Helen Grigoryan SAYP

Elen Grigoryan SAYP Alumni

Elen Grigoryan, who participated in the The Swedish Institute Academy for Young Professionals (SAYP) programme in 2022, is a public servant working at the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia, as an assistant to a member of parliament. As she is involved in the Standing Committee on Human Rights and Public Affairs, her work is very much related to human rights. Her MP is particularly focused on women’s rights and that is how Elen’s scope of work is designed as well.

How has participating in SAYP impacted your work?

I would say I have become more interested in working with the youth sector. Also, when adopting legislation or having public consultations, we now focus more on youth opinions, and have meetings and public hearings with them.

What was your project about and how does it relate to your work?

My project focused on environmental human rights. At the National Assembly, we have a specific committee dealing with this – the Standing Committee on Environment. This topic is very close to me, considering that we particularly focused on women and their rights within our project, because they are the ones that are impacted by environmental pollution the most. There are studies that show that. So there was this gender perspective.

How will the knowledge you have gained be helpful in the future? 

I learned a lot about project development and especially how to do a human rights project, and how it is designed and implemented. I think I will not stay at the National Assembly very long, as it is a temporary position and depends very much on whether your MP is re-elected or not. But wherever I am in the future, whether I am working for an organisation on a big or small project, these project development skills that I gained from SAYP, and the evaluation and monitoring of this knowledge, will help me very much.

“I definitely recommend people to apply. This is a wonderful experience and having studied the theory and then being able to implement all that you have learned, like the Human Rights Based Approach, gender perspective, the Results-Based Approach and all the tools that we have learned, is great. Especially being able to do that much even with small resources is great. We often learn passively and don’t do anything with the knowledge we gain. But this is like a good incentive, a good boost, to make you feel like you can do something and that you want to do something.”

Would you say the SAYP programme stands out or is unique in some way when compared to other training programmes you have participated in?

Yes, I think it was actually one of the best, if not the best, trainings that I have participated in. With public servants in Armenia there is not much focus on professional development, so it is very hard to improve your skills and competences. And what SAYP is unique for is its longevity, sustainability, and how we were given the opportunity to continue cooperation and build stronger networks. For example, if we just met once in Lund and then we all went home in our separate directions, all these strong linkages wouldn’t have been built. But now I have a very strong network, since we did a regional project together, and are still cooperating and having plans to continue. It’s a very sustainable project.

Do you think SAYP can open the doors for future cooperation and further projects?

Yes, we are already planning to apply for further financial support and to continue enlarging our project and having other stages. We had this project in Tbilisi and now we want to have a second stage in Armenia, where we will bring Georgian participants to Armenia, and we will also enlarge it to engage the local communities directly affected by pollution. Also, despite the fact that Georgia and Armenia are neighbouring countries, there isn’t enough regional cooperation and projects done together. So it was really great to have this opportunity, to do this cross-country project together.


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