Encouraging Youth Activism in Akhaltsikhe and Ninotsminda
Civic engagement in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region, and in particular the ethnic minority populated municipalities, is very low. According to a survey conducted by the Open Society Georgia Foundation, 83% of the population of this region has never engaged with the local government. The language barrier further aggravates this issue since ethnic minority representatives do not have access to public information in their own language.
However, there are active citizens and civil society organizations in the region who endeavor to increase community participation in public processes. One such organization is the Ninotsminda- based CSO Youth for Democratic Changes, which recently started a civic engagement project with support from the USAID Civil Society Engagement Program.
In August, the project selected 20 active citizens from the Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda municipalities and trained them in local governance, civic engagement opportunities, and the importance of active citizenship. The trained activists will now put their knowledge into practice by identifying the crucial problems in their communities, mobilizing citizens, and advocating for the resolution of these problems. Youth for Democratic Changes will support their trainees throughout the process.