Forest-adjacent, rural communities in Armenia are often poor and in need of sources of income and jobs. Armenia needs to move from the short term approach of destroying the environment for a few short-term jobs that may last a few years and instead build sustainable economies that will bring in income for generations.
To this end the Tufenkian Foundation is pioneering approaches that provide incentives to protect the fragile nature and use it to generate long-term income for these rural villages. A couple specific projects include:
• Ecotourism—The Tufenkian Foundation helped initiate the Kanach Foundation that published Armenia’s first Western-style adventure guidebook, Adventure Armenia: Hiking and Rock Climbing.
This practical, appealing book helps provide incentives for protecting the remaining beautiful natural areas of the country and helps provide jobs that help rather than harm the environment. See more details on www.kanach.org.
• LEAF (Livelihoods & Environment in Armenia’s Forest communites)—an innovative project developed with Mercy Corps which seeks to restore livelihoods in poor, rural forest-adjacent communities. Aimed to begin in 2007, the project will help identify and support several key economic development projects in key communities and help communities have a more democratic decision-making process to pave the way to a more sustainable relationship with their nearby forests and other natural resources.