The UNDP GEF’s “Creating Global Environmental Benefits Through Ecological Stakeholder Education and Awareness” project, launched a year ago and implemented by the Public Administration Academy of RA, came to an end.
The project is intended for civil servants and public servants of the Republic of Armenia, given that knowledge of environmental issues is of paramount importance to the state and local authorities, representatives of local authorities, who often face the issue of making environmentally sound and cost-effective decisions. Undoubtedly, the efficient use of natural resources, the creation of a green economy, and the creation of an environmentally friendly environment are a steady guarantee of a healthy and a welfare life. It is clear that this cannot be achieved without environmental education.
Prior to the launch of the Project, for nearly two years, 11 training modules were developed through the efforts of professional specialists, in particular from the American University of Armenia, which became the basis of the course. And in December 2018, the Project was launched. During a year training courses were organized in different regions of the republic and in the city of Yerevan.
On December 24, a final meeting of the project was held at the Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia. Welcoming partners, Rector Arsen Lokyan thanked everyone for their support in the implementation of the Project, their hard work and especially the care they have taken in all matters.
“It was more than just cooperation,” the Rector said. “And the most important achievement is that the beneficiaries of the project have become the carriers of those ideas, and some changes have been made in their behavior.”
Armine Poghosyan, UNDP Technical Task Manager found working with colleagues from the Public Administration Academy not only effective, but also very pleasant considering the links created one of the achievements of the project. She expressed confidence that the Project would continue, and the huge amount of the materials developed would be useful to environmentalists.
Alexander Arakelyan, coordinator of the program “Development of E-learning course on Environmental Education” from the American University of Armenia, mentioned that such trainings are very important for the employees of the public administration system because their decisions have a direct impact on the environment.
Gayande Hovhannisyan, the Project Coordinator and Head of the Professional Education Quality Assurance Department at PAARA, presented the results of the trainings within the framework of the project “Generating global environmental benefits through environmental education and raising awareness of stakeholders”. She spoke about the peculiarities of the training of public servants, noting that their goal was not training environmental specialists, but to change people’s mindset, consciousness and behavior, transferring new knowledge and skills to decision makers at different levels. And the effectiveness of the project is evidenced by the many positive feedbacks from the participants.
Laura Petrosyan, Associate Professor at the Chair of Management of Psychology at PAARA, presented an analysis of the evaluation of the effectiveness of the training, which revealed that for the majority of participants they were interesting, the material was accessible, the scope of their knowledge expanded, and many expressed regret that the course was short, and have offered to continue them.
According to Gevorg Petrosyan, President of Biosofia NGO, environmental issues in our country have always been օn the background, after economic and social issues. He believes that these courses can change that sequence.
The Project summary would be incomplete if the Project beneficiaries were not given a chance to speak on the impressions they got over the Project. Ashot Tserunyan, Head of the Department of Development Programs and Information Technologies at Charentsavan Municipality, assessed the effectiveness of the training from the audience’s point of view. It was especially important that the Project beneficiaries became the bearers of the philosophy that underpinned the course.
Among the trainers was Tamara Babayan, one of the first graduates of the Academy. As a testimony to the effectiveness of the Project, she mentioned how some of the beneficiaries found it difficult to attend the course but then left with greater difficulty.
Environmental issues concern everyone, and answers to not all of the many questions raised during the courses were easy to find. However, all parties involved in the Project are confident that it will continue, and the answers to the remaining unanswered questions will be found.