Building Organic Agriculture in Armenia (BOAA)
''Building Organic Agriculture in Armenia; Improving the knowledge and skills of organic stakeholders through participatory curriculum development and outreach (BOAA)''
Project partner: University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU)
Project dates: 1st of March 2017-29th of February 2020
Project objective: to contribute to the transdisciplinary development of organic agriculture in Armenia by preparing organic agriculture professionals through participatory curriculum development and outreach.
Organic agriculture is a priority sector under Armenia’s “2010-2020 Sustainable Strategy Program for Agricultural and Rural Development” program. Sector development attempts in Armenia have been taken about 2 decades ago through active participation of local NGOs and strong assistance from international organizations. Organic Agriculture Support Initiative (OASI) needs assessment study that was implemented in 2016 revealed the needs of organic stakeholders in Armenia, current capacities of the sector and proposed sector development strategy. One of the most urgent needs highlighted during the study was the lack of professionals armed with up-to-date knowledge in organic agriculture. To fulfill this need, ''Building Organic Agriculture in Armenia'' project has been initiated with the support from Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) through the Austrian Partnership Programme in Higher Education and Research for Development (APPEAR) project. The project is collaboratively implemented by Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU), International Center for Agribusiness Research and Education (ICARE) Foundation and University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU). Outcome of the project is transdisciplinary development and implementation of Organic Agriculture Master's Program at Armenian National Agrarian University. The project implementation goes through 3 phases:
Phase 1: Stakeholder need assessment through focus group discussions and in-depth interviews. The results of the study will be used to develop a curriculum that is based on the needs revealed. Establishment of stakeholder steering committee with the aim of ensuring participatory approach of curriculum development which is place-based and applicable.
Phase 2: Development of organic agriculture master's program curriculum which will be done through active participation of stakeholder committee members. Training of ANAU instructors in organic agriculture theory and practice and innovative teaching methods.
Phase 3: Finalization of organic agriculture master's program curriculum and dissemination of the program. Lessons learnt from the training by BOKU University will be directly invested into the program. Project dissemination will be implemented through launching a project website, through newspaper articles, student outreach events and public television broadcast.