Summer Training Project Report on Reliance Money - PDF

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   Introduction                                                                        Vision
                                                                                         To become reliable partner for vulnerable rural communities in their endeavor to create better life.
    2007 was the last year of the three-year program that Shen NGO has been imple-
menting since 2005. As you will see in this report, the number of projects and the     Mission
geography of their implementation provide evidence that this year, like the previous
                                                                                          Shen promotes social and economic development and empowerment of remote and vulnerable commu-
one, was productive for the rural population and our beneficiaries.
                                                                                       nities of Armenia with active involvement of community members. Through transferring new knowledge
    During the last six months of the program, parallel to the everyday implementa-    and skills, creation of employment, improvement of community infrastructures, promotion of community
tion activities, Shen members and regional representatives provided with need-based    organizations, we strive to make those communities attractive for life and work.
proposals, which Shen board developed into a new 2008-2010 program which, after
being approved by the general meeting of the organization, was submitted to the
coalition of donors.                                                                   Partners
    The major achievement of this year was the wide implementation of integrated
community development model in beneficiary communities. The projects imple-               EED, Germany
mented in the villages particularly during the last period of the program show that
implementation of this model allows to use financial and human resources effectively       ICCO, the Netherlands
and achieve sustainability.
    The integrated development of a vulnerable community or a group of communi-          EPER, Switzerland
ties, means systemized solution of social, economic, environmental, spiritual issues
which eventually becomesthe cornerstone of their self-reliance.                          Shen-France, France
    This year Shen continued cooperation with specialized local and international
organizations which has considerably increased the effectiveness of work. During the      KASA/Armenianos, Switzerland
coming three years, we intend to further deepen cooperation with organizations spe-
cializing in environmental, legal and health issues.
                                                                                         COAF, USA
    We are encouraged even by the small decrease of the number of economic mi-
grants and their desire to create a decent living on their own land.
                                                                                         ACDI/VOCA, USA

   Shen Board

                                           New Strategy in Establishment of Orchards

                                            After passing a considerable road, Shen casts an evaluating glance backwards at the way it has covered, analyzes
                                        it and defines future directions of its activities. In the result of such evaluation, it was decided to review the strategy
                                        of establishing new fruit orchards on barren idle lands. Since 1999, establishment of orchards on unused reserve
                                        lands was an important part of Shen’s activity. Local community foundations were responsible for their administra-
                                        tion on the condition that the profits were used only for the needs of the community.

                                           However, as the time passed, more favorable conditions were created for fostering rural entrepreneurship, and
                                        Shen deemed it expedient to support individual farmers who have determination but do not have enough means
                                        for establishing orchards on poor lands. One can still find land plots in Armenia which are not cultivated because
                                        of their being extremely poor, and lack of irrigation. In those communities where there is potential for develop-
                                        ing private agriculture Shen provides support by ameliorating barren and poor lands and rehabilitating irrigation


   Lernagog                                                                                   Ayrum
    The community of Lernagog is the only one in Armenia where land was not priva-             Because of absence of irrigation water, more than 100 ha of land in Ayrum com-
tized simply because there was no land suitable for agricultural production. Local         munity of Lori region was not being cultivated. As the natural conditions of the area
farmers did not afford       huge resources that were needed for cultivating rocky soil     are favorable for growing fruits and vegetables, Shen met the request of 47 local
that surround the village. Shen undertook the difficult job of improving the soil. But       farmers and rehabilitated the irrigation system. Thanks to it, 70 ha of additional land
there was a condition: The improved land should be privatized to the local population      is cultivated. Encouraged by this, other farmers too decided to plant orchards. Cur-
at the ratio of 0.5 hectares per family. This year, 50 ha of soil got rid of rocks after   rently 98 ha of land is irrigated, part of it is also improved and prepared for planting.
which the land was tilled. It is planned to improve another 50 ha. In near future,         Along with 35 ha of fruit trees, other plants such as grapes, sunflower, corn, beans,
The MCA Armenia is going to repair the main canal after which, upon suggestion of          melon and watermelon are also planted.
Shen, one branch of it will be directed towards the newly improved lands. Shen also
urged and financed the territorial unit of Cadastre to make necessary measurements
and prepare the land for auctioning. It is planned that 200 families of Lernagog will         Shenik
obtain new land plots.
                                                                                              Irrigation was made possible in Shenik community too, which is in Aragatsotn
                                                                                           region. This will allow to cultivate reserve land that had never been cultivated. The
                                                                                           condition is the same: the improved reserve land must be privatized to local farmers.
                                                                                           The privatization process started in 2007, 25 farmers have started the process, 6 of
   Nor Yedessya                                                                            them have managed to complete it. The result will be 30 ha of orchards on former
                                                                                           barren land.
    Barren land surrounding Nor Yedessya of Aragatsotn region is also being im-
proved. The land belongs to 30 owners who cooperate with Shen in making the plots
fit for planting orchards. Shen agreed to construct an irrigation system while the
owners collected rocks and tilled the soil. 30 ha of land was made productive thanks
to this initiative. Shen is going to work with other land owners of the community for
making new soils productive.

