The proposed intervention aimed at forging a common understanding and vision of the Georgian state among the citizens of Georgia despite their ethnic origin and promoting a national integration process in line with the principles of modern, democratic state. The project activities were divided into three components and took place in Akhalkalaki PPU. The office space had been equipped with computers, internet connection, books and could hold up to 50 participants for various project activities. The project mainly targeted the representatives of civil society, media, local government and community leaders of Samtskhe-Javakheti.
The project was divided into the following three components:
Component I: Skills Based Capacity Building Activities
This component includeda series of lectures and skills-based in-class instructions to familiarize the project participants with the basics of the Georgian governance system, specifically, with the new constitutional amendments adopted in October of 2010 and coming into force with the next Presidential elections of 2013, discourse regarding the election code, as well as legislation governing the local government. The module would also provide the participants with the skills necessary to carry out policy research and develop policy recommendations. In addition, special trainings are dedicated to the Georgian language, IT and presentation skills, web tools for social networking and blog development. Enhancing the Georgian language proficiency and computer skills would increase the overall competitiveness of the ethnic minority representatives on the job market. Furthermore, better understanding of the web technologies would help them to advocate and lobby their cause through developing their own blogs. The special topics would be devoted to increasing tolerance and respect for cultural diversity and presented by vigilantly selected lecturers. Apart from the training, this component included different events, such as exhibitions, or screening of documentaries followed by discussions.
Below is the list of the training sessions:
• Georgian Language – communication and official documentation.
• IT, presentation skills, web tools for social networking and blog development.
• Consensus facilitation and negotiation skills.
• Policy analysis and policy paper drafting focuses on problem identification and analysis, research and policy formulation stages.
• Research Methods and Data Analysis offer an overview of basic research methods, qualitative and quantitative types of research, as well as some basic concepts of data collection and analysis.
• Georgian Governance focuses on the constitutional amendments, election code and local government.
• Tolerance and Cultural Diversity would include lectures, discussion, exhibitions and documentary screening aimed at promoting tolerance and importance of valuing cultural diversity of Georgia.
Component II: General Awareness Raising Training
GFSIS experts offered lectures that raise general knowledge of the audience on politics, economics and international relations and help them to better understand and to properly interpret various developments of local or international importance. The topics fell under two primary categories: 1) an economic block, including principles of economics, economies of transition, banking and finances, trade policy, socio-economic problems of Georgia, Georgia’s economy, etc. and 2) international Block, which focused on the challenges confronting Georgia, discuss foreign policy capabilities and tools, as well as concentrate on examining combination of internal and external threats to national security, with emphasis on non-military aspects.
Component III: Speaker Series on Government Policies – “Guest of the region”
The Guest Speaker Series was designed to enhance understanding and to stimulate thought and discussion of some of the most important national policies. Under this component, the PPU in Akhalkalaki was hosting representatives of the governmental agencies to explain and to discuss the government policies identified as a priority direction in the National Concept. These were public discussions open to all interested individuals from the region.