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Caregiving across different cultures has been perceived conventionally as a private or family responsibility, predominantly performed by women who accept their caregiving as part of their gender role.This study aimed to design, deliver, and evaluate an elderly training programme for women by assessing their knowledge, attitudes and skills as a lay caregiver. Encouraging the women to find suitable positions for employment in private or governmental institutions was the further objective of the study.The study was a quasi-experimental one-group pre-test post-test design.The study was conducted in a solidarity centre for women and in a nursing home for the elderly. The sample covered 120 women selected from the community by convenience sampling. Data were gathered through pre- and post-test evaluation and observation forms in 2 May–22 December 2005. The training programme consisted of 230 h of didactic sessions, demonstrations and clinical practices.The mean change in the participants' knowledge score (pre-test: 41.44 ± 0.92; post-test: 71.16 ± 1.34) demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in their knowledge. According to clinical observations, most of them displayed satisfactory caring and communication skills towards the elderly. Virtually all participants reported increased skill, knowledge and confidence.The developed training programme was effective, resulting in an increased knowledge, the acquisition of good attitudes towards the elderly, and performing satisfactory caring and communication skills. Similar community-based programmes managed by nurses are recommended to support non-professional caregivers. The research is not only an innovative but also a revolutionary model to promote women.