Empowering women to engage effectively in governance
I've just got back from the field visits and a day working with lilit, the Project Manager for Bridge of Hope - Oxfam's implementing partner in Armenia. You can see Lilit at https://raisinghervoice.ning.com/video/raising-her-voice-in-armenia - Lilit talks about the project in Armenia.
Before I came to Armenia, I wasn't quite sure how all the elements of the project fitted together. I knew about the work on disability as well as a media club for young people, setting up women's advocacy groups and youth advocacy groups. I could see the value of each component - but I wasn't sure how they linked.
Having met and listened to the youth advocacy group, the media club for young people and the women's advocacy group, I have developed a much better idea of the linkages. In a word, it is citizenship. The women are becoming active and effective citizens. The first three women have been elected to their municipalities. Three doesn't seem like a lot - but previously there weren't any AND when the women tried to get elected, men reacted and mobilised to stop women from being elected. So this is a huge achievement. The women are already talking about the next elections and they believe change is possible. The members of the youth advocacy group are incredibly active. They are in touch with other groups. They have met the Mayor and told him what they liked and didn't like about the municipallity (to his surprise!). They are developing ideas and presenting them. They were articulate, engaged and very mature. They are becoming active citizens and they are certainly engaged. They are also challenging the status quo - why are all the decision makers men (for example). Bridge of Hope has convinced the authorities to give them funds to provide services for disabled children. Again, these children are starting to receive their rights.
There are clear challenges. Lilit and I had a very good meeting at the Ministry of Labor and Social Issues and we discussed how to take the project to scale...
A great day - looking forward to tomorrow.
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