Armenian Red Cross Society within the framework of "Building Safe and Resilient Communities" project financed by Austrian Development Cooperation (ADA), jointly with Consortium Partners developed City Resilience Plan of Action for Stepanavan city. The story presented below shows the process from the beginning of consortium establishment process to PoA finalization and acceptance by the City Mayor.
Starting from beginning of 2014, several meetings have been organized within the DRR National Platform to present and discuss new projects and possible cooperation with platform member organizations. During the meetings in January it became clear that organizations such as UNDP, UNICEF, UNOCHA, World Vision Armenia, LORE Rescue Team NGO, ARCS and National Platform itself have DRR projects for Stepanavan city. So, it has been agreed with partner organizations to establish partnership consortium in order to join efforts and resources to make Stepanavan city resilient. In that regard, on the basis of Hazard Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment conducted previously, and self assessment results done by Stepanavan municipality administration, consortium partners initiated developing joint Plan of Action which would also define and guide each partner roles on different activities. Thus, several meetings have been organized in order to present and discuss the PoA within the consortium partnership. After its finalization the meeting has been organized in Stepanavan city hall to present and discuss the PoA with city Mayor Michael Gharakeshishyan. The Mayor has expressed his admiration in terms of comprehensiveness of PoA saying “We had many project towards resilience and disaster risk reduction, but we have never implemented such comprehensive project with such powerful partnership consortium”. At the end of meeting city Mayor expressed his willingness to cooperate and contribute to project activities. On June 3-4 official meeting has been organized in order to present and discuss final PoA among all partners and relevant stakeholders. Moreover the PoA has been accepted by the city Mayor at the end of meeting. The PoA is very multi-sectoral, consisting activities in different levels and spheres, such as Education, DRR, Legal framework, Economy, Ecology, etc… After finalization of PoA, ARCS started the prioritization process of defined activities, to understand which are the most priority activities that will be possible to implement using the Project resources. As it was mentioned, in Stepanavan city HVCA has been already conducted within consortium efforts through World Vision Armenia funding. So, ARCS Project team, based on HVCA results and Resilience Action Plan prioritized 2 main directions.
First is establishing and equipping crisis coordination centre in ARCS Stepanavan branch, which according to preliminary discussions will be used as a coordination centre for Stepanavan municipality, in case of disasters, as well. Also the Centre will be used as a training room with scenario based desk exercises, to be used for RC staff and volunteers, CVDRTs and other stakeholders.
Second is kindergarten renovation in the city, where German RC already approached ARCS to unite efforts for supporting city kinder garden. Meantime it is worth to mention that the kinder garden was built by German RC after devastating earthquake in 1988.
It is important to note that this is the first time, that such a big amount of organizations gathered together and developed joint PoA that satisfied all of them. And it will be a big experience for consortium partners for implementation of joint projects in the future.