   Noyemberyan sub-region                                                                    Seed Breeding is a Profitable Endeavor
    Shen financially supported four communities of the sub-region – Koti, Voskvan,            Vardenis-Chambarak sub-region is a high mountainous area and has traditionally
Voskepar, Baghanis to make contributions to the construction of a major irrigation        been center for potato production. According to experts this area has excellent cli-
system undertaken by IFAD. Shen also implements the monitoring of the project.            matic conditions for potato seed breeding as cold weather makes the plant robust and
The 32 km long irrigation pipeline will bring the water of the river Voskepar by grav-    resistant towards pests and diseases. This is the reason why Shen, along with solving
ity to irrigate more than 1000 ha of idle lands. After that the farmers will be able to   infrastructure rehabilitation and social issues, proposed local farmers to get involve
apply to Aniv fund for loans to establish orchards.                                       in potato seed breeding as income generation activity.
    This new strategy is already baring good fruits. The proof is new applications from      From the very beginning of the project, Shen involved the best specialists in the
farmers for collaboration in making idle lands productive.                                field to teach interested farmers to produce first generation potato seeds. Today, en-
                                                                                          couraged by the first success, the novice seed-breeders decided to join in an associa-
                                                                                          tion. Moreover, in order to expand their business, they got a loan from ECLOF credit
                                                                                          organization and are successfully repaying it.

   Handicraft is Reviving in Chambarak                                                       Bed and Breakfast at the Shore of the Lake Sevan
    The project designed for women from Chambarak and nearby villages aiming at               B&Bs that were created last year in Tsapatagh, Shorzha and Pambak villages
increasing income through embroidery training was successfully completed. It had          successfully operated during the summer months. Four families were involved in this
started in 2005 and can serve as a good example of project sustainability. A shop         business. The experience of the first year showed that letting rooms to tourists dur-
called "World of Threads" that opened on Shen’s money operates successfully and has       ing summer is profitable. Therefore, the owners of B&Bs strive to improve conditions
started to pay back Shen's debt.                                                          of the lodging, add more bathrooms. Other residents of the named villages are also
    However the biggest pride in Chambarak is the success of one of the young train-      encouraged to turn their houses into B&Bs thus duplicating the model invested by
ees of the projects – Hayarpi Zazyan. Her fantastic works were shown to the special-      Shen.
ists of the Museum of Popular Arts causing their admiration. The latter applied to
the Ministry of Culture for granting Hayarpi the title of Popular Master. Currently,
several other women that have passed embroidery training have represented their
works to the Ministry seeking Popular Master's title.

   Success Story
    Recently, the Ministry of Culture addressed the following letter to Shen.
    "The results of your embroidery training project implemented for women in
Chambarak of Gegharkunik region showed that there are many gifted women who
simply lack family traditions and training in handicraft. We think that it is pos-
sible to turn the sub-region into a center of national textile culture. The Ministry
of Culture’s Center for Popular Creativity and Handicrafts also plans to organize
embroidering training in Chambarak and organize exhibitions and fairs jointly with
its partner Centers in European countries for demonstrating and marketing of the
pieces. We request your cooperation in this."

   Several women who had passed embroidery training, currently train other wom-
en from the neighboring villages of Aygut, Dprabak, Barepat, Kalavan, Dzoravank,
Antaramej and receive fee for their services. This project is supported by the World
Council of Churches Armenia Round Table.

