Water & Youth exchange project
Armenia, 2005

Water & Youth Water & Youth

Report of the project, September 16, 2005 by Tabitha:

On the 23rd of August a group of seven Dutch youth, ages in between 20 and 26 got on a plane to Yerevan. Not the most logical place to go for a holiday and indeed, that was not were we were going. We participated in an international youth exchange on water issues in Stepanavan, a lush, green  Paradise in the North of Armenia.
Twenty-eighth people from Armenia, Georgia, Greece and the Netherlands gathered during nearly one week to exchange their national struggles with water safety, too much water or a lack of water. A wide variety of topics passed the conference rooms. From global climate change to Dutch dykes, from medicinal Georgian spring water to the pollution of the Debed river that flows from Armenia into Georgia. The days were filled with water.
Though water was our main theme during these days, we also found time to see some of the beauty of the Lori region, while visiting a weather station & the environmental impact monitoring center in Vanadzor. Some of Armenia’s ancient culture we witnessed on our visits to the Lori Bed fortress near Stepanavan and the Sanahin Monestry further up north.
Apart from information we also learned some things about our different cultures. We now love Georgian Khadjapuri, practiced Armenian dancing (how come all people from Caucasus have such a splendid sense of rhythm and gracefull moving??), tried some Dutch energizers (sharks all over the place ;-)) and tried some excellent Greek barbecue.
A week to remember. At our last day, we tried to contribute to the local environment. Unfortunately, due to the rain it was not possible to exercise our original plan, a clean up (of waste) in the nearby river. However, we did not want to leave without making a little statement. So we painted a new type of traffic signs, to remind people to take their trash home and not leave it lingering around the picknick places near the river.
Though there are many differences between our different nations and between us young people from different cultures ourselves, we found we had a lot in common. Regardless of our different backgrounds, we all share a common hope; let us work and face the environmental problems together. Exchanges such as these all send us back home with renewed passion and inspiration to work towards a more sustainable world.

Press release, August 28 2005

Action in Stepanavan: worried International Youth cleaning the river Dzoraget

Stepanavan, Armenia. On Sunday 28th of August the gorgeous town of Stepanavan in the north of Armenia will see some rare activity: a clean up action. From August 24 till 30 a group of nearly 30 youngsters age 16-25 will meet in the beautiful Lori region, to discuss international and local issues of water management. But just talking does not solve any problems. Therefor the whole group, joined by local volunteers will spent one afternoon collecting waste in and around of the river Dzoraget.

Youth from not only Armenia but also Georgia, Greece and the Netherlands will join in the meeting “Water and Youth” organised by the Stepanavan Youth Centre in cooperation with the European Commission and NGOs from the other participating countries.

Aim of the meeting is to exchange knowledge on a varied number of topics related to the world’s most important resource: water. While the international news is filled with news on oil and other fossils becoming scarce, little do we realize that there is no life without clean water.

All countries joined in this project have their own problems related to water. The Netherlands, a country below sealevel, is facing the permanent threat of too much water and needs protection by a costly system of dykes and pumps in order not to dissapear. Greece on the other hand is facing a lack of water in a number of its regions. Armenia and Georgia are facing pollution of water resources.

The youth will not only focuss on their national problems only, but also discuss topics such as the effects of global warming and climate change. Study visits will be made to the hydrological station, the Botanical Garden, the poluted wetlands near the river Debed and an excursion to the Environmental Impact Monitoring Centre in Vanadzor. Though the topics of the meeting are quite serious, we are sure we will also enjoy our time in Armenia.  All organizing members are very happy to see such an event taking place in Stepanavan. We expect all participants and interested people to benefit from the exchange of knowledge and experiences. Getting to know other people from different cultures opens the door to a more beautiful and understanding world.

People wanting to join the river clean up and interested press can contact the Stepanavan Youth Centre at 091547288, 025622023 for more information.

See you on Sunday!