eGaroon 2017 | JUNE Issue

Page 5


‘ADOPT-A-VILLAGE’ Making a difference, one Armenian village at a time By Alexander Galitsky Village-to-village Adopt-a-Village (AAV)

other village adoption projects require a

is the brainchild of New Zealander Len

minimum funding threshold to under-

Wicks and his wife Armine Hakobyan.

take projects, AAV’s programs in many

The concept is straightforward: diaspo-

cases involve little or no cash, instead

ran communities are matched with a

utilising a wealth of diasporan resources

region of Armenia and work collabora-

in direct person-to-person interaction,

tively with leadership of local villages

training, skill exchange and consultation.

(and indirectly with local/regional governments) to undertake projects to benefit

A fresh approach for diaspora-home-

the community. AAV works in concert

land relations AAV’s approach is also

with two other projects: the ‘Origins’ pro-

unique in terms of the Armenian dias-

ject, a movie trilogy aimed at attracting

pora’s role in homeland development.

tourism to the revitalised villages; and

To date, the organised diaspora’s devel-

the Genocide Project that actively pro-

opment strategy has been focused on

motes recognition of crimes against hu-

political advocacy and lobbying for of-

manity and the need for reparations.

ficial development assistance from host governments. These initiatives perhaps

The concept of ‘Adopt-a-Village’ isn’t new

add most value in terms of their capac-

- but it is unique. Several other projects

ity to engage with developmental in-

that operate on a similar basis to micro-

stitutions such as the UNDP and USAID.



However, there are obstacles at every

in post-colonial indigenous communi-

stage of the process: bureaucratic bar-

ties and underdeveloped areas in South

riers from diaspora organisations, host

America, Africa and Southeast Asia. What


differentiates AAV from other programs

ganisations and the homeland govern-

is its implementation. Whereas many

ment; and in the implementation stage.







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