reArmenia: A Collaborative Platform for All

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YEREVAN — The 2020 Artsakh war took away so much from Armenians. Whether it was the lives of brave soldiers, the homes of the Armenians of Artsakh, or the sacred sites of Armenian Christianity, these immense losses, though devastating, amplified the Armenian people’s need to unify across all fronts for the betterment of the country. Unfortunately, much of that motivation was lost after the war and the necessary efforts and initiatives to prepare for a better future are not being completed. Reasons for this range from distrust of institutions and lack of transparency to challenges in connecting with the people and areas of most need. While many nonprofits coordinated successful fundraisers and efforts to provide aid, for many people interested in contributing their skills or collaborating on projects, there was still no obvious place to do so. reArmenia, however, hopes to change that.

reArmenia CEO Gevorg Poghosyan speaking with the press about the initiative.

reArmenia is the first Armenian platform dedicated not only to fundraising for existing initiatives, but also for bringing together those passionate about new projects to create teams and providing a framework for teams already working to invite on new collaborators.

Originally the creation of the Tufenkian Foundation, reArmenia aims to fuse knowledge, experience, and the network of all Armenian people.

“We all know people can donate money, but that’s just one way to help,” explained reArmenia’s communications influencer Natella Avanesyan, “Many Armenians have the skills and desires to help in a non-monetary way, but no place to do so.” And this is truly where reArmenia really distinguishes itself.

Gayane Gevorgyan, Campaign Manager for the Hakobavank Revival Project

The platform is currently divided in two branches: fundraiser and collaborations. A fundraiser is an existing effort which has a team, plan and budget, and is directly seeking fundraising through the organization’s website. An initiative, on the other hand, seeks people to help with their knowledge and experience, and has the potential to become a project — though not all collaborations necessarily need money or fundraising. The process for joining a team is rather simple; all opportunities are listed on their webpage, and a potential contributor can look through for a topic or position of interest, and then connect directly with the team to see if there is a fit. If someone is interested in creating their own initiative or hosting their project on the platform, likewise they can apply through the website. reArmenia considers all types of fundraiser/collaborations except for ones on military and political issues. This decision is intentionally made due to the fact that it is an apolitical organization and for security reasons, a proposal related to the military cannot be made transparent to the standard they hold.

Photograph of Hakobavank, a 7th century monastery complex located in Artsakh currently seeking funds on reArmenia’s platform.

One project launching soon is the Hakobavank Revival, which is seeking funds to restore a seventh-century monastery complex in Artsakh. Once the seat of a catholicos in the 13th century, Hakobavank is on par with Dadivank and Gandzasar in terms of religious and cultural significance in Artsakh. Currently, due to years of neglect, the monastery is on the verge of collapse, and a dedicated team is hoping to gather the finances to restore it. Gayane Gevorgyan, who joined the effort in its earlier stages, currently serves as the campaign manager.

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“When I first heard about Hakobavank after the war, I of course was very concerned since we all see the cultural erasure happening in Artsakh. It happened to be that my line of work is in marketing and communications, the project needed a campaign manager … it was just the right fit.”

And that is exactly the type of outcome reArmenia is trying to achieve — connecting the dots between projects, people and causes of mutual interest.

 

Beyond solving the institutional void of providing a collaboration platform, reArmenia prides itself on a rigorous review process. The stringent screening provides both participants and potential donors with reassurance that a legitimate collaboration is being undertaken. It includes 5 steps detailed on the reArmenia website, which ensure that the project/initiative is legal, safe, provides an impactful solution, and is actually brought to completion. The Advisory Board in particular serves an interesting role, as it brings together Armenian prominent professionals to review each proposal, with an industry professional from each of the 14 sectors ensuring proposals in their field of expertise is up to par and achievable. Addressing the issue of transparency, another important requirement of reArmenia, all fundraisers and collaborations must provide 2 public monthly reports documenting use of finances and progress. The teams are obligated to provide updates until project completion – something not always readily available through other platforms. Donors are also provided with the opportunity to see project pages, openly invited to see where their contributions have directly gone to and have the ability to communicate with project leaders.

The team running reArmenia itself is small but mighty, with roughly 20 core members, as well as others volunteering to run the platform. Even the Advisory Board positions are filled by experts on a voluntary basis. But this has not stopped them or their platform from growing. Since their launch at the end of October, reArmenia has received more than 100 applications, with 14 already verified through their approval process. As for their ultimate goal, reArmenia hopes to unite Armenians everywhere and be a trusted place for effective collaboration. The CEO of reArmenia, Gevorg Poghosyan, emphasized that the platform is not only for collaboration, i.e., investing human capital and creating new assets for Armenia, but also about raising funds for providing aid or “solving problems” in Armenia. “An ecosystem will grow around the platform to the point where all kinds of different organizations and people will come together to collaborate and solve the problems with joint efforts. And when we scale big enough, we will see more and more ‘wins’ thanks to organic growth of the reArmenia community.”

As of today, reArmenia’s biggest hurdle is to gain broader recognition, gain the trust of potential donors and reach those who can offer human capital as well as the desire to contribute to Armenia. For those interested, projects currently verified and seeking funds and/or collaborators can be found on the reArmenia website at the following link: https://www.rearmenia.com/en/ .

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