Grassroots associations from the Georgian countryside show new perspectives to the development of the NGO sector

Budapest/Tbilisi,. 20 June 2015.

ge3Intensive cooperation among the countries of the Visegrad Group and the Caucasus show graspable results in increasing the sustainability of regional non governmental organizations (NGOs), including the development of social enterprises. Within an international project funded by the International Visegrad Fund, three NGOs, the “Democratic Women of Marneuli” (DWM), the „Lagodekhi Development Centre - Greenline”, and ORBI from Akhaltiskhe were awarded for their project ideas. The awards allowed the implementation of project ideas: Let’s Start to Do Rural Tourism”, „Clean Soil and Water for Our Future,” and „Promoting Public Participation of Rural Population in Decision Making”. In addition, with the support of experts from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and Georgia, the awarded NGOs were offered assistance in developing their organizations, harmonizing their organizational mission, vision, and values with longer-term sustainability plans.

DWM envisages the development of a social enterprise, involving local tour guides providing information on various cultural monuments, women presenting various crafts, as well as sales of locally produced goods, and host families for serving local food and presenting preparation of various dishes. Many families in the Marneuli district expressed their interest in providing services to tourists visiting the villages surrounding Marneuli: Shulaveri, Samshvilde, Tsopi, Kosalar, Shaumiani and Tamarisi. DWM discussed the possibilities of developing tourism with Department of Education, Sports and Youth Affairs of the Marneuli Municipality at a joint public meeting. In May 2015 the Tourist agency Transcaucasian Enigma was established.

geThe awarded campaign of the Lagodekhi Development Centre - Greenline aims to initiate the development of ecological thinking and participation of youth in protection of local environment. Activities included testing of various agricultural sites in Kvareli for measuring pollution of soil and groundwater, with the participation of 40 schoolchildren from two villages of Gavazi and Akhalsopeli, a soil specialist from the local municipality and the NGO personnel. It should be noted that Kvareli Municipality has contributed to the project with specialist services and special equipment for chemical testing of soil and water. This also proves the effectiveness of NGO-Local Government cooperation when the public good is at stake.

ge4The project idea “Promoting Public Participation of Rural Populations in Decision Making” aims to promote active public participation in decision making in Akhaltsikhe municipality through establishing “Rural Community Halls". These rural non-profit associations will be composed of 2 elected members from each of the 5 villages of the municipality. “Rural Community Hall” had its statute elaborated and legally registered as a non-profit organization and its members will help people detect the problems of villages and think of sustainable solutions. “Rural Community Hall” is thus promoting new local initiatives. Spearheaded by those on the municipal level, it is helping to carry the people’s voices to upper levels of power, defining and prioritizing community problems and finding suitable and rational solutions.

The awarded campaigns occurred within the framework of „Learning by Doing - Practice-oriented V4 support for strengthening civil society in the Caucasus” project, led by Hungarian Foundation for Development of Democratic Rights (DemNet), in partnership also with Civitas Georgica. The project was financially supported by the International Visegrad Fund.

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Three Georgian NGOs attempt to enhance
women’s participation, tackle ecology problems and
support local councils in caring for the natural environment

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