EU4Culture: Stronger Communities and Initiatives

Empowering Regional Civil Society Organizations to Develop Cultural and Tourism Projects

To take advantage of the natural and cultural assets and tourism potential of Shirak, Kotayq and Gegharkunik, the DVV International (Armenia) project helps community organizations to develop their own initiatives.

Expert Team at TrainingAid

EU4Culture: Stronger Communities and Initiatives
Armenia Regional Project Map

Project example provided by: Tatevik Asryan, Project Coordinator, DVV International (Armenia country office)


Project Title:
EU4Culture: Stronger Communities and Initiatives

Project Scope:
To help regional Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to identify and effectively utilise their natural, cultural and human resources, and to train them in creating their own cultural and local tourism projects.

Shirak, Kotayk and Gegharkunik Provinces, Republic of Armenia

Project Budget:
EUR 547,026.80 (co-financed by the European Union)

01/02/2018 – 01/02/2021 (36 months)

Implementing Partners:
DVV International, Media Initiatives Center, Armenian-CIVITAS, Association of Museum Workers and Friends

Background: Reasons for This Project

Disproportionate development of regions remains a serious problem in Armenia. Shirak, Kotayq and Gegharkunik are three regions that have the highest poverty rates in the country. However, these regions also have significant potential in tourism, which is one of the fastest growing segments of the economy and is prioritized by the Armenian Government as a key area for economic development.

To take advantage of the natural and cultural assets of these regions, and to support opportunities for local income generation, the EU4Culture: Stronger Communities and Initiatives project focuses on education and capacity building, not only to help communities develop their local tourism products, but also to ensure that local actors will remain engaged and empowered to lead inclusive and sustainable growth of these regions in the long-term.

Focusing on and financially supporting local clusters, communities and community organizations to develop their own initiatives will ensure that local stakeholders are engaged in the development process and have a sense of ownership and pride, which can in turn ensure the project will produce lasting impacts and benefits.

As such, the project aims at inclusive and sustainable growth of these regions by helping the selected communities identify and effectively utilize their material and non-material assets, including natural, cultural and human resources that promote cultural and tourism development and increase environmental awareness.

Business Options: Training, Capacity Building, Small Grants

In the framework of the project local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are trained to enhance their capacity in developing and implementing cultural, environmental and tourism projects. Training and capacity building programs are created with the help of experts, focused on local culture, traditions, values and contributes to their promotion. The trainings focus on such topics as “Tourism product development”, “Tourism marketing”, “Ecotourism and community based tourism”, “Business planning and Social entrepreneurship”, “Event management” etc.

With the goal of supporting the CSOs that have the most innovative ideas, competitive grants are made available to the trained CSOs to implement pilot projects and to establish social enterprises to promote local and sustainable tourism development.

Through other components of the project the following activities are planned:

  • Training students from the regions’ schools and universities to conduct local research, as well as engaging them in the cultural and tourism products development efforts, and in relevant events and projects in their communities.
  • Training regional museums and supporting them to prepare modern multimedia exhibitions based on their own collections.

Specifically, the project’s key objectives include:

  • Establishing three multi stakeholder groups in each of the three target regions, and involving them in decision making processes and overall monitoring of the project.
  • Financially supporting CSOs to implement 8 pilot projects, establish 6 social enterprises, and implement 4 research projects aimed at social enterprise establishment.
  • Helping develop multimedia exhibitions in 3 regional museums.
  • Engaging 600 local students in the development and implementation of local tourism projects.

Benefit Realisation: Creating an Environment for Sustainable Growth

Rather than creating reliance, the project emphasizes the importance of helping local CSOs become independent development actors in their regions. The key intended outcome of the project, therefore, focuses on creating favourable conditions for CSOs to identify and develop opportunities, and to create their own projects in the future.

Thus, the long-term vision of this project and its benefits to be realized include:

  • Local CSOs are able to develop and implement future tourism projects in line with sustainable tourism criteria;
  • Local CSOs recognise the touristic potential of their communities / regions and start using tourism as a community development tool;
  • Local population see benefits of tourism development through new employment and profit generation opportunities;
  • Target communities become more popular with their tourism products;
  • Tourist flow in the target communities is increased.

To create an environment for such long-term benefits, the project aims to achieve the following concrete outcomes:

  • Enhanced cooperation between local CSOs and local authorities;
  • Participation and economic development activities are stimulated;
  • CSOs capacity in developing and implementing projects supporting community-based tourism is strengthened;
  • Employment opportunities for the population of the targeted regions are expanded.

In addition, rural festivals, outdoor events and travelling exhibitions will be organized in the last year of the project to promote the tourism products created by the local CSOs.