Sona Koshetsyan, the executive director of the Ayb Educational Foundation, talks about the new culture of partnership. Next we will present the organizations that, sharing our ideas, have participated in our projects.
Pro Bono: Is This Familiar?
Pro bono (short for the Latin phrase "pro bono publico") partnership is a type of collaboration where two organizations find common interests of cooperation in the context of goals or strategies that actually differ from the sponsorship—both partners invest their professional resources in supporting each other. Such partnership is common to business and non-profit organizations, which are united with one non-profit goal. When it comes to sponsorship, it is often believed that you give money and step aside, but in case of pro bono partnership, both organizations learn from each other and grow together, which is a very enriching experience for both of them.
Such partnership is developing quite rapidly all over the world, and I am very glad that the idea of the importance of supporting non-profit organizations also develops in Armenia.
Why Support Non-profit Organizations?
In the developed world, non-profit organizations are the third sector of the economy where the trinity of business, government and non-profit organizations functions clearly. Non-profit organizations target their flexible professional resources toward addressing the gaps that are usually beyond the reach of either the government or business. Effective procedures, conducted for a number of important purposes, are initiated and implemented by exactly non-profit organizations in various fields, i.e. the environment, human rights, education, etc. Also, supporting a non-profit organization means to support the state and public.
The previous year and the pandemic showed that all countries have gaps in the field of education, which started to be filled in the most flexible and the fastest way by different professional organizations. More and more people started thinking about the quality of education. Does it provide a certain benchmark or not? What can be done to make it better? Numerous educational resources on preferential terms became accessible to every student and teacher, thereby contributing to the improvement of the overall quality of education.
Ayb as an Advocate of New Partnership
As a foundation we not only carry out activities in our professional field but also try to bring a new culture to Armenia in view of partnership relations, foundations' work, transparency and trust. At the time when accountability might have seemed strange to some organizations, we always published both the program and financial reports; thus I’m hopeful we have set an example of how the foundation should work and be accountable to its beneficiaries. Maybe this very approach that we have adopted has built trust in us. And our goals have become important not only for our direct beneficiaries but also for a number of partner organizations.
Last year was quite active for us in terms of pro bono partnership. One of our most important platforms, which was provided to us as a support, allowed us to introduce a brand-new product to our beneficiaries. It is the online platform for mass competitions․ Thanks to that partnership, our competitions once again became available to thousands of children. Moreover, it wasn't the only example. As part of the Goodwill Dinner project, our partners support us so we can replenish our scholarship fund with small investments and provide children with an opportunity to study at Ayb school. Currently we are working on the branding of Ayb’s 15th anniversary—still with the involvement of a pro bono partner, in two teams—for implementing this project.
I’m very hopeful that this experience will not only be common to us but also serve as an example for the whole sector. I also hope to see more partnerships of this kind for the benefit of the public good.