The first biggest gender-related international project of 2017

A Quest 4 Equality: Breaking Gender Barriers through Youth Work

Nowadays most countries recognize that equal rights, as a question of human rights, democracy and justice should exist as well as that gender equality represents a part of resolution to the challenges that our society is facing to. Albeit many have elaborated and set in motion regulations intended to fight discrimination and different issues, the gender equality situation both in the EU and the Neighboring countries, especially in Eastern Europe and Caucasus remains unsatisfactory.

Gender equality topic has been always considered to be one of the working dimensions of the Armenian Progressive Youth (APY) NGO, which is constantly expanding its boarders by hosting more and more gender-related international projects in Armenia. The first international training course of this year called “A Quest 4 Equality: Breaking Gender Barriers through Youth Work” was convened from the 3rd to the 11th of June in Yerevan. The 38 youth workers coming from Armenia, United Kingdom, Belarus, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Moldova, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Russia and Turkey have been the integral part of a project aiming to develop and improve the participant’s knowledge and understanding on various concepts related to gender issues, analyze traditions, roles and perceptions of gender in different countries and societies.

Through the implementation of the international training course the youth workers and young leaders from diverse backgrounds had an opportunity to feel and reflect about the power of gender and gender roles by having space to discuss, debate and learn more about the topic that often remains undiscussed. Besides tackling the mentioned issues, the training course looked for solutions in our organizations and daily lives. The participation in different scale of activities as discussions, presentations, field visits let the participants exchange their skills and experiences particularly on gender mainstreaming, gender discrimination, gender violence and gender perspectives in different parts of Europe and know more about diverse realities in Eastern Europe and Caucasus region. Furthermore, thanks to the practical side of the training course, the participants focused on non-formal learning activities adressed for concrete target groups (school leaders, youth with disabilities, etc.), which will enable them to implement afterwards real projects on local or European levels.

This international gender-equality-related training course, unique with its vast geographical coverage and the contemporary topic, has been brought about by the conjoint cooperation between the Armenian Progressive Youth NGO and Nikola Arts organization from the United Kingdom, as well as by the funds of the European Union in the frames of Erasmus+ program.

Notwithstanding that the prevailing conservative, discriminating values in our societies are hard to tackle on account of clearly defined roles for men and women, gender stereotypes and issues with the expression of gender identity and sexual orientation, we believe that through non-formal educational activities we can spread awareness and look for solutions to the issues of our daily lives.

International Human Library Event in Yerevan

Have you ever read 13 books within two hours? If you think that this is something impossible, then the evidence of that fact was nearly 150 readers, who participated in International Human Library Event in Yerevan, at Double Tree by Hilton Hotel.

On April 14, the Armenian Progressive Youth NGO and PINK Armenia organized The Human Library event. The event was aimed at challenging and breaking lots of existing stereotypes and prejudices through real “book-reader” conversations and to create a positive environment in Armenian society.

The concept of the event was that the participants of the event chose their favorite book number from the card catalog and were able to start the reading process with the relevant book in the allotted 30 minutes through a real face-to-face conversation. The most interesting thing was the fact that the books were people of different nationalities, religions, and creeds, and the readers were the 150 participants of the event.

The heroes of 13 interesting stories, as known as the human library books, were willing to answer all the questions asked by the event’s readers about their own life story.  “What is the most interesting principle in Buddhism? Why did the Turkish student decide to visit Armenia and how did people welcome him in our society? Would the young Indian like to live in Armenia? Are people aware of the real principles ​​of Islam and why is Islam considered to be one of the interesting religions? Have people become more tolerant towards homosexuality in our society or not?” these were some of those numerous and sometimes bizarre questions that were of interest to readers.

In the end of the event, many of the book-heroes stated that this was a unique opportunity to interact with new people, without selecting them, but being selected by them, and to share their experiences about their own lives.
“If I could, I would erase all the borders of the world, and only in that case the most important thing would become the real human values regardless of nationality, religion or other features; I am here to prove it,” said Ahmet Yavuzele, one of the human library books.

As response to the positive feedback and the enthusiasm, which followed the event, the organizers promised to have another similar event in the near future.