The remote community of Arevatsag in north Armenia’s Alaverdi region will finally have the kindergarten it has lacked for nearly 18 years after winning a grant from the well-known donor organization – Jinishian Memorial Foundation, and securing funding for its staff.
Some 20 children will soon attend the pre-school education facility to be constructed within the facilities of the Arevatsag Secondary School.
“Our village has not had a kindergarten since 1991, and sometimes it has been hard to explain to my children what a kindergarten is and what it looks like”, said Artur Meliksetyan, who actively participated in the proposal writing process. When World Vision’s Alaverdi Area Development Programme (ADP) started in 2008, it soon became evident at community gatherings that establishing a kindergarten was a key priority in Arevatsag village.
World Vision Armenia mobilised the community by facilitating dialogue between different stakeholders and encouraging each of the representative groups – village mayor, teachers, students, and parents - to give their feedback on the problems the community faced and share their part of the responsibility in resolving them.
Community meetings were facilitated using Community Based Performance Monitoring and soon the community active group started to lobby for the local government to fund the salary of a pre-school educator. “Though the local government had prioritised other issues to be more important than the kindergarten, we could not ignore the demands of the community”, said Arevatsag village mayor, Artur Hovhannisyan.
The group also developed and submitted a proposal to Jinishian Memorial Foundation and a grant of US$7,000 was awarded to the village. World Vision Armenia and the community will also contribute to the establishment of the facility by providing US$5,500 and US$2,500 respectively.
The former kindergarten building was in such a dilapidated state that it would have been far too costly to restore. Instead, the working group, including the school headmaster, requested permission from the regional administration to use the facilities of the Arevatsag Secondary School.
“This was quite empowering for the community, which started to believe they can bring positive change,” said Hasmik Chakhalyan, Alaverdi ADP Senior Coordinator.
The school rooms will be ready in September 2009. In the meantime World Vision will provide technical support in organising training sessions and capacity building initiatives for the educators and nurses.
The women of the community have agreed to take on the responsibility of the nurse for the preschool facility without any payment, while several farmers have also agreed to pay the pre-school educator’s salary until January, 2010, from which point funding will be covered by local government.
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