The community development component
Project Details & Results
The goal of the project is to strengthen the target communities’ capacity in the field of POPs and toxic chemicals sound management through raising awareness on reduction of the use of POPs and toxic chemicals in agriculture, their hazardous impact and the sustainable alternatives to them.
The problem of POPs and toxic chemicals associated with their negative impact on human health and the environment, unfortunately, still exists and is an actual problem for our republic. The problem is connected both with the lack of sustainable management of chemicals and insufficient awareness of it. Apart from this, the number of trained professionals in Armenian communities is very limited.
POPs and toxic chemicals are an integral part of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). Civil society participation in the implementation of projects promoting the sustainable management of POPs and toxic chemicals is very important for SAICM implementation. This is especially actual since in 2011 the Stockholm Convention celebrates its 10 – year anniversary. This is the reason why the year 2011 is proclaimed by the United Nations the International Year of Chemistry. The proposed project aims to promote chemical safety in the Republic of Armenia through raising awareness on reduction of the use of POPs and toxic chemicals in agriculture, as well on their hazardous impact and sustainable alternatives to them.
The project will pay special attention to the wider use of biohumus made from organic waste through research, trainings and marketing.
Disclosure of priority issues associated with POPs harmful effects and the development of measures aimed at the elimination of POPs are part of commitments taken by the Republic of Armenia under the Stockholm Convention.
Improper management of toxic chemicals leads to water reservoirs, surface and ground water pollution, biodiversity loss, land degradation, residue accumulation in food chain and ultimately, to serious health problems.
Fertilization is also a big problem, considering the fact that the country is dominated by unilateral mineral fertilization which is fraught with risk of cancer for human health. Besides, this type of fertilization weakens the resistance of plants to different pests and diseases, thus inducing an increase of pesticide use. This project aims to apply a systematic approach in order to reduce the use of agrochemicals and ensure safety. Substitution of mineral fertilizers with biohumus made from organic waste will increase plant resistance to pests and diseases, and IPM application will prevent the spread of diseases and pests. Plant tinctures can also be used as a pest control means. Raising awareness of different public groups about potential hazards caused by toxic chemicals in agriculture is also important.
Notable Community Participation
AWHHE NGO has long working experience with communities and highly appreciates the community participation and interest in the implemented project. The selected communities are very interested in the project. During the implementation of the project they will have both cash- and in-kind contribution, particularly, in the form of provision of a space for seminars and trainings. Cash contribution will be made during the preparation of driers. While developing the project draft the opinions of the communities have been considered and the priorities have been discussed with the communities. The communities will participate in project monitoring and evaluation through participating and presenting their opinions to the National Coordinator (NC) and the National Steering Committee (NSC) during their monitoring visits.
Capacity – Building Component
During the project implementation at least 500 people from rural communities will increase their awareness on safe management of POPs and toxic chemicals and their alternatives; at least 20 locally trained trainers from Agricultural Support Center of the Armavir province and the target villages will be trained on the Armenian version of the GEF SGP Module on POPs; the project community members will be trained on biohumus making from organic wastes, as well on drying fruits and vegetables; the community members will increase their knowledge on and experience in implementation of IPM.
Emphasis on Sustainable Livelihoods
As a result of project activities it is anticipated to improve the livelihood of communities by increasing their income through using solar driers. 12 households will have solar dryers that will be used for drying their own fruits and vegetables, thus contributing to their income generation. The reduction of the use of agrochemicals will contribute to the improvement of rural life conditions.
The project is designed to focus attention on women’s issues and promote especially the increase of the rural women’s role. Women play a key role in the project implementation process, because they are the main sufferers from toxic chemicals used in agriculture. Rural women will have solar driers, which will help raise their income. Celebration of the Rural Women’s International Day within the frames of the project will allow them to present their chemicals – free clean products and will help to increase their self- esteem and role. The project will attach importance to ensuring the gender equality and active participation of both men and women in the implementation of the project.
Promoting Public Awareness of Global Environment
During the project implementation it is planned to organize trainings on safe management of POPs and toxic chemicals and application of sustainable agriculture methods. Public awareness on global environmental issues will be raised using information campaign and educational materials. Results of the project will be available in the website of AWHHE NGO and widely disseminated during environmental events.
Proper management of POPs and toxic chemicals and wider use of organic and alternative agriculture methods will contribute to implementation of NIP of Stockholm Convention and the SAICM. The project initiative is in harmony with the MDG 1; 4 and 9. It is expected that during one vegetation period 20 households will refuse application of approximately 60 kg pesticides.
Innovative Financial Mechanisms
During the project implementation it is expected that the 4 project communities will make relevant decisions in favor of the use of alternative methods of agriculture through establishment of agricultural centers and small productions of plant tinctures. The organized Farmer Field Schools on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) will contribute to further implementation of IPM. The guideline adopted by the Agriculture Support Center of Armavir province will ensure the on-going process of awareness – raising and will serve as a best model for ensuring the dissemination of information and replicating the successful experience by other Agricultural Support Centers of other regions.
Sustainability of the Project
Given the fact that agriculture is one of the pollutants in the environment, the project aims to reduce the harmful influence of agriculture on the environment and to use the natural resources in a sound way, which in turn will lead to environmental sustainability. Project beneficiaries’ stability is conditioned by the fact that people gaining the necessary knowledge will continue to serve as the bearers and disseminators of such knowledge in their surroundings, and the Farmer Field Schools and experimental fields and orchards will serve as business models for their neighbors.
Replication of the project
The project objectives and outcomes will be available to everyone through the regularly updated website of the organization which will allow the project to replicate in other communities as well. AWHHE is ready to provide the necessary information, experience and skills for application of the project results and components of the project in other programs. The organization is open to cooperation and the lessons learned to share.
The project will produce the following results:
1. National and local governing bodies are informed through advocacy letters (signatures attached)
2. At least in 4 rural communities business models on safe management of harmful chemical substances (including POPs) have been introduced and tested.
3. At least in 4 rural communities agricultural centers and small productions of plant tinctures are available.
4. At least 500 people have raised awareness on safe management of POPs and toxic chemicals and their alternatives.
5. At least 20 local trained trainers have been trained on the Armenian version of GEF SGP Module on POPs and granted a certificate.
6. The study results of the influence of biohumus produced from different organic wastes and applied in different agricultural crops sowing areas are available.
7. A clip on biohumus production from industrial organic waste and the peculiarities of the use of biohumus is available.
8. 60 villagers have increased their knowledge through special trainings.
9. The members of 6 rural communities have increased their awareness on proper management of toxic chemicals and their sustainable alternatives and have gained experience in fruit and vegetable drying.
10. Agricultural centers and small productions of plant tinctures are established for wider application of sustainable approaches in 4 target villages. They are provided with necessary tools, equipment and materials.
11. 12 solar dryers are installed in target rural communities. The long term stable income of at least 15 households is ensured.
12. Farmer Field Schools are established in 3 target communities.
13. Within the framework of the project corresponding information materials are published. 4 articles are published in regional newspapers.