The Advanced Rural Development Initiative (ARDI) aims to increase rural employment by tackling constraints to rural economic development of select rural communities in the Syunik, Vayots Dzor and Lori marzes (provinces) of Armenia. The program supports interventions in three main rural economic sectors — Value Chains involving Dairy Processing, Fruit Processing and Rural Tourism.
In 2014 ARDI planned and implemented a number of activities. The first step was Community Competitiveness Assessments (CCA) for target communities. In 2014 the assessments were conducted in seven communities in Syunik region. While in Lori and Vayots Dzor regions these were completed in 2013. Following the CCA, value chains were analyzed for each cluster community in Lori and Vayots Dzor regions and the same analyses will be done for Syunik clusters in 2015.
Rural Tourism Value Chain: Shatin and Dsegh communities were targeted for their high potential in Rural Tourism. Interventions included establishing B&Bs as well as training interested community members in Rural Tourism Development in both communities. Three B&B projects were renovated and furnished in Shatin, and 5 are currently in selection process in Dsegh to renovate in 2015. During a four-day training session, over 30 participants in each community attended and learned how to develop their businesses and manage them effectively.
Fruit Processing Value Chain: From Lori region Mets Ayrum and Shnogh and from Vayots Dzor region Areni and Arpi clusters were targeted for their high potential in Fruit Value Chain. The good climate and rich soil provide perfect conditions for fruit production in these areas. For these four communities were renovated the communities irrigation water systems as well as developed proposals to build Fruit cold storages in 2015.
In all implemented interventions project participants shared the cost of program which increases the level of responsibility and ownership of communities over program outcomes.
Dairy Processing Value Chain: From Lori region Debed and Ahnidzor and from Vayots Ddzor region Gndevaz, Karaglukh and Zaritap clusters were targeted for their high potential in Dairy Value Chain. The program developed proposals to establish Milk cooling unites in these five communities in 2015.
In Lori region for the target communities, series of entrepreneurship training was conducted to promote economic development. The program will grant $1,500 to 50 successful applicants mostly women and youth to start or enhance their businesses in 2015.
The expected results of completed 2014 projects are: per B&B to host 180 guests and cumulate revenue of $3,150 in average annually, 316 ha land will be irrigated and cultivated and 796 families will benefit four irrigation projects combined.
Vahe Sardaryan, Chief of Party of Advanced Rural Development Initiative program of Fuller Center for Housing Armenia said: “Rural communities very often have untapped economic growth potential in the form of resources, knowledge, skills, ability and market opportunities. It is crucial to analyze the competitive advantages existent in rural communities, the status quo and find solutions for the gaps hampering the development. Such holistic approach combined with the community engagement will result in enhanced community economic development and ownership. With the help of our generous donor — USAID, our program works towards increasing the rural employment by tackling current constraints of economic development in selected cluster communities.”
“ARDI program is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of ARDI and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government."