Women should realize their power and act for their rights protection. This was the encouraging motivation for Women’s Resource Center Armenia to start a series of training courses for women in urban and rural areas titled “Women as change initiators”. These training courses aimed to empower women and girls to realize their strength and step forward as active members of their communities. Keeping in mind that women’s empowerment does not recognize any age limit, our training courses were open to all interested women. The training courses were organized in Yerevan and in centers of the regions encouraging women from rural and urban areas to participate. Women with various backgrounds were encouraged to apply and participate in the training courses.
During the training courses, the participants were introduced to the concepts of leadership and communication. The concept of leadership, its types and functions were to the participants. They were encouraged to bring examples of rulers and discuss their personalities arguing whether they are real examples of leaders or not. Through the examples, the participants got clear insight to the topic of leadership and what are the main missions of leaders. As a separate session the activism of women around the world and particularly in Armenia presented. The personalities of famous women leaders were brought up and discussed. The participant women debated on the characteristics of women leaders and came out with some images of women leader they would like to see in Armenia and how they would like to see themselves as leaders in their communities. With the support from trainers they learnt the means of effective communication and how to use them in their daily work to reach more effective results. The practical part of the session enriched the experience of the participants. At the following session they were led to self-reflection as leaders in their communities and highlight the barriers on their ways of activism. With the help of trainers, they were able to raise their problems and think of solutions to overcome them.
During the whole training course the idea that all those women participating in the training course are the real change makers in their communities was frequently risen up and promoted by the trainers. The results were overwhelming. The participants mentioned that they had an expectation to get more knowledge on leadership and effective communication, and their expectations were overreached. The theoretical and practical parts of the training course complementary provided with space for exercising the learned. The participants valued the atmosphere and spoken up topics which let them self-reflect and think about their further actions. Some of the participants mentioned that they had stereotypes about women’s role in the society and the training course let them work with their stereotypes and challenge them. The participants liked also the discussions which were inseparable part of each presentation. In their evaluation the participants also emphasized the importance of gender balance among the trainers. As a further stage, the most motivated participants are encouraged and supported to become peer educators and work on women’s empowerment in their own communities.