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Creation of the Youth Manifesto took an active turn at GIP at the end of June. Creating the Youth Manifesto is the ultimate goal of the project “GEOYOUTH 2020: Manifesto Engaging Youth in Politics in Georgia”, which GIP implements in partnership with a German think-tank Polis180 and the financial support of the German Foreign Office.
The Manifesto will result from a series of Youth Summits, which have been launched on June 25th and will last throughout the first half of July. Ten summits aim at encouraging youth involvement in Georgian politics through promoting multiple discussions across the different regions of the country. The project team will collect the visions and ideas from more than 150 participants about the challenges for youth political participation in Georgia, and ways to address them. After all 10 summits, the participants will vote, which challenges and solutions should be included in the Youth Manifesto.
Nino Samkhradze, Junior Policy Analyst at GIP and one of the facilitators of the Youth Summits
“The first wave of summits revealed very important issues regarding the youth political involvement: overall nihilistic attitudes of the youth, political parties’ poor perception of the youth power capabilities, economic and social troubles modern Georgian youth is facing, a need for educational improvement – problems which definitely need to be addressed from the responsible actors.”
The Youth Manifesto will be presented to Georgia’s political parties, encouraging them to engage with young people more actively and suggesting the ways how to address the needs of youth, and how to make youth political participation more meaningful.
Salome Zhvania, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti
“GEOYOOUTH2020 has shown us that youth political participation is a very important component of building democracy. The first meetings of the project gave us the opportunity to perform group work in this direction and to get acquainted with each other. There is a need for young people to deepen their knowledge regarding the issues of youth political participation and GEOYOUTH2020 gives us exactly this opportunity.”
Each summit is composed of young people between 18-35 years who are interested in political processes of Georgia, are eager to engage more and send specific messages to decision makers. Selected participants come from different backgrounds. Some of them are employed in public sector, some in NGOs and private sector. Gender balance among the participants is ensured and people with disabilities are involved in the project. The targeted regions of the project are: Adjara, Guria, Imereti, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Samtskhe-Javakheti (in Armenian language), Kvemo Kartli (2 groups in Georgian and Azerbaijani languages), Shida Kartli, Kakheti and 2 groups in Tbilisi.
Nino Jibuti, Project Coordinator at GIP and one of the facilitators of the Youth Summits
“During the summits I have met the bright minds of our youth which should be enabled to work on the significant challenges existing in the countries. They have ideas full of creative approaches and I would gladly see them to be spread more broadly.”
To date, 5 Summits have been conducted in Kvemo Kartli, Kakheti, Imereti, Adjara/Guria and Tbilisi. During the Summits, both speakers and participants stressed the importance of youth engagement in the political, social, and economic realms in Georgia and how empowered, active, educated young people can shape the direction of the country.
Ana Kekoshvili, Tbilisi
“GEOYOUTH2020 has once again made be believe in the power of the youth. It was particularly interesting to see so many Georgian young people together in a shared online space during the pandemic, to get to know each other and to exchange ideas. I see this project as a very successful attempt of engaging young people more in political processes. I hope that the initiative that we come up with will turn into policies eventually.”
The process of selecting participants was transparent and equally open for all Georgian young people including ethnic minorities. The GIP team ensured that the call for applications was available in three languages: Georgian, Azerbaijani and Armenian – languages of the ethnic minorities from Kvemo Kartli and Samtskhe-Javakheti regions. Out of 206 applications received, 150 were selected from all 10 regions of the country. The key criteria for selecting participants were the proven interest in the topic (youth political participation), ability to identify specific challenges and the overall quality of the application.