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Prepared by the Heifer Armenia Team

On September 16-17, 2012, the Heifer Armenia team was pleased to host Bob Bloom, chief financial officer (CFO) of Heifer International. During his trip, he visited various projects in Tavush province and met with Armenia’s Minister of Agriculture.

While traveling to Yerevan from the Armenia-Georgia border, Bloom visited three projects. In the cross-border community of Kirants he was greeted by the family of Tamara Sargsyan. They received a cow from Heifer in 2008 and passed on the gift in 2011. Today they are rapidly expanding their farm.

In Tsaghkavan community, Bloom met 16-year-old Narek. Narek lives in a single-parent household and is a member of one of Heifer Armenia’s renowned YES! youth clubs. Such clubs offer rural youth vocational trainings in seven different directions, including business development. In addition to acquiring theoretical knowledge, business development members are encouraged to develop and present business ideas. The students who come up with the best ideas receive small grants of up to $100 to realize their business plans. Narek received a grant in 2011 to start a rabbit breeding business and has established his own little rabbit farm. Narek told Bloom that his business has already generated revenue and he will be able to pass on the gift in 2013. By developing his business, Narek will be able to finance his education and support his family.

In the same community, Bloom visited the Tsaghkavan Pasture Users Cooperative, a beneficiary cooperative of Heifer’s Small Farmer Project, an affiliation with the World Bank-funded Community Agricultural Resource Management and Competitiveness (CARMAC) project. The village mayor and members of the cooperative gladly welcomed Bloom and expressed their gratitude for Heifer’s valuable support in the project. The leader and members of the cooperative gave feedback on the project’s progress and positive impacts it has had on their lives.
   
The second day included official meetings and learning about the historical background of Armenia. In a meeting with Sergo Karapetyan, the Republic of Armenia’s Minister of Agriculture, the minister thanked Heifer for its efforts to promote agricultural development and alleviate poverty in Armenia. He also shared ideas for future cooperation between the Ministry of Agriculture and Heifer to address needs of the country’s rural poor. In turn, Bloom thanked Karapetyan and expressed his appreciation for their cooperation. He recognized the importance of their collaboration and said that Heifer is interested in addressing these issues together.

Dr. Anahit Ghazanchyan, country director for Heifer Armenia, led Bloom and the Heifer Armenia team to the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial to pay respect to the victims of the 1915 Genocide against the Armenian people. Bloom placed flowers at the Eternal Fire and honored the memory of the innocent victims. Next, the team headed to the Heifer Armenia office for discussions with Heifer Armenia staff.

Bloom’s visit to Armenia would not have been complete without a glimpse of the vast history of this old country and, at the same time, young state. So, to top off his trip, Bloom visited the Garni temple and Geghard Monastery carved out of hard mountain stone. This provided a small taste of the rich historical background of the Armenian people, their lasting faith and rigidness against the hardships they faced.

The Heifer Armenia team thanks Bob Bloom for his visit to Armenia and looks forward to hosting him again.

Learn how you can be a part of Heifer's efforts to end hunger and poverty in Armenia.

Author

Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.