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Minnesota Advocates Conducts Tbilisi, Georgia Conference to Prepare National Violence Against Women Monitors from the Causcasus and Central Asia
7/29/2004 4:05 PM

Solongo Sharkhuu and Nino Bakakuri
On July 25 and 26, Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights (MAHR) and the Open Society Institute's Network Women's Program (NWP) conducted a two-day Orientation Program in Tbilisi, Georgia for representatives of NGOs which will serve as National Violence Against Women Monitors for Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan and the Ukraine.  This program follows on an orientation program held in Budapest, Hungary on May 9-10 for National VAW Monitors from Central and Eastern Europe.

The National VAW Monitors will soon develop new content for the Country Pages of the Stop Violence Against Women Website ( that Minnesota Advocates launched in November 2003.  Minnesota Advocates developed the website in consultation with and with the support of NWP and the United

Susanna Vardanyan, Nato Shavlakadze, Eliso Amirejibi, Marina Tabuskavili, Nino Bakakuri
Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). The website provides advocates in Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and Mongolia with comprehensive information as they develop strategies to address violence against women.

During the Tbilisi Orientation Program, Minnesota Advocates and NWP provided the Monitors with information about the website's purpose and organization as well as guidance in using the website's content management tool to modify and add to STOPVAW Country Page content.  In addition, the Monitors shared information about challenges they face in promoting women's human rights in their countries and brainstormed about possible new uses and sections for the Country Pages. With these tools and with first-hand knowledge of research, advocacy, law and policy developments in their countries, Minnesota Advocates and NWP expect that the Monitors will be able to accomplish the following goals:

  1. Enhance the capacity
    Cheryl Thomas, Eliso Amirejibi, Lidia Hryva, Halyna Fedkovych, Christine Tefft
    of individuals and NGOs who use the website to develop and implement effective strategies to end violence against women in the region;
  2. Employ the website Country Page content and message forums as an advocacy tool;
  3. Monitor government compliance with international obligations; and
  4. Distribute information to the international community about their government's successes and failures in combatting violence against women.

Participants in the National Violence Against Women Monitor Orientation in Tbilisi included the following individuals:

  • Marina Tabukashvili and Davit Gabunia of the Open Society Institute's Network Women's Program (Tbilisi, Georgia)
  • Cheryl Thomas and Christine Tefft of Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Iris Luarasi of the Counseling Center for Women (Tirana, Albania)
  • Susanna Vardanyan and Eduard Grigoryan of the Women's Rights Center (Yerevan, Armenia)
  • Gulnara Mammadova of OSI Assistance Foundation,
    Davit Gabunia, Nurgul Asylbekova, Gulnara Mammadova, Marina Meskhi, Nato Shavlakadze
    Leyla Ismayilova of the Center for Psychological Counseling and Yulya Gureyeva of the Gender Informational Center (Baku, Azerbaijan)
  • Nino Bakakuri, Nato Shavlakadze, and Marina Meskhi associated with the Anti-Violence Network of Georgia (Tbilisi, Georgia)
  • Nurgul Asylbekova of the Soros Foundation Kyrgyzstan and Tolkun Tulekova of the International Diamond Association (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan)
  • Solongo Sharkhuu of the Women's Leadership Foundation and Sarnai Batbayar of the National Center Against Violence (Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia)
  • Nigora Khaitova of the Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law in Tajikistan (Dushanbe, Tajikistan)
  • Halyna Fedkovych of West Ukrainian Center "Women's Perspectives" and Lidia Hryva of Ukrainian Women's Fund (Lviv, Ukraine) 

For more information about the National Violence Against Women Monitor Program, please contact Minnesota Advocates at [email protected].