CSOs and Civic Activists Meet Locals in Javakheti
To foster closer cooperation among civil society and residents from all over Georgia and ensure that the work it supports focuses on citizen-identified priorities, the USAID Civil Society Engagement Program uses bus tours to visit remote areas and hold informal discussions with locals. To raise awareness of these local issues and promote wider engagement in addressing them, civil society organizations (CSOs), civic activists, and journalists are also invited to attend these meetings.
From October 1-3, the Program organized a bus tour in five villages of the Ninotsminda and Akhalkalaki municipalities in partnership with local CSOs Towards New Possibilities and Youth for Democratic Changes, as well Tbilisi-based CSOs, and other activists.
At the meetings, which were held outdoors in the villages and at two youth centers, locals discussed pressing issues in their communities, including poor school infrastructure, a lack of access to preschool education, administrative barriers related to a lack of Georgian language proficiency, as well as economic hardship and increased migration. Residents also noted issues related to registration of lands and unequal access to pasturelands owned by a small number of people, which restrict access for the rest of the population; poor village infrastructure and transportation systems; and a lack of Georgian citizenship for residents of many villages, particularly in Vachiani, Kartikami, and Paravani.
In partnership with the USAID Unity through Diversity Program, CSOs and activists met with youth at the Ninotsminda and Akhalkalaki youth centers, where they discussed school challenges, engagement of parents in the school management process, and problems related to knowledge of the Georgian language.
Moving forward, the USAID Civil Society Engagement Program will work to provide support to active members of these communities that wish to raise awareness and advocate for these local issues to be addressed.