Leading National CSOs Meet Local Communities in Guria
On July 6, 7, and 8, seven leading Georgian CSOs together with EWMI ACCESS traveled to the villages of Guria region and met face-to-face with rural residents to hear firsthand about their issues and problems, as well as to talk about CSO activities and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration process. Representatives of International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), Transparency International Georgia (TI-Georgia), Media Development Foundation (MDF), Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC), EUGeorgia.info, Economic Policy and Research Center (EPRC) and EWMI ACCESS participated in the meetings. The Guria-based CSOs also joined the tour.
Meetings were held in an informal setting – in the backyards and houses of local residents that facilitated open and engaged discussions. CSO representatives presented their work to the residents, provided consultations on certain topics and promised assistance in solving some of the local problems. CSOs strongly underlined importance of civic activism and engagement in decision-making process and informed population about various civic engagement methods envisioned in the Georgian legislation. Local population was also informed about Georgia’s European Integration process, benefits and new opportunities stemming from the open trade relationships between Georgia and EU and its impact on Georgian farmers and entrepreneurs, as well as positive implications of the upcoming visa-free travel to the EU countries.
Purpose of the open meetings was to link national CSOs and the communities at the grassroots level and find the ways how CSOs could contribute to solving their primary problems. Similar open community meetings were held last year in Upper Ajara. As a follow-up to the Ajara tour, visiting CSOs advocated towards relevant decision-makers for solving some of the key problems raised at the community meetings. As a result, some infrastructural problems were solved for villages in Ajara. In addition, EPRC representatives helped one of the local farmers in preparing business proposal and gaining funding.
This year ACCESS will coordinate follow-up actions to the problems identified at the meetings in Guria.
Meetings were organized by EWMI ACCESS.