Strengthening the Role of Rural Associations in Democratic Processes in Georgia (STAGE)

The STAGE project aims to build the capacity of rural associations through improving management structures and staff skills, raising awareness, establishing relationships with the private sector and national-level organisations, which are able to advocate for local development at the central government level. Since November 2006, the project has been working in eight municipalities of Georgia: Borjomi, Akhaltsikhe, Aspindza and Adigeni in Samtskhe-Javakheti and Gardabani, Marneuli, Tetristskaro and Tsalka in Kvemo Kartli. This 30-month project, funded by “Austrian Development Cooperation and Cooperation with Eastern Europe” (ADC) (for more information please visit: www.mfa.at/adc, www.ada.gv.at), is implemented by CARE Oesterreich (Austria) and CARE International in the Caucasus in partnership with three local non-governmental organisations: Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), Civitas Georgia and Civil Development Agency (CiDA).”

Georgia Advocacy and Legal Advice Center (G-ALAC)

The goal of the project was to design and establish the Anti-corruption and Legal Advice Center (ALAC), with the following functions:
– to assist citizens in resolving corruption related problems;
– to inform citizens about the available methods to combat the problem of corruption;
– to ensure the effective communication between citizens and state institutions responsible for dealing with those problems;
– to ascertain the sectors in which instances of corruption are most common; and
– to highlight and resolve the legislative and systemic weaknesses that foster corruption.

Civil Transparency Center

Anti-corruptive Patrol: The direction aimed to monitor the activities which were carried out by the Rustavi Branch of the Civil Registry Agency, by providing newsletters regarding their work. Finally the monitoring process was successfully accomplished, followed by recommendations which were delivered to the Civil Registery Agency Chairman at the Rustavi Branch. The monitoring was attended by the lawyer of Rustavi Council, NGO representatives, journalists and students. In the year of 2006, the monitoring aimed to perform the quarterly analysis of budget programs in the city of Rustavi and Gardabani district. After research completion, the Civil Development Agency (CiDA) issued the brochures which were delivered to governmental/non-governmental structures. The obtained information was also available via newspapers published by CiDA.

Monitoring Georgia’s International Commitments

TI Georgia’s on-going project (some independet stages are completed – impact can be judged) – Monitoring Georgia’s International Commitments – is funded by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs. As the name would suggest, it aims to monitor, assess and evaluate international commitments Georgia has made, particularly those under the European Neighborhood Policy. Four specific sectors have been identified: (1) rule of law—judiciary, law enforcement institutions, and criminal justice; (2) human rights and fundamental freedoms; (3) business climate and economic development; and (4) security and conflict resolution.
The project is less about international commitments per se and more about the government’s commitment to and implementation of reforms. Reform, when initiated, is done so in an entirely ad-hoc manner and at the level of individual sectors, ignoring the importance of comprehensive and inclusive reform strategies. There is little input or oversight from the public or from experts who can accurately assess the work being done. In general, there has been a lack of information generated or circulated on the work of individual sectors, conflicting and inconsistent accounts of what changes are being made, and a general lack of understanding within the ministries themselves of what should be their medium- and long-term reform strategies.
TI Georgia’s project, by independently assessing the Government’s activities in comparison with its international commitments, by increasing public access to information on reforms, and providing the international community with an independent assessment of the reform process, fills an important gap. It acts as an early warning mechanism, giving warning of corruption, and as a catalyst for continuous re-planning and revision of decisions and procedures. In a broader sense, it seeks to ensure the development of a consistent and long-term reform strategy.

Transparency and Civil Participation in Budget Policy of the Self-Governed City of Rustavi

The project was designed to raise public awareness on 2008’s budget of Rustavi in publicly comprehensive language; also to assist interest groups in knowing how to involve into decision-making (media, civil society and youth) and then how to take action with decision-making itself (local government). Program goal: the project aims to encourage transparency, civil participation and enlarged governmental accountability in budget policy. Program objectives:
• Informing interest groups on 2008’s budget of Rustavi;
• Providing platform to 2008’s budget-financed programs for interest groups;
• Improving the civil service agencies of Rustavi self-government;
• Providing skills and knowledge for interest groups and local government on the issues of participation in budget formation process;
• Providing skills and knowledge for local government related with public opinion research and the designs of PR campaign.

