Armenian Communities Revive Vital Structures
Social Investment Fund III
November 7, 2013
Her library in the Armenian village of Tandzatap may be small, but veteran school teacher, Angela Grigoryan, says it is a big part of her life.
So, when the community center which houses the library began to decay a few years back, Grigoryan and other concerned villagers decided to renew it with the help of a social investment fund.
“The building had problems and water was leaking into it and destroying the books, but through renovations we saved the library,” said Grigoryan.
Now, Tandzatap residents not only have a renovated library, but a new reception hall, meeting room, game room, and medical clinic as well. They paid ten percent of final building costs, and have been put in charge of maintaining the community center ever since.
It is now very convenient to get medical treatment in a center like this, and to hold meetings. And there has been a spillover effect since the renewal and people have started renovating their houses.
The renovated community center in Tandzatap is one of the 272 infrastructure projects financed through Armenia’s Social Investment Fund third operation.
The World Bank-supported fund allows communities around the country to decide what they need most, and covers 90 percent of total renovation and building costs.
In the township of Sisian, residents opted with Fund money to renew their decaying cultural center.
Sisian resident and mother of four, Margarit Grigoryan, said she and other community members now feel it’s their duty to maintain the newly renovated cultural center which they helped pay for, and where some of them, like her, are now even gainfully employed.
“I started helping out here the moment renovations began, and I kept coming to help afterwards, and then I was hired as a full time employee,” Grigoryan said.
Other projects implemented through the social fund have involved the renovation or total rebuilding of kindergartens, schools, musical colleges, water and irrigation systems, as well as roads.
The town of Artashat was able to almost totally renew its kindergarten, and equip it with new materials, such as new windows, new floors, new furniture, a new heating system, a new kitchen, and newly reinforced walls to make the building earthquake-resistant.
“The contribution of the community has been great. It has co-financed ten percent of the overall rehabilitation with the social fund providing the remainder, and the community has been greatly involved since,” said Narine Tadevosyan, Director of the renewed kindergarten in Artashat.
Karen Tahverdyan, a parent in Artashat, said that before renovations many parents were anxious about bringing their kids to school, especially in the cold of winter, when the then decrepit heating system often failed.
“Now you come and see how nice it is, and as a parent putting your kid in an environment like this, you feel fine. And you also feel fine because in the winter it is heated,” said Tahverdyan, adding that the renovations - as well as his community’s contribution - were more than worth it!