Balanced TV Coverage of 2020 Elections
To promote fair and accurate television coverage of Georgian politics and current events in the run-up to the 2020 parliamentary election campaign. Endowment support will be used to pay journalists’ salaries and to help pay for a new TV studio, enabling the grantee to increase and diversify their reporting.
Civic Engagement for Members of Religious Communities
Center for Development and Democracy
To engage with educators in religious education institutions in Georgia to increase their capacity to teach civics and to talk with students about Georgia’s democratic development. As part of the project, the grantee will conduct trainings for civic educators working in religious schools, focusing on democracy, human rights and Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration. It will also host public events to discuss these topics with a larger audience, including parishioners, clergy, and church officials.
Community Radio in Kvemo Kartli
Union of Journalists Voice of People
To promote civic participation in Kvemo Kartli through its Marneuli-based community radio station. The organization will be a reliable source of information on local and national political developments for members of the Azerbaijani and Armenian ethnic minority communities in their local language. The grantee will encourage civic engagement by soliciting contributions and commentary from community members and by encouraging voter participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Confronting the Populist Challenge to Liberal Democracy
Georgian Institute of Politics
To investigate the challenges posed by fringe populist groups in Georgia. The organization will examine declining trust in state institutions, rising populism, and the influence of these trends on Georgia’s democratic development. It will analyze the networks of populist groups in Georgia, as well as their agendas and activities, and assess their ability to affect political processes and state institutions. To present its research findings and discuss mitigation strategies, the grantee will publish policy briefs and hold local and international conferences.
Developing Georgian Independent Media
Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics
To monitor Georgian media outlets for violations of professional and ethical standards. The organization will monitor Georgian media outlets and publish critiques of unprofessional and unethical reporting on the online media critique platform, Mediachecker. It will promote editorial independence and unbiased, reliable reporting by journalists in Georgia to increase public trust in the media.
Encouraging Policy Discussions with the Georgian Church
Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies
To increase the capacity of members of the Georgian Orthodox Church to support Georgia’s democratic development. The organization will conduct a series of trainings with representatives of orthodox communities to raise their awareness of key issues and to support their productive engagement. The trainings will also promote constructive dialogue between members of the Georgian Orthodox Church and civil society.
Georgia’s Reforms Associates
To promote the accountability of public officials in Georgia. The organization will fact-check government officials’ statements during the spring and fall sessions of parliament, as well as during live televised debates leading up to the October 2020 parliamentary elections. The organization will also monitor local and national media outlets during both parliamentary sessions and during the pre- and post-election period. With Endowment support, the grantee will publish fact-checking articles on its website, produce articles debunking anti-Western propaganda, and prepare weekly briefs.
Government Oversight and Civic Engagement in Javakheti
NGO Open Borders
To promote citizen oversight of local government and freedom of information in Akhalkalaki in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia. The organization will cover local governance issues in Akhalkalaki and other regional news, as well as national news stories, particularly developments affecting Georgia’s Armenian minority population. The news site will publish in Armenian and Russian and include multimedia and investigative journalism. The organization will solicit and disseminate news submissions from citizen journalists.
Improving Access to Local Information
Kakhetis Khma (Voice of Kakheti) Media House
To increase awareness of issues facing the Kakheti region of eastern Georgia. The grantee will maintain and develop its online news portal, with a focus on news and reporting from rural communities in the Kakheti region. The organization will also continue to train young journalists and to produce analytical content and accompanying multimedia pieces on local and national issues.
Independent News in Adjara
To promote independent media in the Adjara region of Georgia. The organization will report on breaking news and political and social developments in Batumi and the surrounding area. To encourage government accountability, the organization will also prepare analytical articles and investigative reports on the activities of government officials and private companies.
Independent News in Samtskhe-Javakheti
The Union Southern Gates
To develop independent media in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region. The grantee will produce multimedia and video news reports on a daily basis for its website, sknews.ge. The grantee will also host radio and online talk shows, publish analytical and news articles, and continue its citizen journalism training program to increase the capacity for local news reporting. Under this program, a particular emphasis will be placed on covering the presidential elections.
Investigating China’s Soft Power in Georgia
Civic Initiative for Democratic & Euro-Atlantic Choice
To investigate China’s economic and political influence in Georgia. The organization will conduct research to combat the public relations campaigns of the Georgian government portraying Chinese investment as an exclusively positive opportunity for Georgia and illustrate how state resources have been used for private gain in deals with China. It will highlight how China uses such deals to increase its soft power in the region and how China’s investments reduced transparency of foreign investment and created conditions conducive to corruption and nepotism.
