COAF SMART is the world’s most innovative initiative for the advancement of rural communities. COAF SMART seeks to empower Armenia’s village youth through resources and opportunities to explore their intellectual curiosities and push the boundaries of the fields of study that compel them. Building on our fifteen-year experience working in communities, COAF aims to increase engagement throughout the Armenian countryside with the opening of our first COAF SMART Center, which opened in May 2018 in Lori Province.
Lori COAF SMART Center
COAF SMART Center Aerial Video
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COAF SMART’s novel holistic approach to rural revitalization focuses on providing modern technological resources, encouraging idea collaboration and maintaining the highest quality instruction standards for critical thinking-based education. Our team works closely with local leaders on all aspects of its implementation. By connecting villages to best practices in education, health, arts and sciences, renewable energy and further issues of local import, COAF SMART collaborates with communities for comprehensive solutions for rural Armenians.
By building capacities and providing access to people and ideas, COAF SMART is a platform for inspiration and pride within village communities. By increasing access, support and resources, the possibilities for rural communities are endless. We believe that COAF SMART can help reverse the effects poverty and provide rural Armenians with access to opportunities to achieve their unique potentials.
COAF’s first SMART Center opened on May 27, 2018 in Lori, a region in Armenia’s mountainous north that still struggles from effects of the devastating earthquake of 1988. The Lori COAF SMART Center is a state-of-the-art campus for education and innovation and is accessible to over 250,000 people of the Lori region via the new M6 highway three minutes away. COAF friend and innovative architect Paul Kaloustian designed the 20,000 square foot building, which will operate as a dynamic “idea acquisition and exchange hub,” to invigorate the children of rural Armenia.
The COAF SMART model is designed to be replicated throughout rural Armenia. In the next ten years, we are implementing a strategic plan to realize a network of COAF SMART Centers, increasing access and empowering communities throughout the nation. Access to digital libraries and resources in robotics & IT, language trainings, arts & music, entrepreneurship, organic agriculture, economic sustainability form the foundation of each center. Each COAF SMART center will also create curriculum and unique initiatives that address the most pressing local issues.
When a COAF SMART Center is not immediately accessible everyday, a COAF SMART Rooms can bring state-of-the-art technology into the everyday classroom. Already established in several schools around the Lori region, SMART Rooms connect more remote communities to the SMART Center, and connects villagers with one another and the world through modern high speed internet connections and the latest teaching technologies. Check out images of the renovated spaces, personal computer workstations, and interactive presentation display tools in some of our operational SMART Rooms located near the Lori SMART Center.
As future COAF SMART Centers are built in regions beyond Lori, COAF Smart Rooms will also be established in surrounding villages that are within an hour’s drive of a SMART CENTER. These rooms will enable connectivity during winter months when road travel can be extremely difficult, ensuring that collaboration between neighboring students and communities flows freely and efficiently.
SMART Rooms are accessible not just to rural youth, but to all members of a surrounding community. COAF offers community educational programs for vital competencies, like English language instruction, as well as offerings tailored to each local community’s needs and resources. We work with community professionals in medicine, social services and other specialized fields, to conduct continuing education trainings, classes and expert discussions using our SMART Rooms.
In addition, as part of our ongoing humanitarian outreach to villages near conflict zones, COAF SMART Safe Rooms provide secure shelter from shelling and other potential use of weapons in areas along the border with Azerbaijan. In the Tavush region for instance where COAF has built 2 SMART Safe Rooms, children and their families are under a daily threat of a flare in hostilities. COAF SMART Safe rooms are providing safe spaces and areas of refuge for children and adults living in battle-torn areas.
With your help we can build more SMART Rooms and bring a secure future to Armenia’s village youth.
What is COAF SMART?
COAF SMART is a novel, comprehensive model for rural development that creates opportunities for rural communities to thrive by opening access to resources. The three pillars of the COAF SMART concept are: providing the newest technological resources, encouraging idea collaboration and maintaining the highest quality teaching for critical educational competencies.
Who will benefit from the COAF SMART?
Children and their families in rural communities will benefit from the COAF SMART concept as they seek to improve their lives amidst economic hardships, limited educational opportunities and a lack of available resources. The emphasis is helping youth, but COAF SMART is meant to transform regions, in turn helping every generation of a community with programs and interventions that reach across demographic groups. As rural communities grow, the positive impact will flow throughout Armenia.
Why build COAF SMART Centers?
COAF SMART Centers will empower youth in rural communities, helping to stem the “brain drain” of emigration witnessed in struggling communities throughout Armenia. Providing rural communities with modern technologies and educational experiences can create lasting transformation and development. This drive for excellence will create dynamic economic, social and entrepreneurship opportunities.
Where is the first COAF SMART Center located?
Our first SMART Center located on a campus of 50 acres in Armenia’s northern Lori region is strategically located in the center of an area still suffering the effects of the 1988 earthquake that claimed 25,000 lives. This first COAF SMART Center will be accessible to over 200,000 villagers from around the region.
What will COAF SMART Centers be used for?
COAF SMART Centers will feature both tailored new offerings as well as proven highly effective programs implemented by COAF over the last decade, including: digital libraries, multi-sensory programs for disabled youth, entrepreneurship training, civic engagement, apprenticeships, health education screenings and environmental and economic programs.
How can I or my organization get involved with the COAF SMART initiative?
We welcome like-minded organizations, businesses, supporters and donors to help us spread the COAF SMART initiative across Armenia. To contact the COAF staff about a collaboration, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. To donate, please click here.
Want to know more about the world’s most innovative initiative for the advancement of rural communities. Stay connected to COAF SMART, and learn about our mission to empower Armenia’s rural youth: