Over 25 participants including representatives of 16 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), penitentiary system experts, non-state providers of education in Armenia’s prisons, project implementers got together at a two day workshop “Development and implementation of projects for and with prisoners” on November 1-2.
The workshop was designed to give participants understanding of the penitentiaries at different levels, from informal relationships in these closed institutions, to their types, legislation regulating provision of education and current practices.
First session started with anthropologist Aghasi Tadevosyan and Member of the International Network of Penitentiary Education in the countries of the Eastern Partnership and Central Asia Gayane Hovakimyan discussing the internal culture of penitentiaries.
David Tumasyan, an expert in penitentiary legislation, presented the essential regulations that should be important for any organization implementing projects in prisons. This presentation also included statistics on number of prisons, their types, nature of crime and punishment, all in relation how relevant educational interventions could be with respect to different institutions and target groups.
The first day concluded with representatives of PH International (Project Harmony) and Civil Society Institute NGOS as well as “Armavir” Penitentiary Institution, Legal Education and Rehabilitation Programs Implementation Centre SNCO’ sharing their experiences of providing educational programs in prisons, focusing on challenges and ways of motivating beneficiaries.
The second day of the workshop started with a presentation of two social enterprises in Great Britain and the U.S. that work with ex prisoners facilitated by SE expert Nazareth Seferian.
Armed with all these contextual information, the training participants presented their initial project ideas at the mini idea fair. Feedback was provided both by other participants voting for their projects and experts speaking about the relevance and feasibility of the project.
The event completed by detailed presentation of the process sand criteria for selecting 4-5 NGOs for implementation of educational projects in prisons.
Thus, at the end of these two days NGOs had been through a process that prepared them for finalizing their initial concepts for a project proposal and submission of full applications, which are expected on November 8.