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Image: Women's Resource Center Armenia receives “With and For Girls Award”

Gohar Shahnazaryan (centre) collects the With and For Girls Award for Women’s Resource Centre Armenia.

Women's Resource Center Armenia receives “With and For Girls Award”

Women's Resource Center Armenia (WRCA), member of Human Rights House Yerevan, has received the “With and For Girls Award” in recognition of its work to improve the lives of girls. The award is administered by the With and For Girls Collective – a group of seven organisations united by a common belief that girls are agents of change.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Gohar Shahnazaryan, co-founder of Women’s Resource Centre Armenia, attended the award ceremony in London in November 2016. She commented: “It is an acknowledgement of our work with adolescent girls and young women that we have been doing since 2003. We are very happy that young women affiliated with our Center received worldwide recognition and visibility.”

Shahnazaryan described how the award includes some financial support that will be used to strengthen the Center's work with young women and girls: “It will enable the Center to design and develop more programs and activities, and to develop capacity for the Center, which will help to develop our skills and address the needs of adolescent girls in the most efficient way.”

Shahnazaryan continued: “The week of workshops gave a great opportunity for us to meet with similar organisations worldwide and to learn from them, as well as to get to know more donors and organisations based in UK. We also developed a joint strategy and outlined our future activities.”

Ahead of International Women Human Rights Defender Day, 29 November, Lara Aharonian, Director of the WRCA, spoke to HRHF about what it means and how it is to be a woman human rights defender.

WRCA has set up a crisis centre in Armenia that offers legal aid and counselling to survivors of sexual violence. It offers training courses on women’s rights and gender-based violence, while simultaneously lobbying and advocating for changes in legislation that will address gender discrimination in all its forms. The Center also provides a telephone hotline for emergencies.

WRCA provides a safe space where women can share their experiences, educate themselves and receive the support they need to better their lives and take control of their futures. It organises regular roundtable discussions as well as a career club for women.

The organisation offers prenatal programmes for pregnant women and sexual health courses for adolescent girls. WRCA currently has 2,000 members, 90 percent of whom are females, but it has benefited many more people in the 13 years since it was founded.

WRCA has suffered threats and harassment in recent years for its work. In 2013, following concrete threats of violence made against WRCA, more than 50 civil society organisations, including HRHF, issued a joint letter of concern. This condemned the ongoing smear campaigns and harassment against human rights organisations working on gender issues in Armenia and urged the authorities in Armenia to ensure the protection of human rights defenders in their work. 

Lara Aharonian opened the photo exhibition Women Human Rights Defenders: Portraits of Strength in July 2016, which features 18 women human rights defenders in the Human Rights House Network, including Aharonian, acknowledging the vital role that women play locally, nationally, and internationally in protecting and promoting human rights. Aharonian was also instrumental in HRHF’s delegation to the UN General Assembly in November 2015 to lobby for the UN Resolution on Human Rights Defenders, which the UN later adopted.

The “With and For Girls Award” award is administered by the With and For Girls Collective, a group of seven organisations united by a common belief that girls are agents of change. EMpower, Mama Cash, NoVo Foundation, Plan UK, The Global Fund for Children, Nike Foundation, and Stars Foundation – the Collective’s convening partner – have come together to co-create a global awards initiative to find and fund locally-led girl-centred organisations working with and for girls.

More on women human rights defenders

Lara Aharonian opened the photo exhibition Women Human Rights Defenders: Portraits of Strength in July 2016, which features 18 women human rights defenders in the Human Rights House Network, including Aharonian, acknowledging the vital role that women play locally, nationally, and internationally in protecting and promoting human rights.


On International Women’s Day, 8 March 2016, HRHF celebrated the achievements of women human rights defenders, and reflected on the heightened risks women face in defending human rights.


Women's Resource Centre Armenia

Women's Resource Centre Armenia has suffered threats and harassment in recent years for its work. In 2013, following concrete threats of violence made against WRCA, more than 50 civil society organisations, including HRHF, issued a joint letter of concern. This condemned the ongoing smear campaigns and harassment against human rights organisations working on gender issues in Armenia and urged the authorities in Armenia to ensure the protection of human rights defenders in their work. 

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