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The UNFPA team, together with its colleagues from the Gyumri Youth Initiatives Center, had a number of working meetings in Vanadzor, Lori province - the third largest city in Armenia.

The first meeting was held with Mr. Aram Khachatryan, the Governor of Lori province, and his team. UNFPA presented the programs already implemented and those to be implemented in Lori province in the future. 

Tsovinar Harutyunyan, UNFPA Armenia Head of Office, spoke about the main UNFPA work directions, and the work done in the Lori province. In particular, anticipated activities in Lori province under the EU-funded "EU 4 Gender Equality: Together Against Gender Stereotypes and Gender-Based Violence" and "Future Today: Empowering women, youth and children for deepening democracy in Armenia" projects were presented.

Respective project coordinators Narine Beglaryan and Eduard Israelyan presented the details of the projects, including the the "Family Corner" to be opened in Vanadzor, as well as discussed the newly opened "WINNET Vanadzor" Women's Resource Center.

Mr. Arthur Najaryan, President of the "Youth Initiatives Center" NGO in Gyumri, talked about the experience of a "Family Corner" in the Shirak province, where the "Family Corner" serves as a venue for regular parenting courses, "Fathers' School" meetings, as well as meetings with prominent individuals. Upon conclusion of the meeting, the Governor thanked for organizing the meeting and for the work done.

"I am convinced that our cooperation should deepen," Aram Khachatryan said.

The Governor considered the planned activities to be important and expressed confidence that together we would be able to put those programs to life.

We had a fruitful meeting with Vanadzor Mayor Mamikon Aslanyan and his team at the Vanadzor Municipality. UNFPA and Gyumri "Youth Initiatives Center" presented the main directions of their work, activities done in Vanadzor, as well as the planned activities, in particular, the work expected in Vanadzor within the framework of the two EU-funded projects.

"With our projects we try to take on a small share of the burden of problems that you tackle, we try to provide solutions with an aim to have stronger, better communities, so that everyone's potential and resources serve the benefit of the community and the country," said Tsovinar Harutyunyan.

Arthur Najaryan presented the experience of Shirak region both in terms of gender equality and youth projects. 

Narine Beglaryan and Eduard Israyelyan presented the abovementioned EU-funded projects. 

The Mayor expressed readiness to support the initiatives as much as he could. Mamikon Aslanyan presented the programs to be launched in Vanadzor and other related issues.

We also paid a visit to WINNET Vanadzor that was established recently through the support of the EU-funded "Future Today: Empowering women, youth and children for deepening democracy in Armenia" project. WINNET Vanadzor is part of WINNET Armenia, women's resource center network operating in five regions of Armenia: Syunik, Vayots Dzor, Tavush, Lori and Aragatsotn, that in its turn is the first non-EU country member of WINNET Europe. The purpose of WINNET centers is to promote economic growth and democracy in the regions, paying special attention to women's economic progress and cooperation. The centers are a meeting place for local women, helping women start their own businesses.

WINNET Vanadzor was founded by the "Vanadzor Women's Initiative Group" operating since 2015, which took a step forward with the support of the Project and registered as an NGO in 2020.

"Now, as WINNET Vanadzor, we are trying to find our place in the community, to assess the needs more deeply, to present our services more actively," said Hripsime Mirzoyan, a member of WINNET Vanadzor.

Tsovinar Harutyunyan reflected on the history and challenges of WINNET in Armenia.

The members of the Resource Center presented their work in the past, examples of cooperation, as well as their own interesting and touching personal stories of joining the endeavour.

The UNFPA team expressed its readiness to support this group of active women and girls in Vanadzor in their efforts to work for the development of the community.