New non-profit platform ONEArmenia’s online crowd-funding campaign to build a clean water system in Nagorno Karabagh is speeding toward its deadline, with 3 days left to raise $22,000.
ONEArmenia Leads Movement Toward Transparent Giving
New York funding platform uses online crowd-funding and social media marketing to modernize humanitarian projects and shine a light on change-makers in Armenia.
NEW YORK—As Armenia’s preparations for next month’s presidential election go into full swing, citizens and the expansive diaspora are asking questions–some new, some old–about what sort of policy change it would take to dramatically improve the state of the country. With multi-sector corruption and extreme socio-economic disparities continuously driving out its dwindling population in droves, Armenia is still struggling to adapt to democratic capitalism over 20 years since the fall of the USSR in the early 1990s.
Nevertheless, there is change taking place in the country, and much of it is driven by enterprising citizens who are taking cues from grassroots movements all over the world to advocate for justice and equity from the ground up. The current fight against mining in the Teghut forest, for instance, has brought the state of Armenia’s environment to the forefront for the first time, while human rights, freedom of expression, military transparency and economic equality are also pushed for by a dedicated activist core.
Non-profit funding platform ONEArmenia was founded in September 2012 to stand side-by-side with these individuals and the organizations they represent, using social media and crowd-funding to involve anyone with an Internet connection in boosting projects that are geared toward making tangible change in Armenia now. With Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram dominating the marketing world, ONEArmenia has tailored its approach to maximize the influence these massively-trafficked sites have on raising awareness on pertinent issues and bringing people together.
The non-profit is based on its three-pillar commitment to global collaboration, efficiency and transparency. This means that the ONEArmenia network makes it possible to not only raise money for a project based in Armenia as a worldwide community, but to also track the progress of said project with complete access to financial information. ONEArmenia only accepts project proposals from other non-profits with a proven track record, fundraises for approved projects via crowd-funding site IndieGoGo, and then continuously reports on project implementation, process and completion using video, photo and written documentation that is posted publicly online.
Manhattan-based entrepreneur Patrick Sarkissian founded the organization with the intention of bringing Armenia’s progress into the digital age and finding a solution to the growing cynicism around donating to Armenian charities. Well-aware of the numerous occasions where misused funds have halted development and humanitarian initiatives in the country, Sarkissian brought together a team of young Armenian-Americans to establish a funding and reporting model that is, essentially, fool-proof.
ONEArmenia successfully crowd-funded its first project in October, raising over $19,000 in 30 days to renovate a kindergarten in Moshatagh, a remote village in northern Nagorno-Karabagh. The construction is set to begin in spring 2013, and will create educational and employment opportunities for hundreds of families in the area. The project itself was initiated by the Tufenkian foundation, ONEArmenia’s first member organization founded by board member James Tufenkian (of the eponymous boutique hotel and artisanal rug brands).
Their current campaign is also for a project based in Nagorno-Karabakh. Three days are left to meet a $22,000 funding goal to construct a clean water system in and around Karotan village, where a recent outbreak of water-borne illness has forced residents to often travel several kilometers by foot to find potable sources. This effort, along with a consistent social media presence that highlights change-making people and movements in Armenia, is at the forefront of the organization’s operations. With plans to continuously expand its reach and the scope of projects it promotes, ONEArmenia is positioning itself on the cusp of what may very well be a new age in boosting Armenia’s progress.