Location: entire Georgia, especially the self-governments of Gori, Tskaltubo and Borjomi
Project value: 245 000 PLN
Donor: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland
Agencja Rozwoju Strategicznego Municypalitetu Gori
Samtskhe-Javakhetia Media Center
Association of Financiers of Local Self-Government Units of Georgia
In 2015 in Marneuli, Georgia, the first participatory budgeting process was launched with the financial support from the Polish Aid programme. It was the first participatory budgeting in this region and one of the few in Europe to have a regional scope, rather than being limited to a single city. Throughout the three years we have succeeded in perfecting two models of implementation that address the local needs and that can be adjusted to the specificity of the region. These models are suitable for four Georgian municipalities. The development of the participatory budgeting is of particular importance in the light of the decentralisation reform under way, as well as other measures aimed at strengthening the civic participation in Georgia.
Within the framework of the project, Solidarity Fund PL has granted support to two municipalities: Gori and Tskaltubo, which organised participatory budgeting (PB) processes within their territory. Both self-governments were supported with expertise on each stage of PB implementation, as well as with funding for information and promotion campaigns. The Fund held training sessions for the coordinators and the organisers of the process from both self-governments, secured involvement of social partners, and offered consultancy throughout each stage of the process of PB implementation.
Both municipalities, Gori and Tskaltubo, were awarded for the best initiative in the category “civic engagement” in the competition of the National Association of Local Authorities (NALA).
The project covered also information activities in Borjomi municipality. In collaboration with Samtskhe-Javakheti Media Center a campaign was carried out in 18 localities was, with the aim of informing residents about the results of the 2017 participatory budgeting.
2018 brought important developments for PB in Georgia. The Fund has successfully created the Standards of the participatory budget in Georgia, which facilitate the works of new self-governments that introduce the PB and enable certification. The Standards draw on the current experiences in the implementation of PB in Georgia and come as a result of the work of practitioners, i.e. the representatives of the municipalities and NGOs who, under the supervision of Polish and Ukrainian experts, have formulated the basic rules for PB in Georgia. Two publications were prepared. One of them is the “Standards of the participatory budget in Georgia”, which contains the fundamental principles for PB implementation, while the second is the “Guide to PB Standards Implementation in Georgia”.
The highlight of the entire project was the concluding conference that took place in Tbilisi with the participation of i.a. Mzia Giorgobiani, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, and Mariusz Maszkiewicz, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland. The event gathered 60 participants, among them were the representatives of self-governments, central administration, and non-governmental organisations from all across Georgia. On the second day of the conference, a workshop on PB was held for the representatives of 8 self-governments.
Importantly, the support offered by Polish organisations (initially the Other Space Foundation, currently the Fund) has left a clear mark: there is no other body that would support the implementation of PB in Georgia in such comprehensive and practical manner.
The Project was co-financed by the Polish development cooperation programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.