Demo cheese making in the milk processing lab

Gavar, 1 December 2021 – Today, the official opening of the milk processing lab took place in Gavar Agricultural College. The establishment of the lab was financed by the “Future skills and jobs for Armenia’s rural youth” project, funded by the Russian Federation and implemented by UNDP’s Kolba Lab, and “Accelerating women’s empowerment for economic resilience and renewal: post COVID-19 reboot in Armenia” project, funded by the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund.

Ms. Natia Natsvlishvili, UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia, H.E. Sergei Kopyrkin, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Armenia, Mr. Vache Terteryan, Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure of Armenia, Ms. Zhanna Andreasyan, Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Armenia, and Mr. Karen Sargsyan, Governor of Gegharkunik region, had opening remarks at the ceremony.

“Future skills and jobs for Armenia’s rural youth” project, implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, seeks to prepare today’s youth by helping them to acquire knowledge and skills relevant for the future labor market.

“Accelerating women’s empowerment for economic resilience and renewal: post COVID-19 reboot in Armenia” project aims to help overcome current challenges in the labor market, enhance opportunities of employability, as well as help women and young people living in the regions to access the labor market more easily.

Ms. Natia Natsvlishvili welcomed the initiative and stressed the importance of the laboratory, as an initiative with a positive impact on development of skills of youth and women for being better prepared to enter the labor market, and on the economic development of the community. Also, she praised the effective and continuous cooperation between the UNDP, the Government of the Russian Federation, the ministries and the local self-government bodies.

Ambassador Sergei Kopyrkin spoke about the importance of the projects in Armenia funded by the Russian Federation, which are aimed at promoting and strengthening sustainable development in the region.

Mr. Vache Terteryan thanked the Russian Federation and UNDP, noting that this initiative is very important for the sustainable development of the region, economic activity, and creation of new jobs.

Ms. Zhanna Andreasyan also welcomed the initiative, which is in line with the strategy on VET development, emphasizing its importance in terms of development of the field and the educational opportunity given to the residents the region.

Mr. Karen Sargsyan stressed the importance of mutually beneficial cooperation and continuous initiatives aimed at the development of the region.

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The guests proceeded to Artsvakar settlement, Gegharkunik region, to attend the official opening ceremony of Mikayelyan Cheese Cellar supported by UNDP “Integrated Rural Tourism Development” (IRTD) project, funded by the Russian Federation and implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure.

Under the scope of the SME support, IRTD developed a new concept - Gastro Yard - to collaborate with local people who wish to host tourists at their households. At Gastro Yard, guests meet local people, enjoy authentic Armenian food, music, participate in master classes, taste homemade wine, make crafts and in some places stay overnight. Gastro Yard is a family-owned business with an average of five direct job places. As a result of the support, the cheese production has doubled and variety of cheeses has increased.  Since the soft launch of the project, more than 2000 guests have visited the cellar.

The event was attended by Ms. Natia Natsvlishvili, UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia, H.E. Sergei Kopyrkin, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Armenia, Mr. Vache Terteryan, Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure of Armenia, and Mr. Karen Sargsyan, Governor of Gegharkunik region.

Ms. Natia Natsvlishvili noted, that these types of initiatives are important for both regional and tourism development. She also thanked all partners for fruitful collaboration.

Ambassador Sergei Kopyrkin added that these initiatives not only boost the Armenian economy, but also contribute to the balanced development of country. He expressed firm belief that Armenia still has a huge touristic potential which needs to be discovered.

Mr. Vache Terteryan noted that with this support to SME sector entrepreneurs are encouraged and motivated to start their business and develop Armenia.

Mr. Karen Sargsyan concluded that supporting business ideas in Gegharkunik impacts regional economy and creates a value chain.

IRTD project was launched to promote sustainable tourism as a sectoral approach for socio-economic development in the regions, to bring down the level of rural poverty and contribute to equal territorial development. IRTD was designed to create sustainable income-generating opportunities for people and communities through introduction of innovative solutions, infrastructure improvements, human capacity development and networking. The project started in 2016 and was concluded in 2019.

Mikayelyan Cheese Cellar
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