Two-year Performance Summary

17.12.2013 13:15

The twenty-four month project of SOS Culture came to an end on October 18, 2013. The project was financed by the Europeun Union, and was implemented by the Wildlife and Cultural Assets Preservation Fund (FPWC), in partnership with dvv international regional office in Tbilisi and Research on Armenian Architecture Foundation (RAA).The EU's contribution to the project amounts to 492.754 euros.

The motto was, "Crossing borders to save, preserve and care." The project had the goal of engagement with the local community within the remote border areas between Armenia and Goergia that have been neglected and are in need of care and protection of their cultural property. It was also observed that cultural assets were a significant part of the economic and social development conditions of the local municipalities.

Armenia and Georgia, as beneficiaries of the project, selected eight communities, accordingly with four from each country. In Armenia, those communities were Alavardi and Akhtala from the Lori region and Varagavan and Berdavan from the Tavush region. From Georgia were chosen Bolnisi, Koda, Shahoumian and Dmanisi districts.

During its two-year duration, the project did great work in these communities. Especially significant was the local children and young people’s courses being held in a non-formal format as a method of introducing education and providing skills for a variety of interesting subjects in an efficient way. Thanks to these courses, the youth will continue to raise public awareness on the protection of cultural assets to the people in these communities and to try to develop tourism within their communities. In this way, the children learned team work, to create projects with a team, became pretty active in solving social issues, visited different cultural sites and got in touch with their own roots, made friends from neighboring regions and from Yerevan, were introduced to a number of young leaders and youth activists, many of whom they kept their ties with and in necessary situations, to interact with. Most important was the fact that all the courses were very practical, and the kids they were getting these lessons from successful researchers, producers, implementers. Club members also took part in many different activities within the project, including festivals, carnivals, and summer camp, which were good opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge and skills to the community, creating social connections, bringing up issues in social and cultural life and in some cases, also presenting solutions.

The most important achievement was the fact that the young people involved in youth clubs reached a certain level of consciousness that not only should one not spoil, pollute, or destroy cultural assets, but also to take care of them, keep them and their surrounding areas clean, and to encourage more people to be careful and thoughtful. The children often, independent of the project, organized garbage collection, tree planting and other measures to encourage more young people to recognize and preserve cultural values in their communities and in general.

The core courses were in photo, video, film and journalism. The youth had a blog that they updated every week about what they were doing in their classes and activities. Towards the end of the project, the youth created films about topics within their communities, whether they be cultural, environmental, or social issues. The films were pretty interesting and clearly displayed to youth the uncomforting issues. They also participated in the "SunChild" festival, where the SOS Culture youth club from Alaverdi was the winner, while the other films made under the SOS Culture project won awards in various other categories. The youths also had a photo exhibition, where they presented their best work that was done over the course of the project’s two years. The project resulted in the publication of a manual of cultural heritage, intercultural exercises manual, a patriotism manual, books about Voskepar and Jiliza villages’ cultural assets, and tourist maps of the Lori and Tavoush regions.

Thanks to the SOS Culture team’s work, the monastery of St. Gregory in Dsegh was included in the 2014 "World Monument Watch (WMW) list.”

Now the project has ended, but we have an active and interested youth in the remote border regions, which are still actively continuing the work that the SOS Culture project started. They now recognize the value in their cultural assets and will not allow anyone to harm them. They also try to actively transfer their knowledge and experience with other young people from their own and neighboring communities to collaborate and perform greater work. They are very active in their communities and urge other community members to participate and to contribute to the solution of social, political, economic and cultural issues.

It can be said that SOS Culture achieved its main objectives. The results were very satisfactory, and most importantly, healthy-minded and intelligent young people will get involved in preserving cultural assets and try to find solutions for various problems that arise within their communities.