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Project "SOS Culture: Saving Endangered Cultural Assets in Remote Regions of Armenia and Georgia by Involving Local Youth in Their Preservation"
Countries participating in the project
Duration: 24 months
Abandoned churches, and ruined monasteries, neglected medieval dwelling caves, lorn burial grounds and prehistoric cult sites…There is a lot of neglected cultural assets scattered in remote areas of the South Caucasus but only those passionate about culture will hear their distress call. It was this cry for care and attention that compelled activists from the Armenian Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets to launch, together with Georgian partners, their SOS Culture project. The Project’s idea of registering and preserving endangered cultural assets in remote border regions of the two countries with involvement of local citizenry found a succinct expression in its slogan: “Crossing borders to save, preserve and care.”
The approach of the SOS Culture project rooted in the conception of a tremendous positive impact that well-preserved and explored historic sites would have on human environment and prospects of sustainable economic and social development of remote and impoverished regions. The Project relied on active involvement of young (aged between 14 and 23) residents of different national and ethnic origins living in the target areas of Armenia and Georgia and sought their engagement in protection and research of historical and cultural assets from various epochs, religions and styles in areas of their residence. That way SOS Culture activists wanted to advocate the premise that cultural assets do belong to all and everyone regardless of their nationality, religion or language and that local residents living nearby such asset should be the first who cares about and preserves it. The conviction was distilled in the form of a new approach to and knowledge about local cultural assets introduced through a number of youth clubs established locally in the framework of the Project.
OBJECTIVES & EXPECTED RESULTS:
To improve the conservation of and raise awareness for the neglected, ignored and endangered culture assets in the border areas of Georgia and Armenia.
Empowering local villagers to estimate values of nearby monuments and create a strong sense of ownership, especially among youth.
To promote inter-cultural cross-border dialogue including minorities and fostering democracy, civil society and equal access to culture.
Youth empowering re. local culture assets.
To raise tourists interest for the culture assets in the project region.
To improve pedagogical capacity and practical skills of local teachers, youth leaders and other representatives of educational institutions in order to establish a sustainable working mechanism for the SOS Culture activities reaching beyond the project time-frame.
To create an interactive SOS Culture website and database as a hub for cooperation.
Milestones / Results:
Grass-route level - video-photo database of min. 10 culture objects in the GE-AM border region, DVD with short films about those culture assets, SOS Culture website, 200 young villagers trained in photo and video skills and historic assets documentation;
Multiplier level - info campaign, 2 workshops for educators of different levels, youth leaders, a manual for teachers developed, educational material for children and youth developed; maps for hiking tourist and culture sites developed.
- FOUNDATION FOR THE PRESERVATION OF WILD LIFE AND CULTURAL ASSETS (Armenia)
- dvv international Regional Office for Caucasus and Turkey (Georgia)
- Research on Armenian Architecture NGO (RAA) (Armenia)