Investigating Use of Public Funds during Elections
To improve accountability and to safeguard against the political use of public funds, particularly in an election year. The organization will conduct surveys and focus groups with residents of large buildings and heads of homeowners’ associations (HOAs), and conduct a trial to test the assumption that housing funds are preferentially given to buildings where the head of the HOA is affiliated with the ruling party. The project will also raise demand for the equitable distribution of funds.
To strengthen government accountability by producing investigative documentaries. The award-winning team of investigative journalists will create in-depth exposés on problems in Georgian society that are often overlooked by other media outlets. The programs will present detailed, objective material on significant political issues, including cases involving institutionalized corruption, human rights violations, and wasteful government expenditures.
Center of Independent Journalists
To support local news and citizen engagement in the Imereti region of Georgia. The organization will continue to operate its online news portal, including content on Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration, monitoring of the local government’s activities, political talk shows, and regular news updates. The grantee will support a group of young journalists in order to increase civic engagement among youth. Particular attention will be given to coverage of local issues and drawing connections between those issues and potential policy responses.
Legal Aid and Human Rights Monitoring
Human Rights Center
To improve human rights practices in Georgia. The organization will monitor and report on human rights, provide free legal aid, and support the activities of two regional human rights centers. The organization will conduct human rights advocacy and will submit reports to the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, and other international organizations. Finally, the organization will produce a documentary film on accountability issues within the Georgian police and security services.
Monitoring Runoff Presidential Elections
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy
To monitor second round presidential elections in Georgia. The organization will deploy trained short-term observers to 650 polling places and 73 mobile teams throughout the country. In addition to observing the voting process, the organization will conduct a parallel vote tabulation to statistically verify the final results.
Monitoring Second Round Presidential Elections
Public Movement Multinational Georgia
To train and deploy short-term observers to regions of Georgia populated largely by ethnic minorities for the second round of the 2018 presidential election. Prior to the election, the organization will hold five one-day trainings for a total of 130 short term observers who will be deployed to five regions in Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli where they will monitor the voting process, file regular reports and lodge any relevant complaints.
Online Armenian-language News Service
To produce daily Armenian-language coverage of political, economic, and social developments in Georgia. This project will provide objective news and information to Georgia’s Armenian minority population. The grantee’s reporting on Georgian national news and the Armenian communities will also inform readers in Armenia of current events in Georgia and provide a comparative perspective.
Democracy Index – Georgia
To monitor and report on the Georgian parliament’s legislation. The organization will monitor draft laws for compliance with the Georgian constitution and international agreements. The organization will also observe the procedural means by which laws are introduced, discussed, and adopted. With Endowment support, the organization will host roundtables, create media programming, and produce written legal assessments of legislative initiatives. The organization will furthermore create and distribute issue briefs to media and lawmakers to inform on proposed legislation.
Participatory Policy Development
Social Justice Research Institute
To increase citizen participation and government accountability in the Imereti region of Georgia. The organization will establish offices in Imereti, with coordinators in the cities of Chiatura and Tkibuli, conduct focus groups with local residents to identify local policy priorities, develop and advocate for policy recommendations, hold trainings on the Georgian electoral process, and support local civic engagement projects.
Promoting Accountability in Local Self-Government
Innovation and Civil Development Center – Progress House
To promote accountable local self-government administration in Georgia. The organization will monitor the implementation of the Georgian government’s decentralization plan to assess its impact on civic engagement in local governance. The grantee will evaluate the performance of local government in Western Georgia and conduct trainings and student discussions to promote citizen engagement with self-government bodies.
Promoting Accountability of Government Officials
Journalistic Data Processing Centre
To promote accountability of Georgian government officials. The organization will monitor the business activities of Georgian parliamentarians, cabinet ministers, judges, law enforcement officials, and regional governors by analyzing their public asset declarations. The project website will feature investigative reports and provide a user-friendly search field that will make publically available information on these officials more accessible to Georgian journalists and the public. The grantee will also advocate for increased transparency of criminal investigations.
Promoting Democratic Ideas and Values in Adjara
Independent Journalists’ House
To promote democratic ideas and values among youth in the Adjara Autonomous Republic of Georgia. The organization will host a series of expert-led discussions on current topics in Georgian politics, which will be available for viewers online in video and print formats. The grantee will organize an additional discussion series on democratic values in rural public schools in the region. It will also work with youth volunteers to produce video programs including news items, talk show features, and analytical pieces about local issues in rural areas of Adjara.
