DVV International Armenia country office works to promote lifelong learning and adult education (AE) in the country at three different levels, macro, mezzo and micro.
At macro level, advocacy efforts are directed to incorporating AE into education policies and strategies. At mezzo level, DVV International works with AE umbrella organizations, as well as supports capacity building of adult educators through ToTs, exchange visits and other interventions.
An important component of DVV-Armenia’s portfolio is the establishment of adult education centers. In the past 15 years, DVV International in Armenia has established three such centers in Armenia, of which two are currently operational.
Social -Educational Center of Shirak Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church (the SEC) was established in 2005 by the initiative of Shirak Diocese and financial support of World Council of Churches Armenia Inter-church Round Table Charitable Foundation. The Center started its work as a provider of social and educational church based services to vulnerable population of Gyumri with children being a special target. Moving forward, the Center added other dimensions to its operations including social assistance, day care, social entrepreneurship, youth club and elderly club, volunteering, library service, spiritual and psychological counseling and others. The Center’s beneficiaries are socially vulnerable people including people with disabilities and unemployed adults, children, single women, youth and the elderly.
In 2007 the SEC has started its cooperation with DVV International evolving into a well-known adult education services provider in the region. Throughout these years the Center has conducted various skills-based trainings including hairdressing, sewing, cake baking and decorating, cooking, furnituremaking and woodworking, construction, cosmetology, business correspondence, computer accounting, secretarial job and others.
A furniture making facility has been established through DVV International’s support, while other workshops were partially equipped including the sewing workshop and the kitchen.
Around 650 unemployed men and women (aged 18-56) were trained by the Center with at least 20 % of them ffinding jobs, or improving their quality of life through self-employment (see the graph below).
DVV International in Armenia has also supported the SEC through establisheing linkages and exchanges with partners in Germany, including:
To operate effectively, Social-Educational Center cooperates with various local state and private organizations. Due to its collaboration with Gyumri Territorial Employment Center of State Employment Agency, the registered unemployed people are trained in the center and further supported by the Agency to start up their own business or find jobs. The Center also collaborates with all the small and middle local enterprises that are invited to training completion events at which skills and knowledge of the trainees are demonstrated in order to support their further employment.
Sisian Adult Education Center (the SAEC) was established in 2013 in Sisian community of Syuniq region. To select its partner center, DVV had announced an open call for applications from municipalities of Ararat, Vayots Dzor and Syuniq regions. Among several applicants, Sisian municipality was selected as the best potential partner for establishing a new center. In March 2013, a memorandum between DVV International and Sisian Municipality was signed, stipulating that DVV will provide grant funding for the operations of the Sisian AEC, while the municipality will allocate a facility in the premises of the former pioneer palace. In addition, the municipality undertook to establish a foundation that is in charge of the property and assets of the center and to carry out all the operations defined in the charter of the foundation.
In spring-summer 2013 the AEC facility was renovated and equipped and the official opening of the Sisian center was held on September 24, 2013. Following the opening of the center, it started recruitment and training of trainers. 10 selected candidates and the staff of the Sisian AEC participated in a three week Andragogy training conducted by the experts of Armenian Life Long Learning League. Nine of the ToT participants were later recruited to work with the Center.
In the last four and a half years DVV International has provided annual support to SAEC to conduct its training courses and to cover some administrative costs. The Sisian municipality also co-finances to Sisian Adult Education Center by contributing to implementation of its educational projects. The Center has come up with an effective financial model through which trainees also co-finance the training costs by paying an annual fee of around 15 Euros that allows them attending all the training courses offered by the Center.
The center aims to provide affordable and effective educational services for all people-who want to gain new skills, competencies and capabilities through learning. The center is the only community based adult education service provider in the region that provides a wide range of courses including language courses, computer literacy and programming, accounting and office management, hairdressing and handicraft and others.
Center beneficiaries in the past 4 years have included over 650 unemployed men and women (aged 18-56) with at least 40 % of them ffinding jobs, or improving their quality of life through self-employment.
In 2017, Sissian became a consolidated community with around 30 rural communities joining the town. The Center is currently considering ways to diversify its offering to address the needs of these rural communities.