Interview with Tamara Barbakadze, the project manager of Grassroots Voice for Human Rights Mobilization program at World Vision Armenia
The two-year Grassroots Voice for Human Rights Mobilization program has finished. What were the aims of the program?
The aims of the program were to develop capacities of grassroots public organizations in the area of human rights protection, strengthen network of grassroots organizations, and establish links among community human rights organizations, the World Visions' Area Development Programs (ADP) as well as the Civil Society Institute, Armenian Helsinki Committee and the Office of the Human Rights Defender.
We started implementation of the program in 2010 in cooperation with Civil Society Institute and Armenian Helsinki Committee. During these two years we conducted different training seminars for 45 employees of the World Vision Armenia nine ADPs, organized round table discussions in all communities.
What the program participants gained from it: if you compare their capacities before and after the program, what kind of changes do you observe?
This program is very important for development of community organizations' capacities, for the training was not just one-time event, but of continuing nature, during which the participants could build up their capacities, and they were very satisfied with the training. Then, at the stage of practical assignment, they were a little scared with the task of conducting monitoring, they thought they could not do it.
However, when you aim at promoting professional growth, you assign an employee with task, which is slightly difficult for him/her. And we proceeded in this direction. With our support they could overcome their fear, and implementation of the monitoring upgraded their skills to a higher step.
I see many changes in 45 participants of the program; they became more self-confident as a result of participation at theoretical classes and practical assignment-monitoring. This was another, new type of work for them, and they could accomplish it with credit.
How the themes for monitoring were selected?
The community organizations selected all the themes of the monitoring and not randomly. These themes related to the areas, where the organizations worked and will continue to work in their regions trying to solve problems.
During the discussion there were concerns that usually results of monitoring “collect dust in drawers”. It looks that there is no concern in regards to these monitoring projects.
Even if the program finished, the established connections are there. Also, as I said, the topics of monitoring related to the areas in which the organizations had worked and will continue working. In addition, many issues were raised at the round table discussions, and these issues can be raised at appropriate bodies by the community organizations, and we can support them. Thus, I believe that advocacy in some areas will continue.
On the other side, we built-up cooperation; we learned about organizations in the regions, their activities, and what type of information we can share with one another. They also learned about Yerevan-based organizations, and I believe that our cooperation will continue.