Appropriate financial planning, budget management and appropriate investment strategies are essential for households in crisis situations, especially in rural areas. The COVID-19 pandemic has a particularly detrimental impact on people who are already marginalized in such regions. Therefore, German Sparkassenstiftung (DSIK) is launching green finance projects in Armenia and Azerbaijan - parallel to the ECOServe regional project.
DSIK’s project supports farmers and rural households in Armenia and Azerbaijan with needs-based training. The improvement of financial competence and entrepreneurial skills are the main objectives - especially in relation to the sustainable use of the country’s natural resources.
In Armenia, the focus is on promoting energy-efficient action and thinking at household level in combination with sustainable budget management. The target group are poor households from rural areas of Armenia. Especially in the cold season, poorer households rely upon their profits and retained savings from economic activities from the summer months and autumn harvests. Energy-efficient investments to reduce spending on energy and natural resources are an important factor in household management and environmental protection.
More than 3000 beneficiaries will be reached through a high number of trainings in different rural regions of Armenia. The trainings focus on are knowledge and skills for basic financial education, budget management and awareness-raising about environmental protection and sustainability. To aid the participants DSIK has developed a specific calculation tool, which will enable them to recognize opportunities to increase their household’s energy efficiency.
In Azerbaijan the trainings focus on financial education and business plan development for smallholder farmers and their families in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. 100 smallholder farmers from the Kurdamir region will be trained in operational planning, financial management and accounting to increase their businesses’ resilience to external shocks.
This includes proven methods like DSIK’s Savings Game and Micro Business Game as well as business plan development for farmers and capacity building for government authorities (e.g., Ministry of Agriculture). These measures will not only improve the sustainable use of natural resources, help with the COVID-19 crisis management, but also open up access to e-commerce as a new business opportunity during the pandemic and beyond.
The ECOServe regional project aims to improve the conditions for sustainable and biodiversity-friendly use of natural resources in the predominant land-use systems in the South Caucasus. Special emphasis is given on the supply, management and usage of energy by and for the rural population. The aim is to use sustainable approaches to create a balance between the usage and conservation of natural resources and thus to promote biodiversity and climate protection. The regional project ECOserve of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is carried out on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and co-financed by the European Union.
German Sparkassenstiftung’s project in Armenia and Azerbaijan will run until mid-May 2022.