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AVO event with Hilda GrigorianBy Socrates Arakelyan

Azad-Hye Special

"Go to a village and see it with your eyes" was the message from Hilda Grigorian of Armenia Village Operation (AVO), the honorary guest at second Parev Emirates event in Dubai on 1 September 2008 (see event announcement here). This was one of many encouraging messages the founder of AVO passed to the members of Armenian community who gathered to learn more about the state of rural affairs in Armenian villages and the work of Armenia Village Operation.
Tackling what nowadays seems to be the common misconception of improving economic and social conditions of Armenian villages, the audience was given some chilling facts produced by internationally renowned NGOs as well as on the ground AVO observations. High poverty and unemployment rate, lack of running water and health facilities and lack of irrigation for agriculture are some of the endemic problems facing the majority villages, in particular those on Armenia’s borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan. Neglect and lack of necessary investment by Government was identified as primary reason for the crumbling of what once used to be vibrant and self sustainable villages. Whilst Diaspora has invested through various Armenian non-governmental organisations, lack of accountability of some of those organisations, diversion of resources from areas of top priority, mismanagement of projects, failure of donors to demand transparent delivery of results and widespread corruption prevented funds reaching those in real need. 

Whilst AVO acknowledged that funding is key to successful completion of projects, increasing the level of awareness of communities in Diaspora and public in general, encouraging people to think and take initiative in such issues, volunteering to help village communities whilst on holiday, was also seen as equally important.

"Diaspora has a great wealth of financial and professional resources, use the resources wisely for the benefit of Armenian villages" said Hilda Grigorian.

Throughout the presentation, one could feel Hilda’s passion, dedication, energy and commitment towards changing the course of not only the villages but Armenia as whole, leaving many to wonder how this extraordinary Armenian woman, a mother of two, working away from home could take and complete various projects and change lives of many people.

To cover this and many other questions, the presentation was followed with a Q&A session which quickly turned into a heated debate on the role of Armenian government and Opposition parties, the role of leaders of Armenian communities, programs of various NGO’s and the role of society in addressing the needs of Armenian villages.

Whilst the event did not raise any funds and it was not the purpose of this event, it did something more profound and memorable, it had ignited interest and showed what a huge difference each of us can make if we put all the energy and resources at our disposal where our heart and mind is – Armenia.
On behalf of Azad-Hye and our readers, we want to thank Hilda Grigoirian and AVO for vivid evening that she provided to all of us and gave insight to the harsh but challenging reality. To help AVO in its endeavors, we now have a number of people who are willing to contribute to this cause.

Photo: Hilda Grigorian (in the middle) with the audience in Dubai.

Website of Armenia Village Operation (AVO): www.armeniavillageoperation.com

Interview with Hilda Grigorian: Armenia is not about lavish life style in Yerevan

More about AVO

Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 (7266 reads), comments: 0
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