18 July 2014
July 16 of 2014 marked the opening ceremony of a computer center in Zorakan community of Tavush region. General Director of Orange Armenia F. Gelibter, Director of Orange Armenia Foundation L. Martirosyan as well as representatives of Shen NGO were present at the ceremony.
The community members, particularly the young people, expressed their gratitude with regard to the implementation of the project. The provided broadband Internet connection will enable the residents to communicate with the outside world.
Updated on 26 March, 2014
Horticulture development project in Gegharkunik marz
In February 2013 Shen launched a new rural development project financed by EPER, our long-term partner from Switzerland. The project targets 6 villages of Gegharkunik marz: Lusakunq, Akunq, Tsovak, Tsapatagh, Karchaghbyur, and Khachaghbyur. The strategy includes application of well tested rural development methods in combination with the recently adopted M4P approach in order to improve the livelihood of the rural population of beneficiary communities.
The project aims at increasing the incomes of apple, pear, plum grower households in Gegharkunik marz through improving the quality and increasing volume of yield as well as through facilitating market links in existing value chains. Through the application of M4P fundamental principles-systemic action, sustainable change, large-scale impact and facilitative role, the project will reach long term sustainable impact.
1. Introducing Vardenis farmers to an electronic agricultural market
In mid 2013 Microsoft Innovation Center Armenia launched a new market development project, E-agro, an electronic market for all agriculture related stakeholders. E-Agro is the first project in Armenia, as well as in the region at large, which utilizes modern technologies to the benefit of farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs. It is an extensive online agricultural market accessible via computer and mobile phones, where farmers can sell and buyers can find agricultural commodities without intermediaries. Moreover, it is a comprehensive "social network" for everyone engaged in agriculture - farmers, buyers, food-processing companies, service providers, researchers, NGOs, etc., where they can find all necessary information and services, from sales announcements to smart-farming consultations, agro-news, statistics and weather forecast. E-Agro is aimed at increasing competitiveness of farmers and food-processing SMEs through creating new marketing opportunities, providing tools for smart farming and offering cost-optimization mechanisms.
The Project decided to introduce this innovative market development tool to its beneficiary farmers. In March 2014 in three villages introductory seminars have been conducted with more than 50 farmers attended at. Ani Manukian, E-Agro Project Coordinator, has been invited to present this virtual marketing platform during these seminars. Ms Manukyan explained the attenders of seminars how to get registered free-of-charge at www.eagro.am where the seller and the buyer get an opportunity to contact each other directly, without intermediaries avoiding time waste and transportation expenses. She presented also several useful online services of E-Agro including consultancy where a user can get and/or advertise information on all aspects of farming techniques, agricultural machinery services, selling/buying agricultural inputs and the like.
In the line with its strategy to pursue sustainable income generation activities as well as adherence to M4P concept and tools Shen is going to continue this new collaboration with Microsoft Innovation Center Armenia working in Horticulture Development Project in Vardenis sub-region as well as its other agricultural value chain development projects elsewhere in Armenia.
Starting from April of 2013, the beginning of agricultural year, a series of training on modern farming techniques and agricultural marketing is being initiated in the target communities. Particularly trainings on preparatory works in orchard (pruning, trunk lime coating, etc.), integrated plant protection, production of biohumus, selection and sales of saplings has been conducted for the farmers from Vardenis and Yeghegnadzor regions. An introductory training on agricultural marketing issues has been conducted for these farmers too.
Aiming at to reinforce the theoretical knowledge delivered during the trainings the project selected 10 homestead orchard based demo plots in the target villages where project experts demonstrate various farming techniques. The demo plot owners as well as their peer farmers further apply the skills acquired during open-air classes.
In May we organised a tradefair of agricultural inputs, machinery/tools as well as financial institutions with participation of several leading Armenian operators in the field. The tradefair attended farmers from all beneficiary villages as well as farmers from other communities of Vardenis region.
Seminars and field days
Training on pruning
Visiting the tradefair
Shen is glad to announce the launch of a training programme on Making Markets Work for Poor (M4P) approach for Armenian NGOs and development organizations. Free of charge training programme will give a comprehensive introduction of the approach and will take the participants through the main concept which has been applied in a number of Armenian rural development projects.
Particularly the participants will learn:
how the M4P sets out a strategic framework,
what steps it undertakes to understand market systems and it's constraints/opportunities,
how sustainability analysis should be executed to ensure large scale and long term changes in markets and livelihoods of poor people
how to facilitate interventions to develop market systems for the sake of poor farmers
what is the M&E system in place to capture changes at both market and livelihood level
The training curriculum will be tailored according to the needs of participants (What is M4P?). For specific dates and place of training sessions follow for our NEWS.
The First M4P Training
From the 11th to the 15th February of 2013 the first M4P training took place at the Shen office with participation of 8 representatives of local NGOs - Yalkezian Foundation, UMCOR, COAF and Shen. The training was conducted by Arthur Hayrapetyan- an M4M expert, who has an extensive experience in providing such trainings and managing various M4P projects in Armenia.
The participants were exposed to the main principals of the M4M approach, particularly a special focus was given to discuss how the local projects can become more sustainable. Participants were generally happy with the training and expressed willingness to apply some of the approaches and tools gained during the training in their development projects.
Markets for Meghri Project (M4M)
The Markets for Meghri Project (M4M) implemented jointly by Shen NGO and Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation came to an end in November 30, 2012.
According to an evaluation, carried out to assess the main achievements and drawbacks of the project, the M4M brought about "a positive and to some extent a lasting impact in Megri region"
. Another statement stresses "Despite the short implementation period, M4M project undoubtedly made some significant changes in the region, particularly towards increasing productivity of orchards and contributing to income generation of the farmers"
. Value chains of fig, persimmon and pomegranate are strengthened providing access of farmers to supermarkets and fruit markets in Yerevan. Hence, the main goal of M4M is achieved - incomes of farmers have increased by 15% and the productivity has raised by 24%.
Shen NGO, having already a positive experience in applying a facilitation approach, will actively seek new funds to launch other market development programmes in Armenia. Some project proposals with application of market development approaches have already been designed and presented to donors.
Production of saplings and new orchards
Intensive horticulture in Meghri region
Post-harvesting practices and processing of Meghri fruits
Meghri fruits in Yerevan supermarkets