Although the agriculture is the main economic activity with significant share in the rural households' incomes there are other sectors beyond the agriculture that may supplement to the family budgets. Shen assist those communities and separate households having potential and intention to get involved in non-farming activities.
Processing of agricultural products
Shen NGO promotes processing of locally produced agricultural products to created added value and to access new markets in Armenia and abroad. The beneficiaries of this component are local agribusinesses, individual farmers and agricultural cooperatives. Particularly, we support agribusiness in processing of fruits and vegetables (production of dried, canned fruits, berries and vegetables), processing of cereals (grain refining, winnowing), production of crushed spelt, production of oils (flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, grape seeds, apricot stones), milk collection and processing. Within this component the beneficiaries receive support in the form of extensive trainings, technical assistance, exchange visits and participation in local and international trade fairs. The financial support for the establishment of processing units is provided on a competitive basis with the condition that at least 50% of investment should be done by the beneficiary business.
Shen NGO implemented several projects on development of local tourism. Particularly in 2008 Bed and Breakfast inns were established in Tsapatagh, Shorzha and Pambak villages (at the shore of the Lake Sevan) by local young entrepreneurs who completed our trainings and now successfully operate B&Bs during the summer months. In 2009 upon completion of extensive trainings organised by Shen NGO six more families from the region have got involved in this activity as well. Being encouraged by the positive experience of thier fellow villagers involved in this sector, in 2012 more families applied for and received loans to start hospitality business. Year by year the number of tourists who stay in newly established small inns increases. In 2012 Shen based on capitalised own experience (developed trainings and training modules) as well as AUA research in the field developed and published a manual on Inn Management.
Stressing the willingness of foreign and local tourists to visit a large number of historical monuments in Armenia, Shen NGO, with the finacial and methodological support of the Yalkezian Foundation, conducted a touristic trail΄s project. The project intends to improve the existing trails as well as to construct new once. Signboards will be placed and sanitary facilities will be constructed in the frame of the project.
The first project implemented jointly in 2017 was the construction of the Gosh-Khachardzan 12 km trail supported by Trans Caucasian Trails project. The constructed trail has been presented to the touristic agencies.
Handicraft is reviving in Chambarak
The project designed for women from Chambarak and nearby villages aiming at increasing income through embroidery training was successfully completed. It serves as a good example of project sustainability. A small enterprise called World of Threads was established by our beneficiaries and operates successfully.