join BRAC as frontline community health promoters.  After they receive training from BRAC, they travel from house to house in order to promote many health practices that we hold as staples in the Western world.  Among these is the adoption of contraceptives, identifying pregnancy, proper health while with child, and education about children’s health.  While there, the women also treat basic illnesses among family members.  Further training from BRAC allows these women to raise awareness about other diseases like hypertension and diabetes while giving them access to equipment such as blood pressure gauges and primary medicines.

This sort of medical service without a doctor or nurse is made possible by the fact that many diseases in poverty-stricken and developing areas is the result of simple ailments that do not need extensive medical training to diagnose and treat successfully.  One of the most significant examples of this is diarrhea.  According to the World Health Organization’s website, “diarrheal disease is the second leading cause of death in children under five years old…Globally, there are nearly 1.7 billion cases of diarrheal disease every year.” These women can help stave off the malnutrition which results from diarrhea with simple oral rehydration solutions.

BRAC has evolved from a small relief organization in 1972 into the largest development organization in the world by enacting these types of strategies that utilize poor communities’ own human and material resources to create environments and situations that enable the poor to take control of their own development.  This community health program is a prime example of the best type of development strategy.  It does not consist merely of throwing resources at a community but empowers members of that community to take an active role in development.  This strategy holds even more impact because of its use of women as employees, as the empowerment of women is the key to overcoming global poverty, due to women’s large investment in their own communities.

– Martin Drake
Source: Huffington PostWorld Health Organization, Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee
Photo: Global Voices

Largest Global Anti-Poverty Organization

BRAC assists “138 million of the poorest people in nine countries in Asia and Africa,” yet few people have ever heard of the global anti-poverty organization. BRAC began as the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee but has expanded to multiple countries.  Though BRAC is no longer an acronym, it has become a synonym for progress.

The organization works to alleviate poverty through empowerment. It is the largest global anti-poverty organization. BRAC provides opportunities for self-improvement, such as self-employment and financial aid. Its economic programs created 8.5 million self-employment opportunities, and BRAC has issued over $5 billion in micro-loans.

Education is key to mitigating poverty in future generations. The organization created over 66,000 schools to meet the needs of primary and pre-primary children. To date, the schools have graduated over 6.1 million students.

Furthermore, the organization itself employs over 125,000 people in Asia and Africa. Many of the employees are first time job holders, and BRAC teaches them necessary skills.  “As a job-creator and employer of scale and diversity, we teach people the basics of customer service, and how to be productive employees,” said Susan Davis, President and CEO, BRAC USA.

BRAC engages diasporas for economic and social development. The organization realizes the value of local people.  Instead of Americans instructing people on how to improve their communities, the organization starts by training people from the country in need.  After successfully completing the program, trainers return home with new skill sets.  These individuals communicate their success stories and encourage others to strive for better lives.

One of BRAC’s unique strengths involves creating new markets.  The organization trains 100,000 health and other promoters to achieve self-employment.  Promoters work with “legal services (property rights), poultry and livestock services, and energy services.”  The jobs vary based on the specific needs of the communities.  Each position interacts with people to teach vital subjects, such as agriculture, family planning, and disease prevention.

The organization “has remained relatively unknown in the West…because it developed on the local level in the poorest, most remote communities of Bangladesh.”  It originated in communities and developed gradually.  Fazle Hasan Abed created BRAC “when he was overwhelmed by the sight of death and extreme poverty among refugees returning to Bangladesh after the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh.” He fled the corporate life and employed all of his resources to launch BRAC.  Today, his vision has improved the lives of millions of people.  Talk about a visionary.

Whitney M. Wyszynski

Source: Fast Company