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In collaboration with a German partner organization, Polis180, Georgian Institute of Politics launches a new project – Manifesto Engaging Youth in Politics in Georgia financially supported by the Federal Foreign Office.
Over the course of the last years, youth have increasingly caught the eye of policy makers – for instance, in UN Security Council Resolutions 2250 and 2419, in the SDGs, and in the Eastern Partnership’s 20 Deliverables for 2020. Despite these positive developments, young voices have remained marginalized in political processes. In Georgia, youth make up only 12% of the population and therefore have little leverage at the election booth.
The Georgian Government acknowledges the special roles and needs of youth in its Youth Policy Document (2014), which seeks to support youth involvement in social, economic, cultural and political life, high quality education, employment and training opportunities, healthy lifestyles for youth, and the promotion of civil rights and duties. Nevertheless, young Georgians continue to lack opportunities for political participation. Although they are more inclined to signing of online petitions, they are also twice more likely not to vote in elections than the older generation. Moreover, they discuss politics and current events with others much less than older people. Georgian youth are not very active in political parties either, which remain rather unstable organizations. While Tbilisians have increasingly taken to the streets to voice their political opinions, young people living in rural areas remain mostly unheard in Georgian politics.
Polis180 and the Georgian Institute of Politics believe that ideas and visions of youth from all across the country need to be heard in order to move the Georgian transition forward. In #GEOYOUTH2020, building on our successful #GEOEUvalues project in 2018, we seek to empower Georgia’s youth to voice their positions in the 2020 parliamentary elections campaign – across party lines.
- For the 2020 Georgian elections, we seek to develop a Manifesto of young people’s political priorities & hand it over to campaigning parties. In this way, the project brings together “traditional” youth work with the grassroots think tank approach of Polis180.
- Train-the-trainers seminar on youth participation and policy crowdsourcing (03/2020).
- 10 Youth Summits to be held across Georgia: in Guria, Adjara, Kvemo Kartli, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Imereti, Shida Kartli, Tbilisi (03/2020). All Youth Summits will include a half-day training on youth political participation, followed by a workshop in which young people, based on their everyday life experiences, develop and express their own political In order to assemble these priorities, we are considering to use an online crowd innovation tool such as “Policy Kitchen”, developed by Polis’ Swiss partner organization Foraus. The Summits will be held in Georgian, and we will collaborate with multipliers and local partners in the regions.
- Public events will be organized in Tbilisi (06/2020) & Berlin (10/2020), where the said Manifesto (05/2020) will be presented and discussed.
- We will publish three blog articles that seek to discuss youth participation in Germany, Georgia and the EaP region.
The project acknowledges the principle of intersectionality and therefore seeks to include the perspectives of diverse youth (aged 18-35), including rural youth, women and girls, LGBTIQ persons, and ethnic and religious minorities.
Through these activities and outputs, the project aims to:
- Bring methods for youth participation tested in Germany to Georgia
- Increase knowledge among Georgian youth of possibilities for political participation and make their voices heard in the context of the 2020 election
- Further a sense of appreciation for politics (being much more than a “dirty game”) among Georgian youth
- Increase awareness among the expert/policy practitioner community on the importance of youth participation
- Contribute to German-Georgian exchange and transnational links in youth and advocacy work.