Millennium Challenge Grant Program Monitoring

The Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) has played a leading role in promoting the civic oversight and transparent implementation of the Millennium Challenge Georgia (MCG) Compact – a seminal and innovative assistance programme for Georgia from the Government of USA, which entered into force on 7 April 2006 with duration of five years.
EPRC has been monitoring the Millennium Challenge Georgia (MCG) Program since January 2006. Supported by Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF), the monitoring of this key foreign assistance program in Georgia has been implemented in cooperation with other NGOs that are members of the Transparent Foreign Aid to Georgia Coalition.
Over the period between 2006 and 2010, the EPRC published five monitoring reports, corresponding to the five stages of MCG implementation. These reports have been recognized as important tools for achieving transparency of the program and promoting the accountability in its implementation. EPRC has identified serious flaws in the management of the project, revealed lack of competence in several contractors, facilitated the development of transparency strategy, analyzed the impact of the program on the economic and monetary parameters in the country, and reviewed the conformity of results achieved through the implementation of projects with the goals declared in the Compact.
source: EPRC

Monitoring of Georgia’s Implementation of OECD’s Anti-Corruption Network for Transitions Economies Recommendations

The project aimed at ensuring implementation of the recommendations developed under the Anti-Corruption Action Plan by the Anti-Corruption Network for Transition Economies (ACN) – a regional anti-corruption program of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). To accomplish this, TI Georgia continued to monitor action taken by the government of Georgia to implement the ACN recommendations and present the respective findings to the OECD ACN and the Georgian public.

Capacity building in support of cooperative and participatory processes

The goal of this project was to support the establishment of basic preconditions for participatory cooperation between regional authorities, municipalities and civil society groups in the planning and implementation of the social and economic reform process in Marneuli and Gardabani districts. Target groups: Local councilors, NGO, the general public.

Engage and Monitor for Change

Goals

EPF’s Engage and Monitor for Change program fosters the active and informed participation of Georgian community groups, CSOs and media outlets in the political and economic decision-making in their regions by building capacity among civic groups, encouraging monitoring and evaluation of policy reforms and facilitating public discussions, debates and network building. EPF also provides targeted small grants to unite less experienced organizations with more developed CSOs in project development and implementation and conducts grant competitions in civic monitoring of various sectors.

Impact

The concept of participatory civic monitoring emphasizes the process by which primary stakeholders at the local level actively engage in monitoring the government’s commitments to the reform process and public service delivery and become engaged in identifying or taking corrective actions. Through this process, EPF builds the capacity of local people to analyze information and catalyze commitment at the local level. Since the program’s inception in 2007, EPF has awarded over $480,000 to thirty four local civil organizations to engage in civic monitoring and capacity building through the targeted grant competitions. EPF will award more grants in 2013 to foster community engagement through the two more targeted grant competitions.

Source: Eurasia Partnership Foundation. Read more about this project here.

Monitoring the Use of Administrative Resources in the 2008 Presidential and Parliamentary Election

TI Georgia monitored the use of administrative resources during the 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections. The monitoring included:

a.interviews with the leaders of various political parties participating in the elections, representatives of Georgian and international NGOs involved in election monitoring, and state institutions involved in election administration;
b.analyzing the allocation of state funds during the pre-election period based on official documentation;
c.analyzing political advertising and coverage of political candidates through selected media outlets;
d.analyzing election legislation and the decisions of the Central Election Commission; and
e.observing the pre-election activities of the ruling party.
The misuse of administrative resources has been cited as a problem in Georgia in every election since 2003. After the presidential election in January 2008, TI Georgia has made specific recommendations about how to reduce the use of administrative resources during election campaigns. Unfortunately, despite the need and the advocacy work done by both domestic and international organizations on this issue, the Election Code was not modified to limit the use of administrative resources in advance of the parliamentary elections. Rather, legislation has been made more liberal instead of more restrictive. Public officials were still allowed to engage in pre-election campaigning activities, with few exceptions indicated in the law, and election candidates were granted the right to use material-technical resources funded from the state and local budgets as long as these resources are equally accessible for all of them.

