Project report: women for good governance

Grantee: NGO Center, Armenia 
Project: To promote gender-balanced, needs-responsive local government in targeted communities by establishing a participatory model. 

The programme “Women for good governance”, supported by the BEARR Trust Small Grants Scheme, was implemented by the NGO Center in Armenia. The programme was launched in May 2020. It aimed to promote gender-balanced and needs-based local self-government in target communities through the development of a community-based participatory model. 

It was originally intended to recruit participants from three communities, but due to the great interest in the programme, beneficiaries were recruited from four communities in the Lori region: Dsegh, Dzoragyugh, Mets Parni and Hartagyugh. They were young people over the age of 16 who formed community initiative groups in their communities. 

The first phase of the programme involved online courses in capacity-building. During the training, the participants became familiar with various types and methods of information collecting, a range of research tools, the methods of conducting needs-assessment surveys in their communities. 

During the following two weeks, participants conducted surveys in their communities on community issues, residents’ awareness, local government, and women’s political participation. This was followed by another course on August 22, during which the participants learned to analyse and summarise the results of quantitative surveys. 

Later, the participants prepared gender-sensitive reports based on their analysis of the surveys: they show the difference between men’s and women’s approaches to different community issues. According to the survey conducted in the community of Mets Parni, for example, it became clear that 78% of women and 62% of men are ready to elect a woman mayor. The reports were published on the websites of the relevant communities. 

The second part of the programme consisted of a five-day educational camp for the young people who had actively participated in the programme. It took place in tents at the TUC-Tourism Unique Centre. During the five days of the camp, the participants had practical courses on local government activities, leadership, media literacy, advocacy, and other topics. During the camp, the participants hosted successful women from different spheres: Arpine Hakobyan, President of the NGO Center; Lilit Chitchyan, founder of Chamich Guest House; entrepreneur Karine Ghukasyan, member of the Vanadzor Council of Elders; Anna Yeghoyan, expert on Youth Work and Youth Policy; Ani Samsonyan, member of the Armenian National Assembly; and Hermine Gasaparyan, head of the Development Programmes, Tourism and Analysis Department of the Regional Administration. They told the participants about their own experiences and how they had got to be where they are, encouraged them to be brave and enterprising, to believe in their own strength, and to continue to educate themselves in order to achieve their goals and make the desired changes. 

As part of the programme, videos encouraging women and girls were made with the participation of the women hosted at the camp, and these were published on the Facebook page of the NGO Center. “In order to have a strong society and a strong state, strong citizens are needed, and women are more than half of the citizens. We need to trust our forces more because we are stronger than we think. We should not wait for change, but create change ourselves,” said Hermine Gasparyan, head of the Development Programmes, Tourism and Analysis department of the Lori Regional Administration. 

In the last part of the project, the participants met with local government representatives of the beneficiary communities and presented their research. With support from mentors, they also developed a package of suggestions, which they presented to local government representatives to be included in the annual work plans of the communities. Some of them have already been included in the annual work plans. 

As part of the project, the NGO Center also signed a memorandum of cooperation with the municipalities of the beneficiary communities to increase the involvement of local residents, create equal opportunities for men and women and adapt the activities implemented in the community to the needs of both sexes. 

All photos by NGO Center.

Contact details:
Vahe Khachikyan 
Project Manager, NGO Center

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