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Milena Patvakanyan: Ambassador of the “Friends of Sevan” programme 

17-year-old Milena Patvakanyan is the Ambassador of the “Friends of Sevan” programme in the Gegharkunik Region. The programme operates within the EU4SEVAN project, which enhances environmental protection and water quality in Lake Sevan. For Milena, it is important to raise awareness, specifically among young people, to protect the environment of Lake Sevan. 

As an Ambassador, she promotes ways to protect Lake Sevan while sharing ideas with young people and helping them learn about agriculture, ecotourism, sustainable waste management and solutions. She also takes part in the programme tours that aim to help students see the problems that the lake faces. For Milena being an Ambassador is a challenging and responsible role since she is from the region that faces the direct effects of the environmental damages of Sevan.

Lake Sevan is the biggest body of water in the Caucasus region and is valuable to the region.  The economy thrives from fishing and agriculture activities in Gegharkunik. Besides lake provides a significant amount of water for irrigation. “Although being a touristic spot, the lake and its surroundings are polluted and in danger”, says Milena while sharing the details of the meetings with the young people in her region. Since becoming an Ambassador of the “Friends of Sevan” programme she took part in many zoom and in-person meetings where people discussed the problems of Lake Sevan and solutions to protect the lake and environment. During the meetings, they discuss ways to de-pollute and clean it.  Their aim is for the areas around the lake to bloom and become greener.

Milena truly enjoys her role as an Ambassador of the “Friends of Sevan” while cleaning the water and sharing the importance of those actions with others. She likes to help and wants to protect the environment around the lake.  When she takes part in cleaning Lake Sevan, she feels motivated, and it is very rewarding. Milena came up with a project called “Awareness Raising Hiking Club”. It is for people from neighbouring villages to clean the water and area around Lake Sevan. She would like to inform not only the village people but everyone about the problems and solutions for the lake. “The Instagram page is @irazekoghneri_arshavakan_akumb, and the Facebook page informs the community and invites people to help clean Lake Sevan. People can contribute, give their input and suggestions, and make a difference. It is essential that people are aware of and understand the importance of caring for the environment and protecting Lake Sevan’’, concludes Milena Patvakanyan.