Annual Report 2016
General Assembly of Green Caucasus decided to transfer all the reins of power to a new generation in June 7, 2016. Young professionals with fresh vision and strategy of development came in the management team of organization. They have planned initiatives to strengthen social cohesion in multicultural regions conducive to dialogue and understanding among youth of different ethnicity communities. Therefore the target group of two projects implemented in the 2016 year was the students enrolled by the quota system for ethnic minorities at universities in capital Tbilisi. The vast majority of them come from the regions where minorities live compactly and they have logistical problems in an unknown city, exacerbated by communication difficulties due to the lack of language knowledge. Thus they are especially sensitive to non-tolerant attitude and need support very much.
In partnership with International Center for Civic Culture, Green Caucasus implemented project “Self-governance School for Students from Kvemo Kartli Region” in January-September, 2016 (23.000 $ funded by UNDP’s Project “Fostering Regional and Local Development in Georgia”). This project gave fresh start to partner organizations in long-term work among ethnical minority youth which are most active in civil life. Unlikely other, non-systematic projects were held during last years in Georgia which had broad idea to increase opportunities among ethnical minorities, following project has aims to solve specific problem among youth - finding a job after graduating, for which the state has no defined policy and appropriate programs.
There were prepared schedule and syllabus as well as text-book in municipal law “Local Self-governance” was published for training course “Self-governance School”. Facebook-group was created for students willing to involve in the project.
At the spring session 72 trainings were arranged, which covered the topics about municipal legislature, and 64 students were trained. 54 (84%) of trained participants were ethnical Azerbaijani students enrolled in Tbilisi Universities by quota system, 47% from which were females. From the beginning project covered students from one region – Kvemo Kartli, however during the implementation ethnical minority students from Kakheti region were involved in the training course too.
52 students successfully passed the final test and received certificates at the presentation held at the “Courtyard Marriott” in June, 21. Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure, Heads of municipalities, Manager of the UNDP Project and other invited speakers addressed to the auditory. They congratulated to the students successfully completion of the study and wished further success.
During the summer holidays Heads and officials of municipalities met with project participants and had conversations about important issues regarding youth. Successful graduates of the Self-governance School took monthly summer practice at municipal offices and were familiarized to everyday activities of local government.
Demand for the Self-governance School exceed every expectations which gives hope that more and more ethnical minority students are interested and willing to take part in the teaching course and they will be equipped with proper knowledge and skills to pass the exam of public servant. The text-book “Local Self-governance” was updated and published for autumn session of “Self-governance School”. Free PDF version of text-book was published online too. Teaching materials prepared in the framework Self-governance School were acknowledged by universities and other NGOs (Georgian Institute of Public Affairs, Civil Society Institute) and they started using the text-book as an auxiliaryit in their teaching process. 24 training sessions were held and 20 ethnical Azerbaijani students (55% of them were females) were trained in November-December, 2016. Many students expressed a desire to participate at the next training session in spring 2017.
Knowledge of legislature basis in municipal law among the youth of ethnical minorities enhances capabilities of local communities and give them more opportunities to involve in decision making process of local government. This will also empower youth to take positions in municipal offices and could change the current picture - the number of public servants belonging to minorities is very low in Kvemo Kartli region, according to our own survey which presented to representatives of central NGO’s, Office of State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, Governor’s Office and Heads of Municipalities in September 16, 2016.
Teaching program “Self-governance School” stresses the importance of civil awareness among ethnical minorities as involvement in public and political life is their civil duty and as members of the democratic society they are encouraged to engage in public life. Students expressed their willingness actively take part to increase awareness of population and observe election process, in which Green Caucasus provides its support and creates projects to find the best solutions for the problems. In this purpose, organization registered as observer organization (Decree #268/2016 of Central Electoral Commission, June 30, 2016) and engaged ethnic minority students as volunteer observers in the parliamentary election of 2016.
Students expressed desire to contribute in the process of information spreading among Azerbaijani population in Kvemo Kartli regarding the public, political, cultural and economic processes throughout the country via spreading video items, live stream broadcasts and articles in internet. This would be important contribution to increase ethnical minorities’ participation in public life as lack information remains to be one of the major obstacles for it.
According to the peers willingness we started the new project “Youth Initiative to Inform Ethnic Minorities” in October, 2016 (41.000 $ founded by UNDP’s Project “Fostering Regional and Local Development in Georgia”).
In the frame of current project Youth Web-Studio was equipped with facilities required for making video items and online streaming broadcasts. 2-day trainings were hold for students and young journalists in Telavi in October 22-23, 2016. Web-page in Azerbaijani was created at internet-portal ivote.ge/az.html, YouTube channel youtube.com/channel/UC5Bmc_NUlIOraxzfXvlIiJw and Facebook page were made for Youth Studio. In short time the Facebook page facebook.com/youthstudio2017/ became popular and more than 1500-300 people view online streaming broadcasts, video-items and articles shared by Youth Studio, which is quite impressive number for their community.
Green Caucasus implemented project “Participatory Planning in Urban Settlement” (15.000 $ funded by Open Society Georgia Foundation OSGF) in June, 2016 – January, 2017. Foreign experience in the planning of city development with society engaging adopted in the Tetritskaro and manual for municipalities were published. Although the project did not aimed particularly to youth participation, organization has achieved to enhance the representativeness of youth in Civic Advisory Council of the municipality. Subsequently, based on the gained experience the organization prepared the proposal of additions to Article 851 of Self-governance Code about using the participatory planning mechanism in projects preparation by Civic Advisory Council of the municipality.
Green Caucasus was selected as a regional partner organization in the project “For Open and Accountable Local Government - National Assessment of Transparency and Public Participation of Georgian Municipalities” funded by OSGF (May, 2017 – July, 2017).