UMCOR opened its Armenia office in 1994. Initially, UMCOR's work in Armenia focused on distributing pharmaceuticals to health institutions and clinics. Later, the programs expanded to include development activities with a focus on transitional programming. UMCOR Armenia is based in Yerevan.
Sustainable Cooperative Extension and Agricultural Development
UMCOR began the USDA-funded Food for Progress program in July 2008. In the first phase of the program, UMCOR monetized 6,000 metric tons of USDA-donated soybean meal in Armenia. The proceeds are being used to implement the Sustainable Cooperative Extension and Agricultural Development program.
The two-year program builds on UMCOR’s extensive agricultural development programming already in Armenia. Through this program, UMCOR aims to improve the livelihood of farmers and small-scale agricultural entrepreneurs in three regions of the country by developing their production, management, pre-processing and marketing capacities. An estimated 126,000 or more people will benefit from the following activities:
- Agricultural extension support to individual rural farmers to encourage adoption of improved farming techniques and agricultural technologies
- Creation of new agricultural cooperatives and capacity building of new and existing cooperatives
- Provision of agricultural machinery and equipment and introduction of leasing operations for cooperatives
- Development of post-harvest pre-processing and marketing capacities of cooperatives
UMCOR promotes a self-sustainable and secure food system. Through this program, now in its fourth year, UMCOR provides six state-run institutions and three rural communities with agricultural inputs such as livestock and beehives, as well as the necessary training for staff and some beneficiaries to properly care for them. The staff members also learn how to appropriately process what the inputs produce, such as milk and honey. This program will improve food security for over 855 beneficiaries living in six elderly homes and special schools and three rural communities in four regions of Armenia (Shirak, Lori, Gegarkunik and Yerevan) by enabling them to become self-sustainable, learn new technical skills and their improve nutrition and quality of life.
The Pharmaceutical Distribution Project provides access to free pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to 150,000 vulnerable persons in rural and urban areas across Armenia. Since its inception in 1994, UMCOR Armenia has distributed over $20 million worth of medicines, medical supplies, school kits, health kits, and quilts to primary healthcare facilities and charitable organizations that serve refugees, the elderly, children, pensioners, and other socially vulnerable groups. Moreover, UMCOR renovates the existing rural health facilities to insure proper conditions for providing quality health care services to the population.
Under the Cheese Distribution Program, 7,064 Armenians living in 62 institutions such as orphanages, special schools, retirement centers and mental hospitals receive at least 40 grams of nutrient-rich cheese every other day, improving their prospects for good health. UMCOR procures locally produced cheese which serves to supplement food allocations provided by the Government of Armenia; however, with the recent global economic crisis, these institutions depend on UMCOR’s assistance even more as state funding is often insufficient to supply the residents with appropriate nutritional needs.
UMCOR Armenia is combating the spread of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections in Armenia through raising awareness in local communities of the diseases, increasing access to screenings and treatment from mobile medical units, and training local healthcare practitioners. Additionally, UMCOR trains local volunteers to educate their communities about the diseases and to encourage people to be screened and to receive treatment.
COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Protecting Survivors of Trafficking
UMCOR Armenia implements a comprehensive anti-human trafficking program in partnership with the United Methodist Women in coordination with the Government of Armenia. UMCOR assists persons who have been trafficked with a safe environment and reintegration back into society and provides medical services, psychosocial support, employment, and legal counseling. Through UMCOR’s drop-in center and shelter programs, short and long-term needs are met for survivors.
Prevention of Human Trafficking
In addition to providing support to survivors, UMCOR combats further human trafficking by operating a telephone hotline for people to get more information and conducting public education and outreach activities through a mass awareness program.
PARTNERS IN OUR WORK
UMCOR Armenia works with a variety of partners to make our work possible. In addition to the private funds we receive through The United Methodist Church we also receive support from the following:
Foods Resource Bank
United Methodist Global AIDS Fund
US Department of Agriculture
US Department of State