Youth exchange in Georgia
The Youth Exchange called #Youth On The Move took its path in the city of Gori, Georgia on 18-27 May. The group is very large - 50 participants from 5 countries (Armenia, Finland, Moldova, Sweden, Georgia). This time we have included local participants in the project to better identify the issues affecting young people in Gori in order to offer solutions to the City Hall. Providing recommendations during the the meeting with the local policy-makers will be one of the outcomes of this project. On the first day, leaders from country groups had a meeting. Leaders divided the roles and sessions, reviewed the programme and the strategy for the youth needs assessment in Gori.
50 participants of the youth exchange #Triangle4youth headed to the public, private and sports schools, universities, local non-governmental organisations and initiative group, youth center in the IDP settlement and finally, to the streets to interview randomly selected pedestrians. the venue was visited by the professional local sociologist and researcher, Mr. Soso MEZVRISHVILI, who conducted the latest research about the community needs in Gori. He announced that analyzing needs of the young people from Gori is essential to formulate evidence-based and efficient youth policy. He also mentioned, that our research will be attached to his own research and Gori youth policy document will be based on the outcomes of this combined methodology. We created different questionnaires for these target groups. Questions related to the participation of young people in the community life, their involvement in local projects, voluntary work in Gori, issues affecting youngsters, public spaces and amusement places in town. We required the respondents to be friendly and open, therefore, we started interviewing them with questions like: 'what do you like to do in your free time? What are your interests? what are the top 3 problems that affect you? If you were a mayor, what would you do?' We had 12 interview groups in total, at least one Georgian person accompanying each of them. Interviews were being recorded and documented. Later, we came back to the venue, created an open space and shared the experiences.
Various recommendations were presented to the Gori Municipality Hall. Providing information about existing initiatives, projects, workshops and opportunities for young people, more public spaces for discussions, forums and fun activities, restoration of cinema and construction of a swimming-pool, creating online platform for the business start-ups, opening a hub, making a website combining information about all of the local and international opportunities, launching exhibition of non-governmental organisations working in the youth field are just few of recommendations developed by our participants.
The research design and the results of the surveys were also presented to the mayor. Apparently, most of the issues were well-known for the mayor and he has developed a strategy to overcome the problems with the scarce resources that the municipality has. We found out that they're going to open a swimming-pool for youngsters in October, 2018. Interviews with the locals revealed the acute common problem: environmental problems in Gori: Polluted parks and streets, the absence of recycling and environmental negligence. The group decided to start dealing with the problem and become the first change they wanted to see in this lovely city. The result of their efforts was 99,8 killograms of the collected garbage, cleaner park, tidier streets and local inhabitants, who were grateful for seeing the people from different countries taking care of Gori environment. There was a prize for the winner: 20 kilos of ice-cream, which was shared after all. Mayor of Gori city hall permitted the project team to use one of the walls in the central park for graffiti. Participants created various types of street art. List of the messages: No violence. Noise. No Hate. Your Voice Becomes Policy. Youth Exchange team went to have a friendly football ⚽️ match with the Gori kids. Locals were more than happy to have an opportunity to talk and play with people from 5 different countries.