                                                                                       SOCIAL PROJECTS
Integrated Development Model in Gegharkunik Region                                                    Promotion of Organic Agriculture
    The region of Gegharkunik, particularly its Vardenis-Chambarak area remains one                 Shen continues its activities directed towards promotion of organic agriculture in Ar-
of the most vulnerable parts of Armenia. It is the third year that Shen implements an           menia. This year, the number of farmers producing organically hit 100. The assortment
integrated development project in that area combining infrastructure rehabilitation and         of organically produced fruits and vegetables increased, the geography of the farms ex-
development, social issues and promotion of entrepreneurship.                                   panded. Shen’s organic extension service continuously works with new farmers, produc-
    This year the Art School of Chambarak was provided with natural gas thanks to which         ers and processors to create as a complete production chain as possible. Our extension-
tens of gifted children did not have to stop classes during long winter months.                 ists improve effectiveness of their work by studying international practices and adopting
                                                                                                it to local conditions.
    Shen’s partner Young Lawyers’ Association has organized free legal consultancy in 20
villages of the area. Another partner, Apaven, has established a drug insurance scheme in           The organically produced food is sold in a special shop that is operated by Shen’s
5 ambulatories: interested people make payments each month in the newly created insur-          partner Organic Food Producers and Consumers Association and its business entity
ance fund which, in case of sickness, provides necessary drugs to the insured patient free of   –Amour Koriz. However, the marketing is not limited to this. During high season of
charge.                                                                                         harvesting, Shen and Amour Koriz organize fairs which promote direct contacts of
                                                                                                farmers with consumers.
                                                                                                    It is not a secret that organic farming entails costs. In order to minimize them, Shen
                                                                                                has united small holders into a group and is currently establishing a group internal con-
                                                                                                trol system based on European standards. That system will allow farmers to receive a
   Community Center in Torfavan                                                                 certificate for their products and sell them with an “organic” label.
   The reconstruction of Torfavan’s community center was finished in 2007. Now the
Center hosts the village council, two rooms for medical aid post, hall for events and
training center. The center is provided with furniture and equipment and is operat-
ing now. The roof of Norakert community center is also completed. In the villages of
Areguni and Torfavan dental cabinets are established. A licensed dentist has signed
an agreement with the village mayors for using the dental chairs and equipment. The
services they provide usually cost cheaper that in larger cities therefore they always
have clients.

      The Bordering Village Revives                                                           Success Story: New Approach in Accessibility of Health Care
    In 2007 Shen continued rehabilitation activities in the faraway bordering Yeghnajur
village of Shirak Region. This year, the infrastructures of the village have considerably        Shen and its sister organization Shen-France continue to support the ambulatory
improved. Namely, the drinking water system of the village was completely renovated.          of the village of Nerkin Bazmaberd of Aragatsotsn region. The ambulatory provides
Now all houses of the village have in-house plumbing.The electricity supply system has        primary health care to 6200 people of Nerkin Bazmaberd and surrounding villages.
also been repaired. New wires have been drawn from the local substation to the houses.        During previous years, in the frame of the World Bank project, the building of the am-
The roads inside the village, as well as the road connecting Yeghnajur to the neighbor-       bulatory was fully renovated, and Shen-France has provided medical equipment, furni-
ing village have been repaired too. The village streets are lit at nights, the surroundings   ture, medicine. This year conditions were created for implementing mutual insurance
of the chapel is fenced. During this year four 3-4 room houses were fully reconstructed       mechanism in the area.
with new roof, internal walls, plumbing, winterized windows.
                                                                                                 In summer, representatives from La Mutualitè Française and Shen-France arrived in
    Shen managed to complete the interior repair of the school of the village. The kitch-     Armenia to study possibilities of establishment of mutual insurance scheme in Nerkin
en, library and the gym were also renovated and furnished. Furniture was provided also        Bazmaberd. A three-year cooperation program was elaborated between Shen-France,
to those rooms which serve as bedrooms during summer camp. As in previous years, in           La Mutualitè Française and its Association Mutualitè du Monde, the General Council
2007 too more than 250 children from vulnerable families of Shirak region spent their         of Bouches-du-Rhône . The latter has committed to secures 20% of the funding of the
summer holidays in the camp. Shen has applied to the regional school administration           project, whereas the other 80 % provides the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
for re-opening the school as educational institution which will spare the children of the
village from making 2 km journey to the school of the next village.

                       In Communities and in Shen
                           Any work that is carried out in the communities is accompanied with multi-faceted train-
                       ings. The creation of Community Action Groups and their commitment to work is a key pre-
                       requisite for implementing a project in those communities where Shen starts with conducting
                       a comprehensive training on Community Development. Later on, depending upon the type
                       of the projected activity, specific customized training is organized for a larger number of com-
                       munity members referring to different fields such as construction, dripping irrigation, growing
                       and processing of fruits and vegetables, management, accounting, etc. Trainings continue
                       throughout the entire community work.

