Creating work in rural areas

Resources: skills, time, links or projects, etc.

  • Liana: World Vision organized projects in villages. Locals come up with their small agricultural projects and get start-up funding for starting business – to produce and sell in their areas (up to 5 million AMD grants); USAID is doing smth similar. Liana is a council member and policy maker at World Vision, can create cooperation. Has volunteers. Center of small and medium business is funding agricultural projects.
  • George: UNDP community development project: create farming cooperatives, in the North East (Tavush), creating infrastructure (irrigation, pre-school buildings, etc); skills: writing project in a way donors like. UNDP is a conservative organisation in terms or work style, they do traditional development; Engineering, from end of July full time free, no job. A friend in US who works in Soil association, certifying organic products. UNDP supported organic cheer production last year so perhaps they can support Vayots Dzor village. Knows people who can create future’s markets and prices.
  • Arpine: SHEN NGO work with village communities in the bordering areas, including organic agriculture, infrastructure, training, etc.  Vikram who can organize organic farming production and consumption. Contacts in Teghut. TRANSORMER truck which will move to different towns and villages and carry out cultural and educational projects, can also be festivals, art events, etc… (Utopiana)
  • Nane: Polish Embassy project: agro tourism, creating hostels, touristic business, eco-tourism, winery, etc. Organic cheer production in Vayots Dzor region. Journalist – can prepare articles, PR, work with media; need to have a fridge storage or some other natural ways of preserving the food. Knows people who collect and produce herbs.
  • Karen: has contacts in Armavir & Yerevan and other regions with people who are potentially interested to create cooperative, new ways of communicating and cooperating for farming.  Social capital as activists. Computer engineering.


  • Apathy, little experience and trust in self-organisation, democratic decision-making
  • Lack of knowledge, skills, expertise about human rights, political landscape, communication and community organizing skills, business-organizing skills.

Need / Goal:

  • Create autonomous organized communities/groups, who will be economically & politically independent;
  • Empower the villagers to have an understanding of the political and economic contexts, their own rights, the importance of working together in democratic and innovative formats, produce and sell effectively;

Gap: market researchers, community organisers, people who know how to start cooperatives

Key steps:

  • Find someone/project which is working on a systemic level to address the issue of productive work; Find a really good project and build on that (Contacting Tatev Foundation)
  • Research other success stories – what did they do to become successful;
  • Find people with expertise in community organizing and in setting up community enterprises (find an enthusiastic community);
  • Go to villages, organize community meetings, step by step create a good example of self-organization
  • Working out loud: (1) share other success stories, through the prism of our own project idea & share our own project idea

Creative call for participation (what would we need from people outside?) 1 paragraph

Dear Edgeryders,

Our team wants to start a holistic community development project in Armenia. The aim is to create a strong, independent community, which will be self-organized, aware of their rights, of political and economic context and innovative ways of community-organization, co-production, cooperation among community members.

We are looking for successful examples, which worked in different countries (especially in post-soviet countries) and which demonstrated a systemic approach for the change.  In order to start the project we also need specialists and activists who are good at community organizing, setting up cooperative production, giving consultation in agriculture, economy, alternative energies, etc. People who can write articles, make videos, spread information, recruit volunteers are also very much needed, as well as different technologies.

Love the approach

Great work, thanks!

As to how rural communities might improve their self-reliance: in Italy we are experimenting with the residency model embedded into the unMonastery. The first prototype is in a small town rather than deep countryside, but we are already developing a fully rural concept. The idea is: most rural development policies (at least in my part of the world) are aimed at attracting investment and business to rural areas. We would like to experiment with a different policy, that aims at attracting people.

This has come up in the context of an area that has become so sparsely populated that the human communities cannot exert proper stewardship over the land. Maintenance does not get done. Clogged ditches and waterways make irrigated fields revert to swamps; unkept woods mean vulnerability to summer fires and landslides. This triggers a vicious cycle in which even more people leave. The question is if the unMonastic dream of living together to attack the hard problems can attract doers and innovators to the rural areas… and we think the answer is a qualified yes.