Tag Archives: “Citizens’ voice and action in consolidated communities of Armenia” project

On 26 January, the EU Ambassador to Armenia Piotr Świtalski and representatives of the Armenian government participated in the opening of the Ashotsk Ski Centre in Shirak marz.  It is the first of three EU-funded demonstration initiatives from the “Citizens’ voice and actions in consolidated communities of Armenia” project.

DSC_4655This 30-month EU-funded activity aims to address communities’ capacity gaps and foster local development in a sustainable, participatory, and accountable manner. The project’s ultimate objective is to enhance community capacity to design and implement people-centered and sustainable local development projects, thereby supporting government reforms and managing a range of challenges. The project targets to strengthen the capacity of 52 recently consolidated communities – most of which are in rural and remote locations – to engage citizens in local tourism, namely outdoor activities and healthy lifestyles. The project will also pilot citizen budgeting in Armenia; this will provide citizens in 52 communities with the opportunities to implement small initiatives on their own through sub-grants. Communities will be supported through training and examples of best practice from Europe and Georgia. “Citizens voice and actions in consolidated communities in Armenia” is co-implemented by ALDA in partnership with the Communities Finance Officers Association (CFOA) and the Communities Association of Armenia (UCA), with the financial support of the European Union.

4Ashotsk already had a new ski piste, on which an international tournament was held. The ski centre is located right next to the piste and is easily accessible for training or competitions. The centre has bedrooms, a kitchen, leisure areas, and a high-quality heating system. On 26-27 January the Ashotsk Cross-country Ski Races event took place at the ski centre, with more than 400 people enjoying skiing and the races. The official opening was followed by classic-style races for children (2km), men (2km), and then women (1km). The programme included a show by Para Nordic Skiing, which provided lots of fun for all. Small children were able to celebrate the World Snow Day; people had the opportunity to compete in a media race with the EU Ambassador. The winners’ award ceremony closed the event.

DSC_5095EU Ambassador Świtalski highlighted the importance of promoting healthy lifestyles in Armenian communities and developing tourism: “The European Union wants people to be strong and healthy in Armenia and sport will help to achieve this goal. As Ashotsk has snowfall for 7 months a year, and now has a ski piste accepted by the International Ski Federation, we decided to make the Ashotsk residents happy and start a project that has great prospects. I think for Ashotsk residents it is very important to have such a centre – it will promote not only sport but also tourism. Our project does not have a big budget, which means that modest investment can and will have to make big changes in remote communities. This is one of 10 projects in remote communities in Armenia. In the future we plan to have a number of similar projects. The European Union plans to invest another €7 million in the development of tourism in the northern regions of Armenia”.