BUILDING BRIDGES THAT CONNECT MASSACHUSETTS TO YEREVAN

It all started when a couple of years ago #Bridge4CSOs pro-bono expert, professor Michael Aghajanian, came to Armenia and witnessed himself the great potential of our Armenian Civil Society Organizations.

In 2017, the group of Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) students, who had worked on improving Eye Care Delivery Through Data Sharing Technology with the Armenian Eye Care Project, won the President’s IQP Award.

This year, Michael has once again created the opportunity, that allowed his Worcester Polytechnic Institute students in Massachusetts, to travel to Armenia in six interdisciplinary teams to solve problems or needs that lie at the intersection of science and society, by closely working with six different Armenian projects and CSOs.

The six projects and their respective sponsors were:

-  Marketing an Art Education application for the Modern Age with EIVA Arts Foundation

-  Incorporating Childhood games into the Memory Club Program with Orran General Benevolent NGO, Homeland Development Initiative Foundation (HDIF), and Alzheimer’s Care Armenia (ACA)

-  Expanding Childhood Education of Eye Care through a Mobile Application with Armenian EyeCare Project (AECP)

-  Extending the Impact of “Technovation” on Armenian School Girls with Women and Information Society NGO

-  Empowering Armenians through Poverty Stoplight with IDeA Foundation, and social workers from Orran NGO, Fund for Armenian Relief, and World Vision

-  Smart Itinerary-Tourism Application with AGBU Armenia

On April 30, the six teams have presented each in 20 minutes an overview of their Interactive Qualifying Projects (IQPs) and what they accomplished in AGBU Armenia Hall, with the presence of guests and project sponsors. The presentations were followed by questions from the audience, which actually led to two-way information exchange, that shed the light on new perspectives and new potential projects to be worked on in the future.

As for Bridge for CSOs, we were lucky enough, to have a small interview with Michael Aghajanian, where he shared how bridge4CSOs helped him connect with the civil society organizations in Armenia.
Michael also stated that this year, with the help of AGBU Armenia and Bridge for CSOs, the projects have exceeded his expectations in terms of being more meaningful and more impactful.

According to Michael, there are no limits to the opportunities from which the students can learn and work to develop solutions to real problems in Armenia.
The next step as an advisor is for Michael to enhance the program and create a follow-up plan after finishing the projects to keep the momentum going. Things in Armenia are getting better every day and people are getting more engaged, therefore Michael believes it’s a wonderful time to be in Armenia and invest our work and energy.

“When things get better, there’s more that we can do rather than less” - Michael Aghajanian