January 31, 2008

The Caucasus Research Resource Centers Presents the Data Initiative 2007 Survey

On January 30th (at 11:00 AM in the Ballroom of Congress Hotel, 1 Italy Street) the Caucasus Research Resource Centers presented results from the Data Initiative (DI) 2007 survey, which represents the 4th wave of information gathered via 300 questions addressed to adults from over 8000 households randomly selected in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

The CRRC DI survey provides a unique opportunity to follow the socioeconomic, demographic and political developments during the last 4 years. The dataset also allows analysts to make parallels between the three countries of the South Caucasus and the developments between rural and urban areas within each country. It also sheds light on migration patterns in the region by providing comprehensive information on both returned migrants and migrants residing abroad.
Relevant to the current Armenian political environment, the dataset provides new insights into Armenian political attitudes. About half of the respondents in Armenia say they are “not interested” or “hardly interested” in national politics. Of those who are interested in politics, 36% stated that “quite often” or “always” national politics seems too complicated to understand. Moreover, only 38.6% of those who are interested in national politics claimed that national politics was going in the right direction. According to DI 2007 data, 42% of the respondents in Armenia trust the President, 19% - the National Assembly and 27% - the Government. In the meantime, only 17% of the respondents in Yerevan trust the Government (vs. 12.3% in 2006), while more people in other cities and rural areas trust the Government (26% and 36% correspondingly). It is also worth noting that about 36% of the respondents in Armenia answered that they have little control over their life, while in Georgia (21%) and Azerbaijan (30%) think so.
The data also gives insights into converging and diverging social values across the Caucasus. In all three countries hard work and a feeling of responsibility are among the three most valued qualities that both male and female children should be brought up with. The third most wanted characteristic for male children in Georgia and Azerbaijan is independence (61% and 66%, respectively), while in Armenia it is tolerance and respect to other people (70%). The third most important characteristic for female children is modesty for the respondents in Armenia (75%) and religious faith for those in Georgia (56%), and thrift - in Azerbaijan (49%).

In terms of labor market development, in Yerevan, 35.3% mentioned personal networking as the most important factor for obtaining a good job, while the respondents from other cities and rural areas ranked education as most important. Meanwhile, the survey revealed that 54% of Armenian respondents did not speak any other foreign language but Russian; only 21% have some computer skills, and only 14% are able to use Internet and e-mail. Marked differences also appear between Yerevan and the regions.

The CRRC DI survey databases and the supporting documents are freely available for all those interested in in-depth analysis and in advancing social research and public policy at www.crrccenters.org.

Photos by Nazik Armenakyan

January 23, 2008

MCA -Armenia One Year Later: Progress, Challenges and Next Steps

CRRC-Armenia jointly with Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)-Armenia held a round-table on MCA -Armenia One Year Later: Progress, Challenges and Next Steps on January 22, 2008 at CRRC-Armenia premises. The discussion was facilitated by MCA-Armenia key staff members Chief Executive Officer, Ara Hovsepyan, Project Officer, Anahit Petrosyan and Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Ester Hakobyan.

The round table was widely attended by public. More than 30 representatives from different organizations including Oxfam, National Statistical Service, DFID, YSU, USAID Water program, IMF, UNDP Armenia, Japonica Intersect, Cascade Capital Holdings, Institute of Labour and Social Research took part in the event.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is believed to be the most successful new international development aid strategy of Bush administration. The mission of the Millennium Challenge Corporation is to reduce poverty to economic growth. Armenia is one of 16 countries which is eligible to receive assistance from MCC. The economic rates of return of each of the MCA-Armenia activities is 12.5%, the average real growth rate for the past three years, while the overall economic rate of return is estimated at 25%.

The round table was specifically targeted to the research community and covered the topics about current status of the different aspects of the program and its future direction, as well as the role of the economic analyses on determining the scope of the program during its development and throughout the implementation. The linkages between economic analyses and monitoring indicators and the impact of the country’s economic situation on the scope of the program were also addressed.

Additionally, the presentation provided information on the surveys/ studies currently undertaken by MCA-Armenia and highlighted upcoming opportunities of interest to the research community, including new procurements as well as forums and formats for sharing into any methodology and analyses generated through the program.

The participants had a unique chance to address their questions and suggestions regarding Armenia socio-economics developments and MCA-Armenia activities directly to the MCA-Armenia staff members. Questions touched upon the subjects of procurement procedure, resource sharing and future cooperation.

For more information on MCA-Armenia please visit www.mca.am