Regional Civic Engagement
Civil Movement of Georgia
To increase civic participation and government accountability in the Kakheti and Samegrelo regions of Georgia. The organization will work with the local community to identify needs and policy priorities, hold advocacy meetings with local officials, investigate abuse of power at the local level, and publicize the results through regular press conferences.
Researching Foreign Ownership in Georgia
Investigative Journalists’ Team iFact
To examine how foreign investment from China influences the economic and political environment in Georgia. The grantee will conduct investigative journalism to reveal how financial ties with authoritarian countries act as soft power mechanisms and the extent to which they influence Georgia’s democratic development and policy. The grantee will also publicize instances of corruption, conflicts of interest, and other illegal operations uncovered by the research.
Governance Monitoring Center
To investigate cases of misspending and corruption by the Georgian government. The organization will increase public awareness of wasteful government spending by publishing investigations into unjustified and potentially illegal government expenditures, such as inappropriate use of administrative resources or public tenders granted to companies connected to public officials. It will also monitor campaign donations and political figures’ finances prior to the 2020 parliamentary elections. The online publications will describe concrete examples of high-level corruption and highlight the lack of transparency and accountability of the government.
Strategic Planning for New Parties
Eastern European Centre for Multiparty Democracy
To increase the strategic and organizational capacities of Georgian political parties, with a particular focus on nascent political movements. The partner will adapt an existing methodology to help five Georgian political parties or movements to refine their strategic vision and policies, as well as to develop practical strategies for fundraising, outreach and working with volunteers in advance of the 2020 parliamentary elections.
Strengthening Pluralism and Transparency of Decision-Making Processes
National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)
To provide a platform for political parties and emerging political and civic movements to present viewpoints and policy solutions to the public in the year leading up to 2020 parliamentary elections. Under Georgia’s single party-dominant system, political discourse has become limited to the views of the ruling party, or its main challenger. The project will connect elected officials and other political actors with citizens to ensure that citizen priorities are represented across all levels of government.
Strengthening Pluralism and Transparency of Decision-Making Processes at the Local Level
National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)
To strengthen political pluralism and competition of ideas. The institute will provide a platform for new and emerging political or civic movements to present alternative viewpoints and policy solutions to the public in the year leading up to 2020 elections. Support for local elected officials would ensure efforts within local institutions to open up decision-making processes continue.
Strong Associations – Strong Advocates, Phase 2
Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)
To strengthen the organizational capacity of Georgian small and medium enterprise-focused business associations. The center will expand its capacity-building support to up to 15 associations through training workshops, direct mentorship, and small grant funding to implement organizational improvement action plans. The center will also explore opportunities for a joint advocacy initiative supporting small business.
Supporting Farmers’ Participation in the Political Process
The Trade Union of Farmers and Agricultural Workers of Georgia
To promote the civic participation of farmers and agricultural workers in Georgia. The organization will hold meetings for their members with government officials to promote dialogue between farmers and the government. The grantee will meet with farmers in western Georgia to raise awareness of its activities in those regions. It will monitor several government programs affecting farmers and will develop and advocate for new legislation concerning farmers in Georgia.
Supporting Pro-Democracy Electoral Reforms
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy
To develop and advocate for improvements in the Georgian electoral system. The organization will develop and advocate for a comprehensive package of electoral reforms, and will work with the media and other civil society organizations to continue to raise the issue of electoral reform. In addition, the organization will advocate for improvements in supporting legislation, including party finance laws and the composition of the electoral administration.
Supporting Security Sector Reform in Georgia
Democracy Research Institute
To promote reforms of the State Security Service of Georgia in line with international human rights standards. The organization’s researchers will analyze the existing legal framework and practices of the security services, as well as international best practices, and develop policy recommendations for the Georgian government. It will present its findings to relevant stakeholders and conduct an advocacy campaign to encourage implementation of the recommended reforms.
Youth and Democratic Values
American-Georgian Initiative for Liberal Education
To develop the analytical skills and political and civic consciousness of Georgian youth. The organization will conduct public events with university students in Tbilisi and six regional cities on democracy-related topics, and host private meetings with members of political parties. Finally, the organization will conduct a workshop for youth activists and political party members from throughout the country to encourage youth involvement in the 2020 parliamentary elections.
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