                           Training on production and processing of agricultural products.
                          A series of practical trainings were conducted during 2007 in Ayrum community of
                       Lori region. Participants learned advanced technologies on planting of various cultivars
                       and implementation of land treatment. Participant farmers were explained how to get
                       ready the raw material for processing, how to dry fruits to get a high quality output.
                       Also packaging and handling techniques were discussed.
                          A number of technological leaflets on various cultivars were prepared and distrib-
                       uted to the farmers, including peaches, plums, cherries, pears, grapes, tomato, pepper
                       beans. As practical work, the trainees tested drying some of the cultivars in the com-
                       munity’s solar dryer.
                          Based on the obtained knowledge, during the season of 2007, the farmers intensively
                       used the community’s solar dryer for processing peaches, plums and tomato. At the
                       end of the training series, participants organized tasting of the produced products with
                       degustation evaluation. | Community

Success Story: Education and Ecology                                                         Organizational development
    Environmental education remains a priority in Shen’s activities. This year schools       The development of Shen staff is a continuous process. We try to use all opportuni-
of Kotayk and Tavush regions joined Aragatsotn, Ararat, Armavir and Lori schools         ties for training, capacity development and obtaining new knowledge. In the frame of the
that were involved in the project during previous years. Gradually the number of         project “Development of Organic Farming”, three extension workers passed a training
secondary schools where ecology is instructed as an obligatory discipline in school      in Tbilisi on establishing and managing an internal control system in farmer groups.
program increases. This process was enhanced after Shen published a manual called            “Do No Harm”: this was the title of the seminar, funded by EED, that brought to-
“Environment and Ecology” in the frame of the project which the Ministry of Educa-       gether participants from Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan to discuss how humanitar-
tion recommended to schools to use it. The manual had a very good reception among        ian and development projects can contribute to promoting mutual tolerance, and respect
a large number of teachers both involved and not involved in the project. Many ap-       in the context of current conflicts.
plications for getting the book were received.                                               The first phase of Emergency Aid Preparedness was held in December. It was orga-
                                                                                         nized by the World Council of Churches Armenia Round Table on funding of Swiss
   Pupils of participant schools continue to manage their organic school gardens.        EPER agency. The training was held for ART partners so that they are informed about
They are also responsible for cleanness of the surroundings and cooperate with the       emergency situations and how to contribute to prevention of emergency situations and
local government for effectively managing waste in their communities.                     eliminating their aftermath. The training was held by the Crisis Management Academy
                                                                                         of the State Rescue Service. The following phases of the project will be held in 2008.
   This year, for the first time, the project introduced an advocacy element the aim          Shen also participated in a regional training on EU policies and funding organized by
of which is to support the transfer of the knowledge on environmental issues taught      APRODEV and EED, held in June in Tbilisi. | Shen
within the frame of the Education and Ecology project into the practical change in
behavioral patterns of school pupils in the target communities. | Community

     Community      Income generation projects   Social projects   Capacity development projects
1      Vaghatin                                         *
2      Brnakot                                          *
3       Argina                  *
4      Lusakn                   *                       *
5     Yeghnajur                                         *
6       Ayrum                                           *
7     Gandzkar                                          *
8      Torfavan                 *
9      Norakert                 *
10     Vardenis                 *
11   Mets Masrik                *
12    Shatavan                  *
13     Avazan                                           *
14     Shorzha                  *
15     Pambak                   *
16     Daranak                                          *
17     Shatjrek                                         *
18   Charentsavan                                       *
19      Shenik                  *
20    Karaberd                  *
21     Ashtarak                 *
22    Lernagog                  *
23   Nor Yedessia               *
24    Voskevan                  *
25    Voskepar                  *
26     Baghanis                 *
27       Koti                   *
28    Yeghvard                                                                   *
29    Nor geghi                                                                  *
30     Banavan                                                                   *
31      Argel                                                                    *
32    Karashamb                                                                  *
33    Teghenik                                                                   *
34   Nor Artamet                                                                 *
35     Nor Hajn                                                                  *
36    Mrgashen                                                                   *
37   Kanakeravan                                                                 *
38    Chambarak                                         *
39   N.Bazmaberd                                        *
110 Nalbandyan str., 0001 Yerevan, Armenia
Tel.: (+37410) 567031
Fax.: (+37410) 565619

Description: Summer Training Project Report on Reliance Money document sample