YEREVAN—The Children’s Fund of Armenia and the Japanese Embassy in Armenia on Tuesday signed a grant agreement for the “Lori Province Public Bus Supply Project,” providing assistance of more than 90,000 $ to promote more sustainable transport in Armenia’s Lori region through new disability-friendly buses, an expanded network of transport routes, and the renovation of poor transport infrastructure.
Organized by the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure of RA, the signing ceremony was launched by a series of welcoming speeches by the Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Gnel Sanosyan, the Ambassador of Japan in Armenia Masanori Fukushima and COAF General Manager Korioun Khatchadourian.
The public transport system in Armenia’s northern Lori region is rudimentary and insecure, offering residents access to a ramshackle bus that connects Dsegh and the region’s capital, Vanadzor, only once a day. day without crossing the villages along the road.
The personal initiative of the local bus driver, who replaced the old bus with a new one, coupled with the new state-of-the-art bus provided under this initiative, allows the establishment of a transport system an efficient route that runs hourly, connecting seven communities along the Dsegh-Vanadzor road, with integrated stops at the COAF SMART center in Debet village and the future SMART health center in Dsegh.
The benefits of modernizing the transport system in Lori go well beyond ensuring mobility: the provision of a new bus extends the accessibility of public transport to people with disabilities; improves rural residents’ access to new markets, stimulating competition across the region; and facilitates the transition from private vehicles to public transport, guaranteeing environmentally friendly, safe and economical travel.
In addition, to ensure that local interests and concerns are duly taken into account, COAF, the consolidated community of Pambak and the non-profit community organization (CNO) have focused their efforts on promoting the interests of the community through the interactive exchange of expertise. .
The provision of a developed transport system goes hand in hand with the provision of solid and modern transport infrastructure, including all related equipment such as stop signs displaying real-time information. In 2021, COAF took a successful first step in this direction by constructing a new, well-equipped bus stop in the organisation’s flagship village, the SMART Village, Debet. In the future, the bus stations of four additional communities will be renovated with the potential for further geographic expansion.
The Children of Armenia Fund is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that uses community-based approaches to improve the quality of life in rural areas of Armenia, with a particular focus on children and youth. The areas of development targeted by COAF are education, health, social and economic development. COAF launched its programs in 2004, starting in one village and expanding to 64 villages in Armavir, Aragatsotn, Lori, Gegharkunik, Shirak and Tavush regions, reaching over 107,000 beneficiaries.
Since 2015, COAF has developed and started implementing the SMART initiative. COAF SMART is designed to advance a generation in the rural world through education that will benefit individuals, societies and the environment. As an exemplary model of development, COAF SMART will be replicated in other regions and communities across Armenia. The first COAF SMART center was inaugurated on May 27, 2018, near the village of Debet, Lori region.