The UMCOR Nutrition department was founded at 1999. All programs of the Nutrition department have the same goal: to combat hunger and support and empower vulnerable/disadvantaged people living in state institutions (special/boarding schools for handicapped and socially vulnerable children, retirement centers, orphanages, mental hospitals, and kindergartens for socially vulnerable children) and in targeted rural communities.
In1999 the Nutrition department started its programs with “Free cheese distribution programs” that still exists today. Over ten years this US State Department funded program distributes cheese to special institutions to improve diets of beneficiaries living in the institutions and to promote the market for local cheese producers.
Later (2000-2003, the Nutrition department implemented “Social Transition Program”, which aimed to improve diets of schoolchildren and university students by providing seasonal food assistance. 6,000 schoolchildren were supported with daily lunches.
In 2011 the Nutrition department started to work on the community level. Foods Resource Bank made it possible to work not only in special institutions, but also at Semyonovka, Anipemza and Ahnidzor communities of Armenia. The project addresses the vulnerability of families and the lack of self-sufficiency in food procurement of state-run institutions for their residents through provision of agricultural inputs and technical assistance.
As a short-term result, UMCOR envisions that the communities and institutions supported through the project will achieve food security through increased food accessibility and availability and utilization of more nutritious products for consumption. As a long-term result, families will obtain valuable knowledge and afford better healthcare for their dependents through generated incomes while institution staff will continue to provide nutritious diet to future residents. In the process, beneficiaries will develop self-confidence and fewer people will seek labor opportunities away from their homes.
Fighting Hunger through Sustainable Livelihood Development
Target Areas: Armenia – Gegharkunik Marz (Semyonovka Community) and Lori Marz (Vanadzor Elderly Home and Stepanavan Health Evaluation Center)
Project Implementation Period: January 1, 2011 - December 31, 2011
Donor: Foods Resource Bank
• To meet immediate and long-term nutritional needs of vulnerable members of target community and institutions;
• To establish sustainable food security bases;
• To promote community development through technical assistance.
The program objective is to provide agricultural inputs to 2 targeted institutions (Vanadzor Elderly Home and Stepanavan Health Evaluation Center) and Semyonovka (24 selected vulnerable families) communities to increase their self-sustainability in food production; to increase participants’ knowledge through technical trainings on sustainable farm management, beekeeping, poultry and sheep-raising; to increase the participants’ ability to design menus that improve the daily diet and promote overall health of community members and residents of institutions; and to empower young people at institutions and community school with life skills, education on beekeeping and sustainable farm management.
The results are more than successful. 226 beneficiaries in Stepanavan HEC, Vanadzor Elderly Home and Semyonovka Community received agricultural inputs to increase their self-sustainability in food production; 39 project beneficiaries increased their knowledge on sustainable farm management, beekeeping, poultry and sheep raising through technical trainings; 16 project beneficiaries increased their ability to design menus that improve daily diet and promote overall health of community members and residents of the institutions; and young people at institution and community school were empowered with life skills, education on beekeeping and sustainable farm management through establishment of youth clubs. Semyonovka community vulnerable families in total received 24 beehives, 24 sheep, ajnd 120 chicken. Vanadzor Elderly Home (55 residents) received 5 beehives; and Stepanavan Health Evaluation Centre (50 residents) received 5 beehives.