ADVANCED RURAL DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE (ARDI)
ARDI is a 5-year program funded by the US Agency for International Development. Launched in September 2013, the program aims to increase rural employment by tackling constraints to rural economic development of select rural communities in the Syunik, Vayots Dzor and Lori marzes (provinces) of Armenia. The program will support interventions in three main rural economic sectors/Value Chains involving Dairy Processing, Fruit Processing and Rural Tourism.
- Increase incomes and improve livelihoods of around 5,000 people from 12 clusters of rural communities (48 communities);
- Build the capacity of at least 500 (potential) entrepreneurs specifically youth and women;
- Create 125 startup businesses of which 100 will be youth/women business startups;
- Additionally support 15 existing businesses including rural cooperatives;
- Over 1000 short and long term employment will be created as a result of the program.
Program Components and Objectives
The Local Economic Development component increases the use of best practices and methodologies among stakeholders for building rural community-based economic development and entrepreneurship through:
- Identification and promotion of community competitive advantages
- Promotion of market access
- Promotion of entrepreneurship
- Promotion of good governance.
The Small Scale Infrastructure development component applies participatory eight-step Infrastructural Planning and Implementation (IPI) methodology to:
- Improve community infrastructure and promote increased construction employment
The Rural Environmental Protection component identifies solutions to mitigate environmental pressures on the community and thus contributes to the sustainability of community economy, through:
- Increased awareness and knowledge of environmental issues in the target communities and respective mitigation measures
Fuller Center for Housing Armenia and Heifer Project International Armenian Branch Office.
Community Competitiveness Analysis: ARDI identifies and maps the competitive advantages of communities, existent marketing opportunities and underserved markets related to the competitive areas.
Program Implementation Phases
Value Chain (VC) Assessments: ARDI identifies specific issues in the high potential VCs of target community. Based on the results of these assessments communities develop operational plans to address the main constraints of each VC.
Non-Financial support: The program offers technical assistance in the form of consultancy and trainings on topics related to entrepreneurship and small business development, as well as builds the capacity of VC players to reach markets.
Financial support: ARDI invests in economic activities that contribute to local economic growth and employment. This includes small grants in support of community based economic activities of youth and women startups and capital investments to support cooperative approaches.
Infrastructural Development and Environmental Protection: The program improves community infrastructure and creates increased construction employment taking into account potential adverse environmental impact of program activities.
Evaluation: ARDI applies sound performance monitoring and evaluation approaches which serve as critical instruments for program management.
“ARDI program is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this publication are the responsibility of ARDI and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.”