On January 31, USAID/Armenia joined the Small Medium Enterprise Development National Center of Armenia (SME DNC), the Fuller Center for Housing of Armenia and local partners to mark the official launch of two rural development projects – the Partnerships for Rural Prosperity (PRP) and Advanced Rural Development Initiative (ARDI). U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Robert Makaryan, and Deputy Minister of Economy Karine Minasyan delivered opening remarks at the kick-off event in Erebuni Plaza. The heads of the two projects then presented their goals and objectives in promoting rural economic development in Armenia.
The PRP and ARDI programs build upon current and previous initiatives of the Government of Armenia, the U.S. Government, and other organizations to foster the country’s broader development beyond capital Yerevan and address the economic challenges in rural communities.
The two programs will complement their efforts and will target about 150 communities in all marzes of Armenia except Yerevan. The five-year programs will increase rural employment by tackling critical constraints to rural economic development, such as community competitiveness, sound economic governance, workforce development and small scale infrastructure upgrades. PRP and ARDI will seek to expand employment prospects for women, youth and vulnerable groups, build the capacity of local entrepreneurs and improve their access to finance.
The PRP program will be implemented by SME DNC in collaboration with CARD, GCCI and EV-consulting. ARDI will be implemented by the Fuller Center for Housing with Heifer International Armenia.