Bolnisi Residents Revitalize Cultural Processes in Their City
Georgian citizens living in regional towns and villages are often deprived of the opportunity to attend and take part in artistic, educational, and cultural events. However, local activists from Bolnisi are working to change that. With support from the USAID Civil Society Engagement Program, local CSO Youth Initiative for Changes is working to revitalize a defunct cinema in Bolnisi and turn it into a cultural-educational center.
In the fall of 2022, the group submitted a proposal for the cinema’s renovation under Bolnisi’s inclusive budgeting scheme, a new initiative supported by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) that aims to encourage citizen participation in local budget planning. Under this arrangement, citizens can submit proposals for projects they wish to see implemented in their communities, which are then put to a public vote to compete for municipal funding. Youth Initiative for Changes was able to mobilize the local population around the initiative and successfully secure 300,000 GEL in municipal funding to begin the renovation of the cinema. The first phase of rehabilitation process, which envisions roofing and renovation of the toilets, is currently ongoing and will soon be completed.
In August, the group conducted an online poll and a public discussion to draft the concept for the development of the Bolnisi Theater. While the concept is being finalized, the group is continuing to organize various cultural-educational events at the cinema. The CSO has also started a crowdfunding campaign to collect 7000 GEL to equip the cinema building with a heating system so residents can attend cultural events year-round. You can find out more about the group’s work and contribute to the campaign here.