“Awareness is the best protection”: this is the major slogan of our organization focused on education and awareness raising. One thing that makes our team so unique is that we work mainly in the farthest regions of Armenia, particularly in the border and isolated villages where there is a huge gap of information and no source of inspiration for women. Within our activities we organize numerous trainings, civic forums, seminars and workshops aimed at awareness raising of people on gender issues. We strongly believe that only well-educated citizens aware of their rights will lead the country to a social change and establishment of democratic values.
SWV aims to empower girls and women to become leaders and women human rights defenders. We organize trainings in 5 regions we work in (Lori, Shirak, Tavush, Gegharkunik, Syunik) as well as movie screenings in the capital on women’s empowerment with a target group of girls and young women. This aims at empowerment of regional women and their further promotion as women activists.
Moreover, we periodically train former participants of SWV activities, as well as SWV volunteers as trainers on gender equality and women’s leadership in the regions. Within more than 10 years, SWV has established SWV Network which includes dozens of young women and girls from the regions. The meetings and events within this network are also a source of empowerment and inspiration for them.
SWV aims at recognition of women as part of peace building process for conflict resolution situations, self-confidence raise of women in border villages of Armenia, promotion of women peace builders’ role as well as dissemination of practical recommendations for conflict resolution situations made by women as peace builders.
Series of civic forums on conflict resolution process and involvement of women peace builders are discussed with young women living in the border villages of Armenian bordering region. Many public actions and events are organized aimed at highlight of women’s role in peace building processes.
In 2011, SWV has also established “Women in Black” worldwide famous movement in Armenia and became a part of this international network.
Gender based stereotypes
SWV addresses the issue of gender based stereotypes highlight and elimination from the society by, for and with the help of youth, particularly regional female youth. This includes research and gender based stereotypes problems identification, highlight of gender based stereotypes existing in the rural and urban areas of society through civic forums held by and for young girls, work out of ways, tools and approaches for possible elimination of gender-based stereotypes through the actions, campaigns and public events as well as interviews with successful women having “non-traditional” professions.
Gender based violence
SWV raises awareness on gender based violence through different activities and trainings organized mostly for regional women and girls. SWV has also created Rapid Response Unit (RRU), a group which rapidly and effectively addresses cases of violence against women by carrying out journalistic investigation of the case and providing with legal support.
As a member of the Coalition to stop violence against women, SWV also works on pointing out domestic violence cases by organizing demonstrations, urgent press conferences and other public events so the rights of the domestic violence victim would be protected, and violators would be punished by the law.
SWV is an organization working on the principles of the Human Rights Based Approach. Thus, our organization tries to make positive changes and improvements in the educational system of the country. Particularly, the organization is working on Promotion of Gender Studies Integration into the curriculum of high school program of Armenia. Our activities in are aimed at the understanding, reviewing and analyzing the educational background, promoting innovative approaches in the education sphere for gender education. Working in the direction of changing the this style of teaching, as well renewing the textbooks from the gender prospective will enable to have more self-confident, powerful, strong and successful women in our society representing all aspects of life, women in politics, women human rights defenders, business women, women peace builders.
Sexual education is vitally important for young women and girls in order to understand their body, be ready for making decisions concerning sexual relationships and be healthy and protected. Within its activities, SWV is organizing educational trainings, awareness raising seminars, movie screenings and holding informal discussions with young women and girls to talk about sex, counteract myths and stereotypes toward sexual issues. The aim of these activities is to prevent sexual violence, unwanted pregnancies as well as discrimination of LGBT people and people with HIV/AIDS.