Civil Society STAR Initiative: CSOs as Sustainable, Transparent, Accountable and Resilient Development Actors in Georgia
Civil Society has become an increasingly important political and social actor in Georgia. Therefore, support to and engagement with civil society in all of its diversity is an essential part of the European Union (EU) programming in Georgia. The Civil Society STAR Initiative is the major project implemented with the EU and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) support and targeting several key dimensions of civil society development: its environment, institutional, organisational and operational capacities, transparency and accountability at all levels country-wide, linkages to other actors and the broader public, social activism, and public participation.
The ultimate goal of the project is to strengthen civil society as an independent development actor across Georgia. To this end, it targets to mobilize around 80% of the active CSO-community in Georgia (800 CSOs of all sizes in all regions, including approx. 150 CBOs, as well as initiative groups, and other forms of grassroots). Our special targets are youth and civic education schoolteachers (up to 3000 and 600 individuals respectively), up to 5000 social activists and citizens, including the elderly and those from vulnerable groups. The project also targets approximately 200 public authority representatives (including all levels of authorities), 100 business entities, 250 media representatives and 8 universities (both public and private) across the country. The action engages all above-mentioned target groups in mutually beneficial cross-sectoral cooperation.
The STAR Initiative covers the capital (Tbilisi) and 10 regions of Georgia: Imereti, Guria, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, Shida Kartli, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Kakheti, Adjara, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Kvemo Kartli. The regional Hubs are platforms to support the sharing of information, experience and opportunities. Particularly, the Hubs spread information about the project activities in the region, communicate with the local actors (CSOs, self-government, local business, media, volunteers, youth, etc.) via consultation, networking, advocacy and monitoring, strengthen local CSOs, CBOs, civil activists and increase public awareness on their role and works.
Information about the Consortium:
The 'Civil Society STAR Initiative' is implemented by the Consortium led by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and composed of the following CSOs: Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia (CSRDG), Civil Society Institute (CSI), Center for Training and Consultancy (CTC), Education Development and Employment Center (EDEC), and Institute for European Politics (IEP).
While supporting civil society in becoming a relevant development actor, we apply a holistic approach consisting of three-dimensional approach, each corresponding to one specific objective:
First, within the external dimension, we contribute to a further improvement of the policy and financial framework for civil society; in particular, by advocating for a transparent and trustful state funding for CSOs, by promoting and piloting innovative alternative funding mechanisms such as community foundations, civic initiative auctions or crowd-funding, and by promoting the further development of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) culture.
Second, within the intermediary dimension, our action strives to strengthen links between CSOs and their constituencies through promoting civic values, public communication about the work of CSOs, and working with the society on its actual needs.
Third, within the internal dimension, we capacitate individual organizations in core areas as well as CSO networks for better fulfilling their functions and becoming role models for accountability and transparency.
The STAR Initiative strives to produce five types of outputs linked with the above mentioned three specific objectives:
First, we support the authorities to meet their commitments within the Open Government Partnership Initiative and improve the regulatory framework for CSOs’ sustainable development, in particular regarding transparent and trustful public funding for civil society.
Second, we pilot new funding mechanisms for civil society to boost the cross-sector partnerships especially among CSOs and businesses, and improve CSR culture in the country.
Third, our action increases the public trust in and recognition of CSOs by other stakeholders and the broader public.
Forth, our project enhances the capacities of individual civil society actors in the organisational and core operational areas.
Fifth, the STAR Initiative supports the CSO networks to become more impactful and therefore, resilient in all regions of Georgia.