UK Ambassador Visited Gegharkunik Marz

22.07.2008 13:13

Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia Mr. Charles
Lonsdale visited Gegharkunik marz. The Ambassador met Gegharkunik
Marzpet Mr. Nver Poghosyan and discussed the UK development assistance
projects in the marz, particularly the "Armenia Regional Development
Project" funded by the UK Department for International Development

The Armenia Regional Development Project (ARDEP) has been implemented
since 2003 in Gegharkunik and Tavush marzes. DFID has provided
each marz with £1 million for the implementation of the Regional
Development Plans (RDPs) that were developed by the marzpetarans
with active participation of the non-governmental sector and local
communities. The RDPs were designed to contribute to the poverty
reduction in those regions.

Gegharkunik Marzpet briefed the UK Ambassador about the various
projects implemented under RDP, particularly refurbishment of
hospitals and schools, reconstruction of irrigation and drinking
water systems. Mr. Poghosyan said that the success of the first RDP
served a basis for drafting the 2008-2011 regional development plan
for Gegharkunik. Mr. Lonsdale visited the Gavar Maternity Hospital,
the roof of which was reconstructed under RDP plan, and the secondary
school in Sarukhan village, which now has a heating system thanks to
DFID funding.

A key element of the RDP approach is the involvement of local c ivil
society. The Ambassador met the members of local NGOs who played
an important role in planning, monitoring and evaluation of the
RDP projects.

The NGO representatives highly valued the Armenia Regional Development
Project, pointing that it enabled them for the first time to be
actively involved in addressing local issues, as well as gave valuable
experience of project design and cooperation with other NGOs. The local
NGO network created as a secondary outcome of RDP in Gegharkunik will
continue its activities after ARDEP phases out.

ARDEP is finalising its activities in 2008, and currently the
modalities and future funding for the roll-out of the ARDEP
experience to other marzes is under discussion between the Ministry
of Territorial Administration and other potential donors such as the
European Commission.

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