Head of USAID/Armenia Karen Hilliard and Armenia’s Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Artem Asatryan signed two grant agreements on December 20 that will help increase public awareness of the country’s ongoing pension system and enhance the quality of social services. Representatives of the Armenian government and the U.S. Mission attended the ceremony.
The goal of the first program is to continue USAID’s efforts in strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to carry out public awareness campaigns on the new pension system as well as implement financial literacy projects through the government-funded Pension System Awareness Center Foundation. The one-year program complements USAID’s work through its Pension Reform Implementation (PRIP) program, the Finance for Economic Development (FED) program, and the Tax Reform Program (TRP). In its turn, the World Bank has provided a grant to support development of the Unified Pension Portal and the Unified Pension Hotline Service for Armenia.
As part of the second agreement, USAID will support the Ministry to enhance the quality and efficiency of social protection services to the Armenian population. The program will assist with the implementation of the Government of Armenia’s initiative – the Integrated Social Services System (ISSS) – and will address critical challenges during the introduction phase. With the establishment of the ISSS, the Government aims to create incentives for economic growth and poverty reduction through human capital development. In addition, the nature and the role of social work will be revisited.
Both grants are part of the Health and Social Reform Assistance Agreement that USAID signed with the Armenian government in September 2013.