IREX Europe, together with our partners Human Rights House Tbilisi (HRHT), organised a three-day National Leadership Academy for young, women human rights defenders. The Academy involved training sessions and workshops aimed at building the skills of young activists to strengthen their participation in politics and society.

Held from 25-27 September at the arts space Fabrika in Tbilisi, the academy was implemented under the 26-month project “Promoting New Women Leaders and ‘Invisible Women’ Human Rights Activists.” This project covers five Eurasian countries, including Georgia, and is financially supported by the European Union.

Over three days of training, the Academy covered gender equality, equality within the workplace, advocacy, creative campaigning, and how to build a media campaign. The participants were from regions across Georgia and Azerbaijan and were each working on different fields within the sphere of women’s rights, including supporting the rights of ethnic minority women and transgender women.

“I will bring the knowledge and experience gained in the Academy to my region, Telavi, to use it in practice. I hope that this kind of assistance to the women from regions of Georgia will continue,” commented Monika Tigishvili, Resource Center Manager (Equality Movement) from Telavi, Georgia.

The trainers and speakers were equally diverse, including representatives from human rights organisations, academia, parliament, trade unions, and digital agencies.

Giorgi Urchukhishvili and Baia Pataraia from “Sapari”, member organisation of HRHT, conducted sessions on the sociology of gender and gender equality. From the Georgian Trade Union Confederation, Raisa Liparteliani held a session about gender discrimination in the workplace and mechanisms for achieving gender equality. Ana Natsvlishvili, Parliamentary Secretary of the President of Georgia, discussed specific examples of advocacy within NGOs. Eka Gigauri, Director of Transparency International Georgia, talked about the problematic aspects of communication with embassies and diplomatic offices, and Nino Danelia (Ilia State University) and Salome Jvania (digital agency Leavingstone) focused on developing media strategies and creative campaigning.

Based on their motivation, proactivity, and commitment, a few of the participants will be selected to attend the Regional Leadership Academy, which will be organised in Chisinau, Moldova. Several participants will also be eligible to receive small-grant funding for projects aimed at promoting women’s rights in their region. A second Leadership Academy will be organised in Georgia next year. The call for applications will be launched in early 2019 and we hope to receive even more applications from motivated young women who are fighting for change!


Funded by the European Union.