sustainable

Building Sustainable Livelihoods in Tavush

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Tavush has always been one of the most productive regions of Armenia in terms of agriculture. However, the country’s difficult transition to free market economy, geographical remoteness, poor roads and infrastructure severely affected the area’s agricultural development, resulting in widespread poverty. To build the capacity of rural communities to manage their assets and agricultural resources, as well as help them secure increased income Building Sustainable Livelihoods in Tavush (BSLT) project was set up in 2004 as a 3-year initiative funded by the European Union, World Vision Germany and World Vision Ireland. The project targets rural families and farmer associations in 40 communities located close to Armenian-Azeri border, on the highlands or remote areas, as well as refugees, internally displaced and landless people. The overall objective of BSLT project is to build the capacity of local farmer associations, businesses and community based organizations in promoting diversified and market-oriented agriculture as well as support off-farm income generating activities and community initiatives in infrastructure rehabilitation in order to improve people’s living conditions.
Communities often remain divided and inactive due to the lack of the necessary knowledge and skills to make any changes to their present situation. BSLT project supports business initiatives throughout Tavush to create jobs and conducts vocational training for the participants from rural communities. In mid-August 2006 Vocational Education and Training, a pilot project in Ijevan, Dilijan and Noyemberyan districts of Tavush marz, was launched in cooperation with BSLT and VET -Armenia project to provide communities with employable skills for their sustainable development. Over 195 participants from different communities of Tavush benefited from three months’ training. By the successful completion of the training course participants received state certificates that would enable them to find a job later on. A total of 55 members from 11 farmer associations participated in training of trainers with the topics ranging from bee keeping and animal husbandry to modern agricultural technologies. Training materials were developed and distributed to the participants to disseminate the knowledge among other farmers in their communities.The project also provides selected associations with assets and animals to promote and strengthen their abilities to produce and process agricultural products. Since the beginning of the project 6 demonstration farms have been already established with an emphasis on animal husbandry, a prevailing agricultural income source for the region. Within the scope of the BSLT project gravity based drinking water and irrigation systems have been newly installed or renovated in over 30 communities. Environmental projects have been initiated to raise awareness amongst the rural population and especially in village schools. These activities are coordinated with other projects implemented in the scope of Tavush Area Development Program, which helps to increase the whole impact of World Vision’s work in the region.

A usual school in Armenia becomes a center for making robots

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A usual school in Armenia becomes a center for making robots Almost 2 years ago World Vision Armenia, VivaCell MTS, Cronimet Charity Foundation, Counterpart International Armenia and Union of  Information Technologies Enterprises (UITE) implemented ArmRobotics program in Yerevan and regions of Armenia with an aim to develop and conduct robotics educational programs in schools and universities. Talin’s high school is also involved in the program and represents Aragatsotn region. School has won several championships in frames of robotics and robot making up to day, however the beginning was not promising. – Students were not interested in the program, and those that were joining it, were coming mainly because of fun and games, but now they don’t play games here, they create games,- proudly says Yeghishe Amiryan, lead of robotics club.

The robots are being created on a LEGO basis, they accept simple commands: differentiate black and white colors, go straight, turn right or left, etc.  These simple exercises  are very exciting for robotics club members. Students usually come with unclear image about their future careers, but It has been already 1.5 months that I am a member of Robotics Club in Talin, but I already know how to create simple games, and even give commands to robots. My dream is to become a good programmer,- says 14 years old Gevorg. Membership of the club is absolutely for free, no mathematical or physics background is required, however there are some age limits (10-18) and lack of resources. Currently Talin’s Robotics Club  has only 4 LEGO packages, which is obviously not enough for larger groups, that’s why a group of students willing to learn are in the waiting list.

The leader of the group provides the classes on a voluntary basis. – As a physician I am very much interested in the development of the IT field in Armenia, particularly in regions of the country. There are lots of smart youth in the regions, who don’t have opportunities, but they  want to study, want to know more, and I want to give them the knowledge and methods, – says  Yeghishe Amiryan.  – Science and technology are extremely popular with today’s youth. They are also a pathway to career opportunities in the future. It is essential to start working with students from school, especially in regions, where students don’t have the opportunities to practice their knowledge,- says Gayane Simonyan, World Vision Armenia Talin Program specialist.