Social Lab Discussion

Social Lab Discussion

On May 21, EWMI ACCESS organized a discussion with diverse stakeholders in Kutaisi. The discussion was held in a “Social Lab” format and brought together people of various backgrounds, including students, teachers, artists, journalists, businessmen, NGO representatives and public officials. The Social Lab method has been widely used over the past years by various organizations to find alternative solutions to complex social issues and test these alternatives in practice until any of them proves successful.

The Kutaisi discussion was dedicated to analyzing the problem of low civic engagement in NGO activities and low public trust towards NGOs in Georgia, “diagnosing” the problem and exploring alternative solutions. At the start of the discussion, all participants expressed their views and assessments about the activities and image of Georgian NGOs in general. The meeting then moved to analyzing more specific issues, namely: why large groups of citizens are not involved in NGO activities in Georgia? Why NGOs cannot reach out to wider groups of society and gain their interest and trust? What are the limitations and barriers that international donors set on the NGOs and how they affect the project implementation process. The meeting participants also discussed possible solutions to the problems and challenges in this sphere and provided recommendations on how could NGOs change the attitudes and apply new methods to boost public interest and trust in their activities; which topics NGOs should work on to attract wider public attention and engagement? What are the issues that donors should consider while giving out the grants to NGOs?

EWMI ACCESS thanks all participants for their enthusiasm and participation in this very interesting discussion. EWMI ACCESS will consider their comments and recommendations in planning the future grants contests for NGOs that will be released soon.

Overall purpose of the ACCESS project is to build the capacities of Georgian Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and build public trust towards them. This meeting served to explore alternative and innovative ways towards reaching this overall goal.

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