Tag Archives: BRIDGE for CSOs

On 5 September, the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and the “BRIDGE for CSOs” programme welcomed the “One Step Ahead” which is an all-girls team from Karbi community in Aragatsotn marz. The team won the People’s Choice Award at the Global Technovation Challenge 2017, which took place from 7-11 August in San Francisco, USA. Since 2010, more than 10,000 girls from 78 countries have participated in the Global Technovation Challenge. Every year the competition invites girls to identify a problem in their community, and then challenge them to solve it. Girls work in teams to build both a mobile app and a business plan to launch that app, supported by mentors and guided by the programme’s methodology.

ARS_4573“One Step Ahead” created a bilingual sign-language app for Android. They won the Armenian heat before being invited to San Francisco. The Armenian stage of the competition was organised by Technovation regional ambassador “Women and Information Society’’ NGO. AGBU’s EU-funded three-year “BRIDGE for CSOs” programme empowers local initiatives by meaningfully engaging diaspora professionals and providing beneficiaries with access to AGBU’s global network. Yervant Zorian, AGBU General Board Member and President of Synopsys Armenia and the Chief Architect of Synopsys Corporation, has been announced as the first Goodwill Ambassador of the Technovation Initiative.

ARS_4491Hoa-Binh Adjemian, the Head of the Cooperation section of the EU Delegation, attended the event with “One Step Ahead” and congratulated the team: ‘It is a pleasure to be here. I am very impressed by your victory. You have achieved something great which shows this sphere’s potential. Also, this achievement confirms the willingness of the EU to invest in youth, girls and the future. It confirms that Armenia can be prosperous, peaceful and growing nation alongside the EU’.

ARS_4517Zorian was honoured to become the first Goodwill Ambassador of the Technovation Initiative: “I am proud of the team’s success. These achievements were not surprising to me, as I am aware of the potential that exists in Armenia. It is very important to keep momentum and implement what you have already done. It is great that this programme encourages girls to be active in the sphere of technology. I will be very happy if you can continue making contributions for years to come. I will do my best to support you as Goodwill Ambassador”.

On 26 June, the “BRIDGE for CSOs” programme was officially launched in Yerevan. The programme goal is to strengthen the capacity of Armenian CSOs to better respond to citizens’ needs by linking Armenia CSOs with expertise in the Diaspora. The programme is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), in cooperation with the Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF). The three-year programme, launched in December 2016, offers a package of activities.
The project will conduct in-depth sector-related needs assessments of up to 200 CSOs to map their strengths and needs; offer tailor-made training to up 200 individuals from 80 CSOs; provide on-the-job consultation to 80 CSOs through pro-bono Diaspora- and Armenia-based experts; institutionalise capacity by launching an academic NGO Management Certificate Programme; provide grants to support small-scale projects; increase trust in civil society. The innovative skill transfer platform (www.together4armenia.am) will enhance cooperation between Armenian CSOs and the Diaspora. It will feature success stories of international cooperation, CSO achievements, reports, sectorial information and other information to bridge existing gaps between international and national CSOs.
The Head of EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, and the AGBU Armenian president and Central Board Member, Vasken Yacoubian, attended the kick-off event and made opening remarks.

ARS_9994Ambassador Świtalski was excited to participate in the programme launch: ‘It is important to support the development of civil society. Armenia has more than 4,000 public organisations, almost 1,000 foundations; even if a portion of these organisations and foundations are active, this still harbours big potential. Armenia can be proud of its civil society activism; it is very important for the development of the country. As the EU, we see our priority to work with partners like AGBU to strengthen the fabric of civil society in Armenia. AGBU is a longstanding, respectable organisation; it is a big honour to work with them, we hope it is a beginning of a beautiful journey, and we believe strongly in the success of the programme’.

ARS_9935Vasken Yacoubian thanked the EU for the opportunity to implement the programme: ‘We were excited when the EU announced this call for proposals and we prepared a proposal that involved civil society both from Armenia and Diaspora. We are very happy that even the Armenian government understands the importance of civil society for the country. This shows the ranking of Armenia – we rank highly for civil society in the region. We are very honoured and happy that we were successful in getting this grant and that we are EU partners. AGBU will be a trusted partner for Armenia. We believe this will be the beginning of our cooperation, which will hopefully extend to different sectors’.