Project report: Girls in Tech, Armenia

Uniting girls through the digital world

Grantee: Girls in Tech, Armenia
Project: “I know you’’ programme providing digital skills and support for young women IDPs from Nagorno Karabakh to promote social inclusion in Armenia

Girls in Tech Armenia was glad to have the unique opportunity to launch the “I know you’’ project supported by the BEARR Trust’s 2021 Small Grants Scheme. The project aimed to develop the digital skills of a number of girls and women from Armenia and Artsakh/Nagorno Karabakh and equip them with the latest technological tools and techniques to create their own digital content. The core mission of the programme was to reduce the barrier of social isolation and create more socially inclusive and tolerant societies among girls and women from both Armenia and Artsakh/Nagorno Karabakh.

It is worth noting that the programme attracted a high level of engagement, with around 200 applicants eager to be a part of the project and enhance their digital literacy through active and useful collaboration. The project plan gave 60 participants the chance to proceed to the next stage. Half of the applicants selected were from Yerevan and regions of Armenia, and the other half were either from Nagorno Karabakh or had been displaced from the area as a result of the war in 2020. This was so as to maintain a balance and allow participants to interact respectfully and with tolerance.

During the first stage after the general digital literacy phase participants took part in a number of online sessions focused on three main lines of communication: video, text, and image. They learned to use various digital tools to create video and photographic work and for creative writing. In addition, they took a deep dive into techniques for promoting their digital content using social media channels: Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Twitter. This enabled them by the end to create their own content for their own preferred social media channel.

In the next phase, participants curated their own digital content using newly gained knowledge and promoted it through different social media platforms. As a result, 22 unique projects were created on the topic of gender stereotypes. In the final stage a competition was organised to judge the digital content they had all created, the winners being decided by the level of engagement attracted by their posts (taking into account the views and likes on the social media platforms). It is worth noting that many of the posts attracted a high level of visibility and engagement. The “I know you’’ project had 10 lucky winners, who received certificates of completion and useful prizes which will help them in their digital journey․

The overall project went smoothly and in accordance with the project plan. The only obstacle related to having to carry the project out online, which we all know can sometimes cause technical issues. But those problems were promptly solved and fortunately did not prevent the sessions from progressing in an orderly manner. Happily, the project can be considered a success thanks to the high level of interest and engagement, and the positive feedback received from the participants. Moreover, some people were so inspired by the participants that they wanted to join the programme even though it was already under way.

One of project participants, Tsovinar, comments “‘I know you’ was truly an amazing programme. Not only did I learn new skills and new tools, but I also got to enjoy a wonderful feeling of community and support. It was undoubtedly an empowering and thought-provoking experience for all the participants. I’m really glad I got to be a part of it!’’

As for the benefits of the project for the future, not only are the participants now able to create quality content with their enhanced digital literacy, but, even better, their self-confidence is greatly enhanced and they can now start believing in their full potential.

Dayana, another active participant, notes “I am always thinking about the significance and impact of different prejudices and stereotypes. This time I got the chance to speak about prejudices and stereotypes publicly. Choosing my topic was by no means a piece of cake. I was constantly thinking about what it would be best to speak about. During the contest, many people wrote and commented on my video post. It was mainly positive criticism, and I needed that”. She added, “I had reservations about the controversial topic I had chosen to discuss, but surprisingly everyone told me, ‘you speak right from the bottom of our hearts’. I am happy that my voice has impacted some people’s way of thinking, that they showed compassion to me. It has enabled me to listen and write.’’

In summary, the collaborative experience the participants shared during the programme helped immensely to create a more socially inclusive society promoting respect and tolerance between girls and women from Armenia and Artsakh and boosting their self-confidence.

Organisation contact details:
3 Hakob Hakobyan Street, Yerevan

Author contact details:
Nare Dovlatyan
Operations manager

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