"Instead of Holding Guns, Let’s Hold Hands"

Regional event brings NGOs together to counteract conflict, instability and insecurity.

"Instead of Holding Guns, Let’s Hold Hands"

Regional event brings NGOs together to counteract conflict, instability and insecurity.

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Wednesday, 27 March, 2024


Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Civil society groups from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova had a rare opportunity to network and build cross-communal links at a recent IWPR conference. 

"Instead of holding guns, let’s hold hands," said Leo Zatikyan, an activist, stand-up comedian and community officer at Pink Armenia, told a conference panel discussion on engaging marginalised communities in sustaining peace.

Pink Armenia is one of 40 civil society organisations that received subgrants under the Building Resilience in the Eastern Neighborhood (BREN) BREN programme. 

BREN, funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and implemented by IWPR, supports women, minorities, and vulnerable groups to counteract conflict, instability, and insecurity in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova.

The regional conference, organised by IWPR and the Global Network for Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), took place February 19-20 in Chisinau. 

"We know that when women and minority groups actively engage in their society and participate in ongoing discussions, those societies become stronger and better," said Fern Horine, British ambassador to Moldova, in her opening remarks.

The conference brought together new and past BREN partners from various countries for networking, exchange, and collaboration. Eco Centre in Georgia, represented by Tinatin Maghedani, was one of the new grantees. 

“We don’t have many environmental activists in Georgia but I can proudly say that the strongest environmental movements have women leaders,” Maghedani said. “We partner with them to implement our projects.”  

Ayshan Muradove, from the Social Rights Centre in Azerbaijan, highlighted the importance of coming together at the regional event.

“This conference provided me with the opportunity to meet all BREN partners at once and to feel like we are part of the bigger project,” she said.

Lela Metreveli, from the Human Rights Embassy, emphasised the significance of resilience in Moldova, especially with the influx of Ukrainian women refugees due to the ongoing war. With IWPR's support, their current project supports them in claiming and protecting their rights through legal instruments and human rights institutions.

The BREN project is set to continue into a third phase, aligning with IWPR's core mission of empowering local voices and building resilience.

“IWPR has a longstanding history of empowering local voices to build the resilience of civil society, driving change that promotes human security, peace, and stability,” said Alan Davis, IWPR Asia and Eurasia director.

The Building Resilience in the Eastern Neighbourhood (BREN) project is supported by the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund of the United Kingdom and is implemented in partnership with the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP).

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