In the framework of the “Emerging Leaders School” (ELS) program, the participants were provided with an opportunity to take initiative and together with their counterparts plan and organize series of Space for Discussion (SfD) events themselves. Space for Discussion is an additional opportunity for the “Emerging Leaders School” (ELS) participants to meet the experts from different fields as well as public and private sector representatives. The participants choose the discussion topic themselves and have an opportunity to get the answers to the questions of their interest from the invited professionals and decision-makers. The events are public and all interested individuals are encouraged to join.
The “Emerging Leaders School” (ELS) participants from different regions of Georgia started organizing Space the Discussion meetings online in the beginning of May and they have already held 9 public discussions, which reached over 200 people.
Here are the topics, which participants decided to discuss together with respective guest speakers under the framework of Space for Discussion meeting series in the second half of May:
- Impact of Covid-19 on vulnerable groups (Organizers: Marine Kapanadze, Salome Ghonghadze, Mariam Geletashvili, Tamta Katsitadze, Aleksandre Zibzibadze).
Covid-19 and subsequent restrictions imposed by the government proved to be especially challenging for the vulnerable groups in society, including children and women. What were the challenges those groups faced? The speakers capitalized on the women’s and children’s rights in the country and discussed the problems those groups faced during the pandemic. One of the speakers presented her research findings regarding the response of 112 and the police to the domestic violence cases during the pandemic. The research showed that there are number of challenges in that direction. More specifically, there are problems with conducting investigation remotely and providing efficient online services, which proved to be one of the main reasons behind the reluctance of domestic violence victims to report to the state institutions.
- Baia Pataraia – Executive Director at the Union “Sapari”;
- Keta Sokhadze – Representative of the Department for Child’s Rights at the Office of Public Defender (Ombudsman) of Georgia;
- Maka Feradze – Head of the Human Rights Secretariat at Government of Georgia.
- Local Self-Government development and its challenges – the case of Gori Municipality (Organizers: Lela Mazmishvili, Aleksandre Tarkhnishvili, Maia Gogidze).
The meeting aimed to raise awareness regarding the local self-governance issues with the involvement of area experts. Amid approaching the local elections in Georgia, the aforementioned topic is even more relevant as citizens will vote for the mayor and legislative body – municipality council this autumn. The speakers discussed the essence of local self-government as well as the reforms and challenges it faces in the municipality, such as budget deficiency, lack of professionals, lack of coordination, etc.
- Nino Loladze – Lecturer at the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA);
- Dako Muradashvili – Local Representative in Shida Kartli at Civil Society Institute, Secretary of the Citizen Advisory Council at Gori Municipality Town Hall.
Samegrelo – Zemo Svaneti
- Impact of Covid-19 on domestic violence and violence against women (Organizers: Ana Tsirdava, Levan Buskandze, Lia Mikeladze).
During the meeting, the participants discussed the current state of affairs in terms of domestic violence and violence against women during the pandemic. More specifically, the speakers touched upon the following issues: reporting violence; the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on legal investigation processes and communication; recommendations to address the post-pandemic challenges; Instruments that can be used to address the domestic violence incidents as well as thematic cases.
- Tsira Jgerenaia – Lawyer at the Union “Sapari”;
- Tsabunia Vartagava – Crisis Center Manager at the Sakhli Advice Center for Women.
The discussions on various interesting topics will be concluded in June.
“Space for Discussion” is held within the framework of GIP’s ongoing project “Promoting Youth Transformational Leaders in Georgia” financially supported by USAID.