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Women's Rights House


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Women's Rights House

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We dream of a world in which women and girls are free from abuse and are given equal opportunities to be drivers of change in their communities. We believe that programs that couple service provision with professional skills building are powerful, as they support women to overcome trauma and lift themselves and their children out of poverty, contributing to their long-term well-being, financial independence, involvement in decision-making processes, and ultimately their empowerment.

The problem we are trying to solve:

Domestic violence is one of the most pressing social issues facing Armenia, with nearly a quarter of women in partnerships subjected to physical violence and nearly half subjected to psychological violence. In such cases, children are nearly always primary and secondary victims of violence.

At the same time, women–especially young women– remain an untapped potential, as they are largely left out of the workforce. Often, they possess the education and skills needed to join the labor force but do not seek employment due to traditional norms and expectations, unequal care-taking responsibilities, high levels of discrimination in the workplace, exclusion from certain occupations and leadership roles, and the gender pay gap. Those in abusive relationships are fearful of leaving abusers due to financial dependence and other factors and are often prevented from working, thus losing skills that they must relearn. Moreover, those who have already left abusive relationships often do not have the resources to support themselves and their children financially, especially if they are primary caretakers of young children.

Armenia continues to lack comprehensive protections for domestic violence victims. Women still do not report cases of abuse due to a lack of support services as well as numerous cultural and institutional barriers. Those from marginalized groups face an even greater increased risk of violence and far fewer resources, as they are excluded from policies and programs and face greater social stigma.

Making matters worse, women are largely left out of the workforce and, when they do work, earn much less than their male counterparts and rarely take on decision-making roles and engage in political processes, all of which contributes to their social and economic vulnerability and keeps their children trapped in the cycle of poverty and marginalization.

The solution we are proposing:

The Shirak region, where the WRH operates, continues to have the highest rates of poverty and unemployment in the country. At the same time, domestic violence service provision is mainly concentrated in the capital, leaving women and children in regions like Shirak with little recourse.

The WRH seeks to shift the existing paradigm. We are one of few organizations in the Shirak region that offer comprehensive domestic violence services to women and children. Women are offered walk-in services, such as counselling, legal representation, and employment assistance, and educational and professional training programs, while children are offered psychological services using a variety of therapeutic approaches. Moreover, we offer economic empowerment programs specifically catered to the needs of young women, including survivors of domestic abuse. We also provide entrepreneurship and business training and a variety of vocational training programs to young women in an effort to improve their employability and job security–ultimately ensuring their financial independence and ability to take care of their children.

We have seen first-hand how domestic violence service provision, services to protect women’s labour rights, economic empowerment programs, and programs that enhance women's participation in political processes are fundamental to fully integrating women and youth into the social, economic, and political fabric of the country. Providing essential, life-saving services supports survivors in Shirak to escape the cycle of violence and rehabilitate, while economic empowerment and leadership programs help them improve their competitiveness in the labour market and become empowered change-makers in Armenian society.

The WRH provides essential services to women and children victims of domestic and sexual violence as well as victims of discrimination and other forms of violence. Our primary beneficiaries are women and children who have faced any type of discrimination, domestic and/or sexual abuse, and abuse of labour rights–including LBT women, ethnic minorities, women with disabilities, displaced/refugee women, women living with HIV/AIDS, and others from marginalized groups–living in the Shirak region who come from a variety of socio-economic and educational backgrounds.

We intend to continue offering comprehensive domestic violence services, our economic empowerment and business programs, and a variety of other programs to advocate on behalf of women and children–especially those who are marginalized and vulnerable–increase their participation in democratic processes, and bring forward their voices in policy-making.

What success looks like for us:

We pay particular attention to including women and children in the assessment, design, implementation, and evaluation of our programs in order to ensure that we are meeting our objectives. We measure the success of our program using a number of indicators, including participation in training programs and any gains as a result of our program (i.e. skill enhancement, employment, etc).

Where we are are based:

Gyumri, Armenia

Funding we are applying for:

$14,000 - $15,000 per year

How this funding will help us achieve our goals:

Support from the Global Fund for Children to cover a significant portion of our core funding costs over two years will enable us to continue offering comprehensive domestic violence services, including a wide range of therapies for children, along with a variety of programs to uplift and empower women and children and advocate on their behalf. Additionally, it would enable us to implement public awareness raising and advocacy campaigns around protecting women’s and children’s rights and preventing and combating domestic and sexual violence, as well as promoting young women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment, enhancing their access to the labor market and protecting their labor rights, and promoting their participation in political decision-making processes.

How this funding will strengthen our group:

The WRH finds itself in a precarious position as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War. Over the last year, we stepped up our efforts to meet the great demand for material support and social services for women and children who were affected by the pandemic and war. However, donors redirected funds that we initially secured and funding for our work was limited. As a result, we have had a drop in staff capacity and volunteers, at the same time when we have had to scale up our efforts to deliver additional essential services to women and children. This has led to severe staff burn-out and fear around our organization’s survival. Core funding will thus improve the morale of our staff and ensure that we can continue our important work to uplift and empower women.

How we gain by being a Spark Fund partner:

Funding from the Global Fund for Children will enable us to support thousands of more beneficiaries as they access services, rebuild their lives, and seek opportunities to reintegrate into society. Support for women and children includes but is not limited to walk-in services, such as counseling, legal representation, and employment assistance, and educational and professional training programs. Core budget support will also enable us to continue our prevention and advocacy work and expand our network and resources. Finally, we seek to engage with and learn from the Global Fund for Children’s experience globally to enhance our network building and capacity development.

How we would like to spend a grant through the Spark Fund:

The WRH is most in need of covering its core expenses, which includes salaries for our staff and office rent. Securing funding for ongoing service provision for victims of violence and discrimination is an exceptional challenge for us, as most traditional funders only support new projects. We continue to rely on a shoestring budget to cover the burdensome costs of rent and utilities and rely on our small staff to meet the growing demand for services. Over the past year, we have often carried out work on a pro-bono basis to support women and children who have fled extremely dangerous situations and arrived at our center in need of basic necessities and support.

Our Annual Income:

85,788 EUR

Our Organization Structure:

Our center’s model is based on a democratic participatory structure, run and governed by youth. We have 5 full-time and 2 part-time paid employees as well as a network of 30 volunteers. Major strategic decisions are made by our president in collaboration with our 4 board members and other staff members, such that everyone is involved in the decision-making process.

We hold regular staff meetings and annual strategic planning sessions, during which time we discuss our plans in detail and come to decisions together.

All of our employees, board members, and volunteers are under 35, and the vast majority are under 30. We pride ourselves on being a community-based organization led primarily by young women that is firmly rooted in the community. The diversity of programs we offer reflects the diversity of the needs and desires of women and youth in our community

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