Information boards and street signs will be installed in Martuni by area youth

Декабрь 1, 2017

On November 17th, the Martuni Youth Bank, in collaboration with the Martuni City Hall, held a community development grants ceremony to celebrate the Martuni Youth Bank member projects that have recently been awarded grant funding. Out of nearly 20 project proposals from Martuni area youth, The Martuni Youth Bank committee selected 5 to support, namely «Information Boards» and «Street Signs that Speak.”

Martuni Youth Bank committee member, Sergey Hayrapetyan, describes the process: «In July, we announced that we were accepting project applications. After we reviewed the submission, we made our preliminary selection and interviewed the applicants.» After the interviews, the committee members assessed the programs according to specific criteria: «We give value to the ideas that go beyond just the solution to the issue, because the programs (Youth Bank supports) require young people to be involved, the project to be realistic, and that it serves a community need. And this year, we added another component, the level of LSG-citizen partnership, or in other words, the role of local self-government (LSG) in implementing the project.»

Although the 5 projects were selected by the Martuni Youth Bank committee, the final approval had to come from the Youth Bank donor organization, the Eurasian Partnership Foundation (EPF).

«In October, all 9 of Armenia’s youth banks gathered in Yerevan, where we presented our project applications, as well as our selections. Afterwards, we discussed how to change and strengthen these projects, before we made our final decision,» Suren Ghazaryan explained, another member of the Martuni Youth Bank committee.

It was eventually decided that 2 of Martuni’s projects would receive grant funding. EPF typically awards 90,000AMD per project, but based on the needs of these programs, that amount was increased.

Pictured above is the site of the grant award ceremony, which was held at Martuni City Hall. According to the coordinator of the Martuni Youth Bank, Liana Hovhannisyan, this location was not chosen by accident: «Since these two projects will be implemented in Martuni with the assistance of the local government, we decided to hold the ceremony in City Hall where we could present the programs to the local government bodies.»

Taguhi Karapetyan, the author of the «Information Boards» proposal, said in her presentation that she planned to solve more than just one community issue with this idea.

«There are only 1-2 locations that post announcements within the city, and they’re only along the central streets, which not all residents have access to. By putting up information boards in all the districts of the city, it will promote the free dissemination of information.» Taguhi adds that the boards will have a clear purpose and use, stating, “we will post the agenda of (city) council meetings and (government) decisions, but we consider the primary use be sharing ​​utility and services information.” For example, Taguhi mentioned using the information boards to post garbage pickup information, include streets and times, as well as a phone number for residents to call if the truck doesn’t come that day.

The author of the «Street Signs that Speak» program, David Baghdasaryan, says that the idea came from personal experience, when trying to help non-locals find a street address. The street signs in Martuni aren’t always noticeable (or even posted), and locals don’t typically use street names when giving directions or explaining a location. Also, some people may not know the street names, and most don’t understand why the streets received those names to begin with.

«Although there are signs on the main streets, few of us notice or use them. For example, if someone is walking down Artsakh street, they’ll say they are near someone’s house, instead of using the street name. This project will try to make the names of the streets more noticeable and attention grabbing so that all will know that the street is called Proshyan, Tumanyan, Komitas or Gr. Naregatsi,» Davit explained, adding that in addition to the street signs, “the name of the famous person will be painted with a description or quote, allowing the signs to actually be ‘speaking.’»

The Martuni Youth Bank has awarded 112,500AMD to the “Information Boards” program, in order to produce 5 information boards across Martuni. The amount awarded to the «Street Signs that Speak» program is 109,000AMD, in order to produce 25 of these new street signs. It should be noted that the program budget does not provide wages, all labor is voluntary and the amount is only directed towards buying the needed materials and supplies. The local government body will also assist in the installation of all the information boards and street signs.

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The Community Development Grants Program provided by the Martuni Youth Bank is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in the framework of the Public Partnership Local Self-Government (HAMA) program.