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Small Projects Target Poorest, Most Isolated Armenians

Last Updated: October 2010
IDA at Work: Community - Small Projects Target Poorest, Most Isolated Armenians


When the Armenian Social Investment Fund (ASIF) was created in 1996, local government structure was weak and unable to fund small-scale projects in remote or high-risk areas. The 1998 earthquake and transition from communism left behind broken networks, damaged or decrepit infrastructure and hit hard Armenia’s poorest populations.


- Community involved in selecting priority micro-projects.
- Grant money channeled through the Fund goes to local governments, community organizations and NGOs to rehabilitate basic infrastructure.
- Small projects target most needy communities in quick, cost-effective manner.
- Social Investment Fund is an autonomous agency reporting to the ASIF Board chaired by Prime Minister of Armenia.


The Armenian Social Investment Fund’s more than 767 micro-infrastructure projects have contributed to the drop in the country’s poverty rate and helped bolster Armenia’s decentralization plans.

- Comprehensive municipal training offered by the Fund helped both the government and the public gain a better understanding of the fundamentals of participation, project management, and accountability. Trained 1,800 mayors, 200 school accountants, and 250 school board members. 515 Financial officers were trained in Municipal Financial Management in 2009-2010.
- 767 community infrastructure projects -- from heating schools to building community centers, providing potable water to improving irrigation -- in communities largely overlooked by economic growth. Complemented government’s goals and programs in these sectors.
- 388 schools rehabilitated or newly constructed in the country, of which 133 in the earthquake zone. Single largest contribution to the government’s earthquake recovery program.
- Water supply services rehabilitated or constructed in 130 villages. Helped increase access to safe drinking water in rural communities from 65 percent in 1998-99 to 75 percent in 2010.
- Poverty rate in Armenia dropped from 56.1 percent in 1998-99 to 28 percent in 2009.
- High degree of beneficiary satisfaction in the quality of projects completed, construction works performed by contractors, and level of service received from ASIF staff.


- Prolonged support: 1996-2012.
- Contributed US$32 million for the first two projects (ASIF I1996-2000; ASIF II 2000-2006). US$25 million provided for ASIF III, with another US$8 million provided in the form of Additional Financing.
- Project design included a two-stage poverty-targeting strategy and a regional allocation mechanism to mitigate political pressures in funding.
- Empowered the poor. Projects linked local communities to civil society and local governments. IDA’s convening power was particularly helpful in building partnerships between the government and the donor community as well as facilitating participation by local communities in this initiative.


- For ASIF I: government provided US$1 million, private sponsors US$2 million, local communities $2.5 million, and the Netherlands and UK a combined US$2.5 million.
- For ASIF II: government provided US$1.43 million, private sponsors US$2.71 million, local communities $US2 million, and the Netherlands and UK a combined US$2 million.
- ASIF III: government US$6.67 million, private sponsors US$0.13 million, and local communities US$1.5 million. ASIF III Additional Financing 1 and 2: government US$2.8 million and local communities US$1.1 million.

Next Steps

- ASIF III with Additional Financing 1 and 2 to ASIF III (2006-2012) will build on the foundation created by ASIF I and II
- Basic financial management training will be provided at the municipal level, complementing the work of the World Bank’s Public Sector Modernization Project.
- Micro-projects will be targeted where infrastructure gaps are the most acute in rural and remote communities.
- Additional capacity building for local government will ensure sustainability of facilities rehabilitated or constructed by ASIF and further decentralization.
- Strengthened monitoring and evaluation framework.

Learn More

Armenian Social Investment Fund Projects I, II and III (1996-2000; 2000-2006; 2007-2012)
Project documents I, II, III | Feature story | Text-only factsheet

For more information, please visit the Projects website.

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