Filed under: Development 2.0 Social inclusion Social innovation

QR code for Mardamej Reload - social innovation camp in Armenia

Tomorrow, UNDP in Armenia will host Mardamej reload (in Armenian). Once again, this festival of co-creation is teaming up with Social Innovation Camp Ltd to deliver six projects identified, designed and implemented by volunteers.

The deadline for submissions closed last weekend and we had an even greater response than last year: 75 ideas!

As usual, the itch workshops were central to getting beyond the “usual suspects.”  But this year, we didn’t deliver them all ourselves. Some of the participants from last year’s event volunteered to spread the Mardamej spirit.

With the extra time this freed up, we held a Creative Game (pdf) with civil society organizations (CSOs), the Government and the corporate social responsibility team from Orange Armenia. The event enabled us to think in detail about the issue of corruption with those that work at the coal-face of service delivery.

The Creative Game discussions were very abstract – and not entirely action-oriented.  But I’ll reserve judgment until I receive the facilitator’s report. One positive outcome of the event is that we confirmed participants from the Ministries of Health, Education and Finance in the Social Innovation Camp.

The Creative Game also stimulated a few additional submissions for the Mardamej: Reload 2012 / Social Innovation Camp.

Since the deadline, the jury has been evaluating the submissions, and chose six ideas to be developed at the event this weekend.

Before we delve further into the selected ideas, I thought I’d offer an update from one of last year’s projects.


Gayane Mirzoyan, the director of TaghInfo (in Armenian), was busy training another group of budding citizen journalists last week on our premises.

It’s great to see one of the projects from last year’s event continuing to thrive.  I never cease to be amazed by what young people can achieve if given a little encouragement and a few resources.

During the opening of Mardamej: Reload 2012, Gayane will present her project and talk about the challenges she has encountered over the past year.


So, based on the submissions, the jury selected:

1.       David Dadalyan, “University Monitoring or I don’t have any spare money”

The project will monitor corruption in universities by mapping students’ experiences of the phenomenon. The data will be shared with the Ministry of Education and Science as well as other stakeholders.

2.       Yeghiazar Davtyan, “Didn’t get my medicine”

The resource will enable consumers of public health care services to report delays or failures to provide prescribed medicines. Inefficiencies will be reported on the website and shared with the Ministry of Health.

3.       Seda Muradyan, “Corruption Tree”

The project will monitor potential corruption risks across clusters of services through a step-by-step synopsis of the process, as opposed to examining discrete interactions.  The user will receive advice on how best to navigate the system.

4.       Khachik Shahzadyan, “Kindergarten Monitoring”

A ratings portal for kindergartens will allow parents to evaluate pre-school services provided to their children based on an array of indicators. The information will be shared with the Ministry of Education in order to inform policy development.

5.       Sara Khojoyan, “From my pocket”

The platform will present the state budget in a digestible format for citizens and offer a user-friendly debate forum on public resource allocations. The platform will include animations, infographics and user-generated content.

6.       Anna Sahakyan, “Virtual Blood Bank”

The current Armenian blood registry is a paper-based system. The team proposes to create a unified web-based system which will improve coordination and screening, as well as engage new blood donors.

The home stretch

This week we’ve been meeting with the ideas owners to get a sense of what they’ll need at the event, such as expertise, hardware, software…

A big lesson we learned last year was about the need to foster an enabling environment for the projects.

The Government delegates were very active during the Creative Game so we are hopeful for the SICamp itself.

Stay in the loop over the coming weekend by following @mardamej, @sicamp, @lurglomond and watch this blog for updates after Reload.


Want to run a social innovation camp?

Armenia held its first social innovation camp, Mardamej, last year in November 2011, and they made this video for others who are interested in organizing similar events.