by Nane Vardanyan

COAF’s 17-years’ on-the-ground experience in the villages of Armenia has become a manual of rural development with a variety of community development projects with their best practices and lessons learned. Our work bears fruit twofold when we put our heads together, combining efforts with people and organizations that are like-minded.

On October 2, COAF’s 2nd Annual Conference on Advancement of Rural Communities (CARC) 2021 brought together over 170 people from local and international organizations implementing rural advancement programs, state and local authorities, local and international experts, as well as private entrepreneurs to share their experience and expertise in the sphere of rural advancement, come up with new solutions, and build partnerships.

The first such conference initiated by COAF took place back in 2019. This time again, the conference was initiated by COAF and co-organized by the European Union in Armenia, the United Nations Development Programme in Armenia, and for the first time, the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure of Armenia. It took place at the COAF SMART Center and in the newly-opened Gradarak Debet library in Lori’s Debet village.

The conference featured panel discussions on four topics: smart governance, social recovery, green agriculture, and resilient jobs. Here are the main takeaways from each session:

Smart governance: innovative management models (discussion led by Naira Margaryan)

  • Smart governance as a basis for good governance is applicable in almost all areas.

Resilient jobs: entrepreneurship, niche tourism (discussion led by Jesus Lazano)

  • No entity or individual can act alone in bringing progress and development to rural communities.

Green future for agriculture (discussion led by Irina Ghaplanyan)

  • The suggested solutions and mechanics to make Armenia’s agriculture greener include:

Social recovery as a prerequisite for community development (discussion led by Nazareth Seferian)

  • Social recovery was considered in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and post-war situation in Armenia: its role in the rural communities’ rehabilitation and development.

The event also included an expo, where 40 rural entrepreneurs and organizations from all regions of Armenia and Artsakh presented their products and services to local and international visitors.

Last but not least, CARC 2021 concluded with the beautiful songs of Komitas played by a saxophone quartet.

See you next year!

Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) is a non-profit organization that employs community-led approaches aimed at improving the quality of life in rural Armenia.