European Union External Action

EU4Women: Economic Empowerment through Social Enterprise

17/01/2018 - 11:58
Civil Society and Media

Many Armenian civil society organisations (CSOs), including those that advocate for women's rights and help women and children at risk, are heavily dependent on donor or government funding to operate.

This means that they cannot plan their work in the long term, and during some periods they may not have the means to continue supporting women in need. This two year project implemented by the Near East Foundation UK (NEF UK) and the Women’s Development Resource Center Foundation (WDRC), and funded by the European Union, will seek to change this. 

The project will support 12 civil society organisations in Aragatsotn, Gegharkunik, Lori and Syunik Marzes to launch or further develop social enterprise activities that will fund programmes that benefit both their organisation and women in their communities. Staff in the 12 organisations will be trained on business operations that can support the organisation in its work to raise awareness of women’s rights and support their economic empowerment. Ultimately the project will ensure the ongoing operation of CSOs supporting women’s economic empowerment and gender equality in Armenia, benefitting the lives of all those reached by those organisations.

The main activities include:

  • Training and coaching for 12 CSOs on how to improve their capacities and develop new ideas for projects reaching vulnerable women;
  • Coaching from experts and financial support to support testing these new project ideas;
  • Group events and mentorship systems to develop relationships between CSOs and the private sector that will create new opportunities for income that can support projects for vulnerable women;
  • Developing and upgrading at least 10 social enterprise activities based on prospective business models (e.g. tourism, export-oriented handicrafts, cultural industries, “green” business industries) to provide income that can sustain and expand projects for vulnerable women; and,
  • Promote information sharing between CSOs, so that they can learn from each other how to develop their projects and incomes to benefit vulnerable women.

A number of market actors and CSOs will become involved in the project, over 600 vulnerable women (particularly survivors of gender-based violence and women at risk of gender-based violence) will benefit from the project by becoming involved with the social enterprises and earning income, or benefitting from expanded projects that meet their needs. 


Duration: 24/12 2017 – 23/12 2019 (24 months)

Total Project Budget:EUR 446,797.00   

EU Contribution:  EUR 400,000.00 

Location:  Aragatsotn, Gegharkunik, Lori and Syunik Marzes (regions) of Armenia

Implementing Partners: Near East Foundation UK (NEF UK), Women’s Development Resource Center Foundation (WDRC)

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