Together for Armenia: Series of Professional Seminars from Diaspora Experts Unite Local Communities
More than 200 participants benefitted from interactive workshops held on September 14-16, 2016, by 15 diaspora experts in the four regions of Armenia - Lori, Tavush, Shirak and Gegharkunik. The workshops were organized in the framework of the Together4Armenia (www.together4armenia.am) free web platform, funded by the European Union and led by UNICEF in Armenia and Mission East.
Launched in July 2016, the platform is designed to facilitate the transfer of skills from diaspora to local communities in Armenia for the benefit of children. It works on the idea of matching professional skill gaps in local communities with those of Armenian experts living in the diaspora.
The platform currently promotes more than 15 development mini-projects. These include: establishing specific social services for children; setting up extracurricular learning activities for youth and children; modernising a university library; and promoting social inclusion of children with disabilities within the community. The initiative was developed within the framework of the “Social Response to Labour Migration in Armenia” project funded by the European Union and implemented by UNICEF in Armenia.
The experts were chosen through an open call, as well as through partnerships with Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC) and Birthright Armenia. The selected team comprised of individuals from various backgrounds, including information technologies and social work; and from different countries, including Russia, France, Canada, Lebanon, Italy and the United States of America. Marianna Petrosyan, from Italy, consulted Lentex Company in Gyumri on textile development, with a focus on the introduction of more efficient solutions to increase product quality. Lena Kocharyan, from France, and Arusyak Zeynalyan, from Russia, spoke about their work with children and people with disabilities to special educators and NGO representatives in Gavar and Vanadzor. Angelina Aslanova, from Russia, delivered a lecture on architecture and design for students in Gyumri. Kazar Akopyan, from Russia spoke about the importance of healthy lifestyles and outdoor sports with youth from Gavar. Anush Zeynalyan, from Russia, shared tips on how to revive local museums in Ijevan through tourism.
All participants contributed immense value in showing how the platform can be used as a new and innovative way to: cooperate easily between the diaspora and local communities; be embedded in non-financial values; and build trust, connections and networks for the future. Some of the experts have already made tangible commitments to continue cooperation with their local counterparts through online counseling.
While the platform was primarily designed to target areas of concern for children, it is already growing and expanding into other areas such as business, tourism and agriculture. Visit www.together4armenia.am today to shape a better future for Armenia.