“Skills, Knowledge and Intermediation Development” Project Partners Meeting

On November 12-13, 2021, the partners meeting took place within the framework of the “Skills, Knowledge and Intermediation Development” pilot project implemented by Strategic Development Agency (SDA) NGO with the participation of representatives from the Project’s partner institutions; Armenian National Agrarian University, Unified Social Service of Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of RA, Armenian Hikers Association, Cheese Makers’ Union of Armenia, Armenian Tourism Federation, and Links Technologies.

The “Skills, Knowledge and Intermediation Development” pilot project is implemented by Strategic Development Agency (SDA) NGO in the framework of #RECONOMY – a regional inclusive and green economic development program of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), implemented by HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation. The aim of the Project is to support unemployed women and youth as well as other disadvantaged and excluded groups to improve their (self)employability through enhanced capacities and incentives of skills and knowledge providers and employers to collaborate, develop and offer improved, relevant, demand-driven non-formal training courses in the field of tourism/hospitality and agriculture/agribusiness in the Republic of Armenia.

During the meeting, each partner presented the activities done in the framework of the project, the challenges they faced during the COVID-19 Pandemic period and what was the actual solutions for overcoming them. Participants presented upcoming events and activities with the further discussion on the effective cooperation among each other.

The meeting was also marked by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with new partners.

As a result of the two-day meeting, the Project partners came up with long-term recommendations, as well as worked out the roadmap for further activities.

 

The official opening of Balahovit’s training center for diary masters

In the framework of the “Skills, Knowledge and Intermediation Development” pilot project, the official opening ceremony of the “Balahovit” Teaching-Experimental Farm Training Center for Dairy Masters of Armenian National Agrarian University took place on November 9, 2021, in Kotayk Marz, village Balahovit.

SDA together with Armenian National Agrarian University renovated and furnished the building. It is equipped with up to date milk and dairy production laboratory and technologies and the Centre is ready to provide youth with an opportunity not only to master the gained theoretical knowledge during the practical part of the course, but while staying at the Centre during the whole period of the training course, they will participate in the whole production processes of cheesemaking starting from milk collection to cheese tasting produced by themselves.

The “Skills, Knowledge and Intermediation Development” pilot project is implemented by Strategic Development Agency (SDA) NGO in the framework of #RECONOMY – a regional inclusive and green economic development program of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), implemented by HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation.

“Hiking Tourism” 4-day training held in Tavush Marz, Gosh village

On November 1-4, four-day “Hiking Tourism” training developed and organized by the Armenian Hikers Association in frames of the “Skills, Knowledge and Intermediation Development” pilot project, was held in Vayots Dzor region.

The “Skills, Knowledge and Intermediation Development” pilot project is implemented by Strategic Development Agency (SDA) NGO in the framework of #RECONOMY – a regional inclusive and green economic development program of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), implemented by HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation.

The “Hiking Tourism” training module combines theoretical and practical methods ensuring the effective assimilation of delivered material. The training aims to equip the participants with practical knowledge contributing to the self-sufficiency of tourism industry employees and (self)employability improvement in the village with high tourism potential.

The special guests of the training with years of experience in the field were Edgar Navasardyan, Director of “AS Tour Club”, and Gevorg Avetisyan, Director of “VANATUN” hotel who shared their experience, practical advice with the participants and answered all the questions.

As a result of the four-day training, the participants got acquainted with the main trends in hiking tourism, popular applications, and all safety measures. On the last day of the training, a hiking trip to Lake Gosh was organized. The participants practically used the acquired knowledge through the trip, getting an in-depth understanding of the rules of leading a hike and ensuring the safety of the group. 

 

«Diligence as a boost to prosperity»

Dustrik Galstyan, a 51-year-old farmer, lives in the settlement of Artavan of Zaritap community, Vayots Dzor region, with her son and sister-in-law. Dustrik never cease to develop and improve herself despite her many responsibilites within her family.

Within the framework of the project implemented by the Strategic Development Agency NGO, Dustrik, along with other women, received professional consultations, which helped her improve her knowledge on farm management.

With the support of the program, she participated in various agricultural food festivals, which provided an opportunity to not only generate additional income, but also to gain trust, information and exchange experience.

«I have always been involved in cattle breeding as a way of helping my husband. And now thanks to the workshops, I have gained the knowedge necessary and apply 80% of the consultations to the procedures. I even do monthly calculations, I calculate expenses and incomes, I take notes. Before participating in the program, I had 12 cattle, of which 5 were dairy cows, today I have increased that number to 22, of which 10 are dairy cows,” says Dustrik.

«Only diligence and aspiration bring results. If you increase the number of cattle, you automatically increase the number of profit. As a result of my work, my family’s budget increased, I was able to host a big wedding for my daughters. Courage is half the battle, I say from my experience, because thanks to my courage I was able to achieve many challenges  and I will still achieve them. In addition to cattle breeding, I am engaged in agro-tourism, through which I introduce my guests to rural life and traditions.

Livestock is an integral part of tourism, the tourists that I host usually participate in the milking process, animal feeding and baking. They appreciate the opportunity to use traditional rural products».

Passion is the Key to Success

The Kurghinyan family of 5 lives in Shirak marze’s Krasar village. The family is mainly involved in the livestock sector, never having the need to leave the country and work abroad. The youngsters of the family, after graduating school, have started helping their parents in the farm.

The family has been working in cattle breeding for a while. During the first period, the family owned 6 cows, however after the fall of the Soviet Union, they decided to increase the number of livestock.

«We renovated my husband’s grandfather’s old barns, and we increased the number of livestock. We brought a number of livestock and after getting informed about the Project we decided to apply, as we met the requirements» – Hasmik told.

The family gives the milk produced in the farm to Amasia cheese factory. It is essential to mention, that Amasia cheese factory is a beneficiary to the Project «Livestock Development in Armenia: South-North», for this exact reason, the latter has invited the family to a number of meetings. «We appreciated the fact that the Project supports farmers. We are also aware, that within the framework of the Project, a number of veterinary points were created in different communities. The establishment of veterinary points ameliorated the access to quality veterinary services, the veterinarian is now more accessible and the necessary medicine is more affordable»

Mrs Kurghinyan’s husband, on several occasions, has participated to the educational workshops organized by SDA NGO. Improvement of infrastructure (improvement of pastures, installation of troughs) enabled more success in the livestock sector. The family’s plans include the organization of an automated manure removal system. Taking advantage of the effectiveness of the training, the family even expressed a desire to grow the farm. In Hasmik’s words: «If you do any work with passion, you will definitely succeed. If you do it reluctantly then, you will not succeed in that work».