On 13-14 September 2016, within the framework of project ‘Support to Migration and Border Management in Armenia’ (MIBMA), 16 journalists from various national and local media outlets took part in a two-day media tour to Syunik region to investigate and report on the impact of migration among communities and families. The journalists visited Gorhayk, Sarnakunk, Shaki and Khndzoresk villages and Goris town.

The journalists met with the heads of the villages, representatives of local administration, the head of Employment Centre of Goris, and, of course, the local population. The level of external labour migration from Syunik is not as high when compared to other communities due to opportunies in mining and tourism industries. However, internal migration is a factor as many people leave for Yerevan or Nagorno-Karabakh in search of employment opportunities.

Unemployment remains a large push factor, where government-led labour schemes try to curb its impact. One of these examples is the work of the Employment Centre in Goris, which has 1.200 registered unemployed persons. The Centre implements a project to provide funds to employers that exclusively employ persons from vulnerable groups, including refugees and returned migrants. The Centre allocates 200.000 AMD per person to incentivise the employer to provide employment to a person for one year. This year the Center supported 20 people from vulnerable groups.

Another topic of discussion for the local administration bodies was the consolidation of communities and its consequences for the villages. After consolidation, a number of villages will be managed by one administrative body. As a consequence, there is concern that funds allocated to the consortium of villages will not be spent equally, leading to further flow internal migration.

The collected materials will be broadcasted and published in local and national media. The journalists will present their materials for the “Suitcase 2016” annual journalism contest on migration and border management issues, which will take place in December 2018.

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