New Income Opportunities for vulnerable Armenians

 
$3,048
$11,952
Raised
Remaining
Jan 12, 2012

Information Technology Brings Jobs, Economic Development to Rural Armenia

Youth use computers in rural Armenia.
Youth use computers in rural Armenia.

In spite of huge leaps in IT infrastructure in Armenia, major segments of the population in rural villages lack ways to access technology and the knowledge to use it. These same communities are faced with youth unemployment often reaching 30 percent or more. A growing “digital divide” leaves rural communities and the poor unconnected to an economy and society increasingly based on information technology.

In Armenia, a government initiative aims for every family to own a computer, along with improvements in broadband capacity. However, no more that 10 percent of Armenian villagers has knowledge of computers or the Internet, a reality that prevents information dissemination in rural areas.

NEF and its partners, Business Pareta and the Gegharkunik Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have worked with local entrepreneurs to establish 15 rural IT centers under the Zartnir (Wake Up!) brand. The centers are creating jobs and new sources of income, serving as hubs for education and skills training, and providing access to technology.

Though modest in size – a start-up has 4 computer stations – these IT centers have quickly become vital parts of their communities. In the village of Noratus, for example, the IT center is full from morning to night in peak seasons, and the training sessions fill quickly – with 300 people trained in the first year. Some IT centers have begun providing training in advanced topics, including game programming, to youth who aspire to work in Armenia’s burgeoning programming industry.

Each IT center is located within a rural village, providing everyone in the community with convenient and affordable access to the Internet. The centers are locally owned and operated, fostering local entrepreneurship and trust among community members. Each month, centers provide a number of trainings in computer and program use for a fee and provide some targeted training for disadvantaged groups, such as women heads of households, on a pro bono basis – grassroots corporate social responsibility. Income is generated through computer sales and service, training, and computer/Internet access.

Microfranchises offer entrepreneurs with limited or no business experience a way to start a new business with relatively low risk. NEF and its partners provide entrepreneurs with business training, business planning, technology training, marketing, and quality control training. The trained entrepreneurs are connected with financing as needed, and credit/loans are used to acquire the necessary technology, equipment and raw material to start the business.

The IT centers have developed into successful businesses, generating revenue and creating jobs by offering internet access (internet café), training (in programming, software packages, internet use), and computer equipment sales. Each business creates at least 2 permanent jobs and generates an average of $600 dollars per month in profit in their first year – significant figures in the context of rural Armenia. Each center serves a population of approximately 200 people on a regular basis and offers four multi-week courses for basic computer literacy.

Zartinir IT Center.
Zartinir IT Center.
Zartinir IT Center.
Zartinir IT Center.
Comments:

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.

donate now:

An anonymous donor is matching all new monthly recurring donations. Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $25
    give
  • $40
    give
  • $75
    give
  • $200
    give
  • $25
    each month
    give
  • $40
    each month
    give
  • $75
    each month
    give
  • $200
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Organization

Project Leader

Sarah Peterson

Program Officer
New York, NY, New York United States

Where is this project located?

Map of New Income Opportunities for vulnerable Armenians