December 19, 2018թ․
On 19th of December Gyumri Youth Palace kindly hosted our 2nd consecutive forum, entitled “10 years of activity in rural communities of Shirak region” with focus on gained experience, reached outcomes and future perspectives. Its purpose was to summarize our work in 12 rural communities of Shirak region for the past 10 years and to discuss the results, as well as current and future plans.
Bringing 10 years of experience in the development of rural communities, Mrs. Markosyan explained: “There have been some moments during the past years when we were desperate to think that nothing could happen, that we were alone in our desires, perhaps we were not doing what people should do in these places, because we did not often seen neither enthusiasm, nor the same grade of motivation as the one we were bringing. Nevertheless, today everything is different. Fortunately a lot has changed in people’s consciousness, in the community members’ active participation in project ideas. Sometimes the passions are even intensifying when planning priorities, but eventually, we always manage to come to an agreement. People learn how to work together, to raise their problems, to engage in voluntary activities. Step by step, they understand how to invest money for the sake of the entire community, really for everyone, and not just to do some small private affairs. Developing the understanding of how to pay in their own community to create community-based funds, they collectively learn to jointly determine their community budget and accept the responsibility of being accountable for their use. Trust me, their success is the highest recognition for our work.”
Since 2014, 8 rural communities in Shirak marz have been implementing small grants programs for 46 social, business and youth initiatives. Under the regulations elaborated for grant programs, a minimum of 10% of the local government’s financial input was a mandatory component for each project. Fundraising and voluntary work among community members has also been greatly stimulated. The latter has played an important role in shaping new culture in communities. Already 27 projects were implemented in beneficiary communities during the last cycle (April 2017 – December 2018) with total budget of 15,964,354 AMD, including our contribution of 12,750,360 AMD, the community’s financial contribution: 2,761,994 AMD, and 452,000 AMD, gathered thanks to community-wide fundraisers.
During the event beneficiary community members presented their projects, achievements, touched upon difficulties faced during project implementation, and shared their vision for future programs. Additionally, most promising business projects, developed in frames of a cooperation between WFD NGO and Finance in Motion, were presented and awarded with small grants. Selected jury has approved projects, among them Bed & Breakfast establishment, bee keeping, bakery, greenhouse, enabling rural entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into profitable business within their community.
The local Shirak Public TV has also prepared the video about the Forum:
You can download the photos of the Forum here
Financed Business Projects
Family Guest House in Megrashat
Five most feasible and promising business plans have been born and established as a result of the project “How to Start Your Own Business in Armenia, Business Plan Designing”. It was a joint initiative of Women for Development NGO and the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE). As a result of the selection and the related small funding, the fresh ideas have already been launched, allowing rural entrepreneurs to turn their vision into income-generating business.
One of the awarded projects for business development in a rural Shirak area, consists in renovation and furnishment of a family-run guesthouse in Meghrashat, which promises to make a visit at the village memorable, authentic and comfortable.
The Granny’s House – Family Guest House in Meghrashat has already been put on the virtual map of Facebook for presentation and popularization purposes. Information about the guesthouse will soon be available in other social networks as well. https://web.facebook.com/GuesthouseinMeghrashat/
Another business idea, funded by Women for Development NGO and European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) consists in the establishment of small pastry shop in Tsoghamarg community. The idea was presented by Elizabeth Mkrtchyan, a resident of the village herself, with the aim to provide fresh and affordable pastry to all community members.
Within the framework of the project, all necessary equipment and accessories for the production of pastries have been obtained. The program also includes a series of cooking classes in Gyumri, which has already begun.
Elizabeth is optimistic and convinced that her home-based business will be expanded in the future, leading to positive changes for both her family and the entire community.
A personal Facebook page, entitled Lilit Pastry Shop, already operates to promote the services and will soon accept orders. Check it out! https://web.facebook.com/Lilit-cakes-336873113578006/?modal=admin_todo_tour
Pedagogue Karen Voskanyan is from Meghrashat village, located in Shirak province. He is teaching at a local school and, parallelly, engaging in his passion – beekeeping. Karen inherited this love from his family, in which long year tradition of beekeeping has been passed through the generations. For already many years, beekeeping has been Karen´s hobby and, additionally, a safe way to provide the family with honey. Now he aims to dive deeper into the beekeeping process and turn his favorite leisure activity into profitable business.
This was the reason why Karen decided to participate in business training cycle, organized by us, and develop the business idea of “Honeybee Meghrashat”. According to Karen, the name of the village itself suggests the advantages of its geographical location, offering great source of raw material for honey. He is convinced that, thanks to the project, he will be able to increase the volume of ecologically clean and pure honey produced by him, and increase his competitiveness in the market.
Within the framework of the joint project of “Women for Development” NGO and European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), Karen Voskanyan’s project has been financed, which lead to him obtaining 6 additional beehives, all of which will support the striving entrepreneurs to realize his idea.
Greenhouses in Arpeni and Voghji communities
Following 2 business projects, funded by Women for Development NGO and European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), aim at establishing greenhouses respectively in Arpeni and Meghrashat communities. The project proposals were developed by these active women who, after participating in business our trainings, decided to try their best and start own small family businesses.
According to Gohar Gevorgyan and Anna Khachaturyan, growing vegetables and greens in winter will not only cover their own family needs, but also provide their communities. Especially considering the fact that the vegetables, which can currently be bought from mobile merchants in these communities, are usually not fresh any more by the time the are offered there, not to mention that they are, in additional, overpriced, both women assure that can offer buyers competitive and ecologically clean products right away from the greenhouse.
What is more, residents of the community won’t need to get to travel to the city to buy vegetables and spend valuable money and time in vane.
It is envisaged to build two greenhouses with a polyethylene two-layer film with a surface area of 50m2 and 100m2, for which all the necessary building materials have already been obtained.
Once winter is over and the days get warmer, the construction of greenhouses will begin.