Heifer's Work in Armenia
Armenia’s rich history begins around 800 B.C. as part of the Kingdom of Urartu or Van. In 301 A.D., Armenia became the first nation to adopt Christianity with the religion playing a major role in its people’s national identity ever since. Serving as a bridge between Europe and Asia both culturally and geographically, Armenia has a diverse cultural heritage as it has been conquered by many nations including the Persians, Byzantines, Arabs, Mongols and Ottoman Turks.
Armenia became an independent nation in 1991 when it declared its sovereignty from the Soviet Union. The global economic and financial crisis hit the Armenian economy very hard. In 2009, the proportion of Armenians living below the poverty line increased from 27.6 percent to 34.1 percent (around 1.1 million people). The country's most marginalized population is estimated to be more than 650,000 people. This means that every third person of the population in 2009 lived in poverty and every fifth person was living in extreme poverty. In 2010, the poverty rate increased even further, reaching 35.8 percent. These figures point towards the remaining high need in Armenia regarding development assistance and highlight the importance of Heifer’s work in Armenia addressing poverty and hunger in the country.
Armenia's most marginalized population is estimated to be more than 650,000 people.
Heifer Armenia has given hope and inspiration to its people since it was established in 1999. Since then, it has implemented 58 projects helping more than 8,000 rural families to improve their livelihoods by developing rural communities, finding solutions to economic and ecological problems, spiritual revival, as well as strengthening the prospects of peace in the region.
Heifer Armenia focuses on projects that include economic development components. The value chain development methodology adopted by Heifer Armenia is aimed at establishing economically viable, efficient and sustainable linkages between different value chain (e.g. dairy) actors to create lasting income generating opportunities for its target project participants and contribute to sustainable community development.
The organization pays special attention to rural youth leadership development and vocational training initiatives. Heifer Armenia has established and successfully runs 29 youth clubs in rural communities of Armenia. Around 2,500 children have benefited from enrollment in rural youth clubs supported by Heifer in Armenia.