Yerevan – On October 6, 2011, the USAID-funded Alternative Resources in Media project wrapped up the results of the “School Blog” (Dprocakan Blog) project, highlighting its accomplishments and presenting the most active bloggers and best story-writers with certificates and awards.
Launched in March 2011, the “School Blog” was a six-month initiative, allowing school children from Yerevan and other towns of Armenia to acquire blog writing skills and use this new media tool to voice their thoughts, observations and concerns about school life. Topics included relationships between teachers and students, violence, discrimination in grading, love and friendship. Administered by journalist Anna Muradyan, the blog quickly gained popularity, now featuring over 270 blog posts and boasting some 10,000 visitors a month.
Not only does the blog give school children the opportunity and platform to share their views and experiences with their peers, but also to voice serious community challenges. Furthermore, there are signs that some of these postings can lead to real solutions. For example, a posting on poor sanitary conditions in the school already attracted the attention of the Ministry of Education which has pledged to look into the matter.
The finalists of the “School Blog” project received certificates and monetary awards, and the first place winner, Robert Petrosian, received a netbook for being the “boldest and most active blogger.”
During the event, the jury also announced the names of the winners of the “Ulysses” short story writing competition, which was held within the framework of the “School Blog” project. Twenty-four authors had submitted 37 stories for the competition. First place winner Mané Gevorgyan received the Armenian translation of James Joyce’s famous novel “Ulysses” for her winning short story “The Open Door.” Books of contemporary Armenian writers were presented to the six finalists, while the stories of Mané Gevorgyan, Rubina Davtyan and Tatev Derzian will be published in “Hetq” newspaper. In addition, the authors of the most read and most commented stories received 4GB USB flash drives.
The head of USAID Armenia Democracy and Governance Office, Stephen Brager, and USAID project management specialist Anahit Khachatryan joined partners in congratulating the winners of the two competitions and encouraged youth to keep sharing their stories and opinions and serve as citizen journalists for their communities and peers.
The “School Blog” project was implemented by the Eurasia Partnership Foundation within the Alternative Resources in Media project, with the support of “Hetq” online newspaper and World Vision Armenia.