The following manifesto was prepared within the framework of the project #GEOYOUTH2020 – “Engaging Youth in Politics in Georgia”, which was implemented by the Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP) in partnership with the German grassroots think tank Polis180 and with financial support from the German Federal Foreign Office. The initiative “Engaging Youth in Politics in Georgia” (May-September 2020) brought together over 150 participants across ten regional summits. The project team prepared group exercises for participants to discuss the challenges hindering youth participation in politics, and seek for the solutions to the identified issues. The initiative engaged youth in Tbilisi, Adjara, Guria, Imereti, Shida Kartli, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Samtkhe-Javakheti (Armenian speaking youth), Kakheti, and Kvemo Kartli (both Georgian and Azeri speaking youth). To ensure the inclusivity of the project, involving youth from ethnic minority backgrounds and from the regions which are mostly settled by ethnic minority groups was important.
All information included in the “Youth Manifesto” aims to inform decision-makers about the challenges related to engaging young people in politics. The Manifesto carries additional importance as it comes before the 2020 parliamentary elections and offers an opportunity for political parties to learn about the challenges faced by young people in Georgia.
During the regional summits, 9 main challenges were identified which hinder young people’s political participation in Georgia. The challenges include a lack of resources, existing stereotypes in society, the discriminatory treatment of ethnic minorities, the poor quality of education, an absence of youth platforms, a lack of trust in the political parties/nihilism, the closed structure of political parties, and nepotism.
The Manifesto is structured according to the challenges, followed by the solutions suggested by project participants. The Manifesto reflects the discussions held by the youth and their vision for increasing political participation of young people in Georgia.