Story by Knarine Ghazanchyan | Project and Training Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Translated by Emma Sargsyan | Media Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Concordia parvae res crescunt, discordia maximae dilabuntur.
When in agreement, the small things grow up, when in disagreement, huge things destroy.
--Sallust - Gaius Sallustius Crispus
Starting from the very beginning of its activities in Armenia, Heifer has been actively cooperating with the local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and farmers associations. The first partner NGOs were People for Healthy Lifestyle, Syunik, Tavush Support Center, Spitak Farmers Association, Hovtashat Farmers Association and Consumer Cooperative and many others. Todays list of partners includes Development Principles NGO, Lukashin Farmers Association, Spitak Farmers Association, the Fuller Center for Housing Armenia and the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD).
One of the most successful partnerships between Heifer and local NGOs can surely be considered the partnership with the Lukashin Farmers Association. This dates back to 2008, when, in the framework of Heifer projects and with assistance of the association, 26 families in the village received 26 pregnant cows. A year later, 16 more families received Heifer assistance?this time each family received five sheep for a total of 80. The sheep were provided to the villagers through Passing on the Gift® from another village in the Goris region.
Throughout all this time, project participants in the community were actively participating in the organized trainings, both classic Heifer trainings as well as specialized animal husbandry and cattle breeding trainings. They have been quite popular among project participants in the village.
The association has not been wasting time. It has become stronger over the years, acquiring new partners and networks both in Armenia and beyond, and it is very active in the village. The president of the association, Vardges Davtyan, is an active participant of international forums, conferences and meetings, especially those related to eco-agriculture and marketing of agricultural products. Women are a real treasure to this organization, and the womens council is one of the strongest parts of the association.
In the framework of deep cooperation with local organizations, CARD assisted the association in acquiring a milk-collecting unit, which gave farmers an opportunity to centralize the milk-collecting procedures and partner with a leading milk producer in Armenia?Ashtarak Kat. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), provided the association with small agricultural equipment for the collective use of the farmers. Apart from all this, the association members have the opportunity to buy seeds and fertilizers with solid discounts, provided by the Ministry of Agriculture.
In the spring of 2012, the Lukashin Farmers Association became a participant of the joint program of Heifer Armenia, Heifer Poland and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. With this program, a fruit-storage refrigerator was renovated and a fruit-drying facility, as well as fruit and vegetable slicing, packaging and boiling equipment were provided to the association. Moreover, in September 2012 an exchange visit to Poland was organized for active members to meet and exchange experiences with their Polish colleagues.
The many years of a successful partnership with Heifer Armenia led to another milestonecreating a local YES! Youth Club in the community. The club opened doors in March 2012, and offered seven directions, or areas of study, for the most curious and active schoolchildren in the community. The most active and knowledgeable women and men of the community have been assigned as trainers. The club is active many ways; the blog of the YES! Youth Club has recently been launched and the children are quite active on Facebook and other social media.
This village is one of the best Heifer Armenia project participant communities. And we are sure that they are going to continue trying hard, investing in themselves and developing the village.
We and our partners are here to help! Good job, folks!