Cooperation for Development

The goal of this project was to support the establishment of transparent and efficient procedures in everyday work of local government units, strengthen human capacities and support citizen involvement in public decision making. Target group: Local councilors, district administration office, the general public.

Strengthening the Media’s Role as a Watchdog Institution in Georgia

Goals

With funding from the European Union, EPF began the Strengthening the Media’s Role as a Watchdog Institution in Georgia project, focused on increasing public access to high quality, professional, independent information.
Main activities of the project are the following:

• Perform a media landscape study through surveys, focus groups and in-depth interviewing.

• Link the Georgian Association of Regional Broadcasters (GARB) with a media association in a new EU member state and undertake activities aimed at institutional development of the GARB.

• Conduct trainings for media and legal professionals on the specifics of investigative journalism, media legislation, access to information.

• Establish the Georgian Media Legal Defence Centre (GMLDC) to provide free legal aid for journalists, media outlets, and lawyers and to advocate for legislative changes.

• Hold TV and public discussions involving all stakeholders to encourage broad, inclusive dialogue on the state of the media in Georgia.

• Conduct targeted grant competitions on investigative journalism.

Results

EPF’s Caucasus Research Resource Center has undertaken a study of the Georgian media landscape consisting of a survey of public attitudes to the media in Georgia, a series of focus groups with media consumers, in-depth interviews with media professionals, and media monitoring of Georgian TV news. The results of the study were presented at the “European Union-Georgia” Civil Society Human Rights Seminar on Media Freedom and Internally Displaced Persons organized by the European Commission Delegation to Georgia in November, 2009. The report provided a comprehensive picture of the current situation in the Georgian media and served as the basis for a vibrant discussion at the seminar.

Source: Eurasia Partnership Foundation. Read more about this project here.

Georgian Government under the Sunshine and/within “FOI Implementation, Law Reform and Financial Transparency”

The project was one of the most important and influental in the anti-corruption sphere in Georgia. it had a long duration period with several phases, with strong support from many different international donors with large sclae funding. The project aimed at the promotion of accountable government structures through the implementation of the legislation on the access to information and, at the same time, through the promotion of financial transparency in the public institutions funded from the state budget by using FOI as an instrument. The following activities were implemented within the framework of the project: 1. Implementing freedom of information principles in real life by strategic litigation and monitoring access to information; 2. Monitoring and advocacy through the project “Georgian Government under Sunshine”, which includes the following elements: support of the establishment of public broadcaster; monitoring of the President’s reserve fund; monitoring of the Government’s reserve fund; monitoring of the reserve fund of Adjara autonomous republic; 3. Assistance to the development of the local NGO sector addressing corruption and transparency actions in Adjara and Kutaisi; 4. Round tables and trainings for judges and freedom of information officers; 5. Creation of data bases of freedom of information officers in Georgia; 6. Creation of an online guidebook on Freedom of Information; 7. Elaboration of recommendations for the promotion and development of freedom of information legislation and practice in Georgia.

Promoting Civil Society Monitoring of Secondary Healthcare

During October 2007 – May 2008, Transparency International Georgia implemented the project Promoting Civil Society Monitoring of Secondary Healthcare Reform with funding from the Eurasia Partnership Foundation. The proposal was designed to follow on the heels of the government’s initiation of hospital sector privatization and had two main objectives: promote the effectiveness of the healthcare system in Georgia and improve the capacity of civil society to monitor the reform of secondary healthcare in Georgia.

Promoting Understanding of the Energy Sector in Georgia

The project strove to increase public awareness of the energy sector in Georgia and to disseminate information throughout the country about the reforms carried out in this sector. In order to accomplish these goals, TI Georgia:
– conducted intensive trainings for journalists on the energy sector in Georgia to develop understanding of this complicated sector. In total 10 trainings were conducted;
– produced tri-annual newspaper inserts that included comprehensive articles on energy sector related issues for distribution throughout the country; and
– produced and disseminated monthly reports documenting (a) issues of concern in the energy sector, (b) the government’s activities and achievement of intended results, (c) transparency of the sector, and (d) the effect of international energy developments on Georgia and Georgia’s relations with energy supplier countries.