On May 6, 2016 the USAID-funded Centers for Civic Engagement (CCE) were registered as an independent non-governmental organization “the Network of Centers for Civic Engagement (NCCE)”.
Starting in 2011, USAID supported the establishment of 10 Centers for Civic Engagement (CCEs) throughout Georgia. Located primarily in regional capitals, CCEs operate as politically neutral gathering spaces for public discourse. CCEs promote democratic values by being open to any individual or group regardless of political or social affiliations. Additionally, CCEs organize events promoting dialogue between citizens and government, and provide public access to internet and library resources.
CCEs are highly valued by CSOs, media, community groups, political parties, government, international organizations, and educational institutions for the high quality of the services they provide.
As of January 2015 EWMI ACCESS took over support and management of all 10 CCEs. One of the ACCESS objectives is to turn the CCEs into local independent organizations that support Georgia’s democratic development in the long run, beyond the USAID funding. To this end ACCESS supported establishment of Network of Centers for Civic Engagement (NCCE) as an independent non-governmental, non-partisan organization. The NCCE now has a separate management structure with a staff of 20 people (coordinators and deputy coordinators in 10 regions), the executive director and governing board comprised of independent experts and the CCE coordinators from three regions of Georgia.
To ensure that CCEs continue their operation without interruption ACCESS will fully support NCCE during the transitional period and provide core funding and capacity development initiatives (including technical assistance) for a couple of years. ACCESS will also support the NCCE in securing alternative funding sources.
Maya Purstkhvanidze – Coordinator of the Telavi Center for Civic Engagement and the NCCE Chair of the Board says: „Registration of all ten CCEs under one umbrella organization is a strong advantage for organizational development and sustainability. CCEs will now have more freedom to build partnerships with other local organizations and focus more on various issues of public concern. Since the NCCE staff has full ownership of the Network, we have to rethink our roles and become active project managers and social entrepreneurs to secure alternative funding and ensure financial sustainability of the Centers in the long run. We have to be more actively engaged with local and national NGOs, businesses and other stakeholders. Overall we are very optimistic and excited about the new development opportunities”.
Centers for Civic Engagement are located in 10 cities of Georgia: Akhaltsikhe, Batumi, Gori, Kutaisi, Marneuli, Ozurgeti, Rustavi, Sagarejo, Telavi and Zugdidi.