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Community Based Voter Education in Eastern and Southern Georgia

Objective: All voters should have access to information about the election process and anti-fraud measures in a language they understand.

5 March 2004, Village Digomi community meeting at the Secondary School. The meeting was led by a trainer from one of Mercy Corps' local partner organisations and was attended by 37 community residents


POST-ELECTION UPDATE:

On Election Day, GEAP monitoring in Sagarejo District, revealed that community meetings, which were conducted within this voter education project, appeared to have had a considerable impact on voters and precinct commission members. The community meetings were predominantly attended by local teachers, medical staff and post office staff members. This contributed to efficient sharing of election-related information through word of mouth to other community residents. In total, some 200 community gatherings in 134 villages have been implemented throughout 5 regions of eastern and southern Georgia. Around 8,374 households received printed materials disseminated by community initiative groups.

 

23 MARCH 2004 UPDATE:

To date more than 150 community meetings have taken place in remote areas across eastern and southern Georgia.

 

18 MARCH 2004 UPDATE:

To date more than 100 community meetings have taken place in remote areas across eastern and southern Georgia. The average attendance rate is between 30 and 40 participants per meeting. The majority of the trainers who conduct the meetings have been involved in similar activities during previous elections and their significant experience is apparent from the meetings monitored by the OSCE.

Mercy Corps’ regional representations and partner NGOs are also engaged in disseminating election related materials. The distribution of over 8,000 brochures has commenced in five regions. Mercy Corps seven partner NGOs have received some 43,000 brochures and in addition to door-to-door distribution the brochures are handed out to participants at community meetings.

On 16 March 2004 OSCE monitored the community meetings conducted by Mercy Corps local partner NGOs. In the case of the local partner NGO Shida Kartli Center for IDP's Rights, it was noted that precinct commission members and representatives from the local government regularly attend the meetings. Also, actors had been invited to stage polling procedures, which was accompanied by the trainer’s explanations. The attention of the audience was maintained by the high entertaining value of this approach to voter education.

 

10 MARCH 2004 UPDATE:

During the last week around 55 community meetings have taken place in different regions of the eastern and southern Georgia. According to the latest reports from the implementing partners 5 meetings have been postponed due the bad weather conditions. The dates of postponed meetings have been set and the relevant announcements are expected to be made.

On 5 March the OSCE project manager monitored the community meeting in the Village Digomi. The meeting attended by 37 community residents was held in the secondary school of the village and conducted by one of Mercy Corps’ seven local partner NGOs.

Apart from community meetings conducted by local partner NGOs, Mercy Corps regional representations have disseminated election related materials in Marneuli and Bolnisi districts of Kvemo Kartli region. Household distribution of election materials is made through the Mercy Corps network of volunteers.

 

4 MARCH 2004 UPDATE

On 23 February 2004 IFES ltd. conducted training for 15 representatives from all 7 NGOs subcontracted by Mercy Corps. Announcements of community meetings have been made by all NGOs and the conduct of meetings have started. Fair Elections Foundation held a meeting in Rustavi on 2 March 2004 attended by 35 participants, mostly women. According to feedback from the participants the meeting was well organized. Shida Kartli Center for IDPs Rights conducted a trained for community mobilizers who will be doing outreach at village level.

 

24 FEBRUARY 2004 UPDATE:

Negotiations with the implementing partner are being finalised.

 

11 FEBRUARY 2004 UPDATE:

A significant increase in the number of voter education meetings, with wider coverage of remote areas and house-to-house information distribution component added to raise awareness, compared to the similar project carried out in preparation from the 4 January Elections, will increase project impact greatly. 

Negotiations with the implementing partner on the details of an agreement for Phase II Parliamentary Elections is ongoing.

Rustavi Community discussion on violations of the Electoral Code (Presidential Elections)


PHASE I:

For Presidential Elections the project, through the implementing partner Mercy Corps, supported voter education initiatives through seven local NGOs in the following districts; Akhalkalaki, Ninotsminda, Akhaltsikhe (Samtskhe-Javakheti Region), non-Azeri communities in Sagarejo, Akhmeta, Kvareli, Telavi Town (Kakheti Region), non-Azeri communities in Marneuli (Kvemo-Kartli Region), Akhalgori, Mtskheta (Mtskheta-Tianeti Region), Gori including Gori Town (Shida Kartli Region). In addition, the implementing partner directly implemented voter education in areas of Kvemo Kartli Region not covered by other agencies. The focus on Kvemo Kartli was a consequence of the high level of violations of the electoral code during the November 2003 parliamentary elections, which partly led to an abolition of election results by court decisions.

Prior to the implementation of the project by the local NGO for each region, a series of meetings have been held with representatives of the local NGOs, local government and regional authorities, to introduce the Community Based Voter Education Initiative objectives. Local NGOs participated in a two-day training seminar, and were provided with specific voter education materials by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). 

 

SHORT DESCRIPTION

The project foresees that communities across East and Southern Georgia will participate in regular voter information/education sessions designed to address the most common voter information needs such as Election Day procedures, information on basic political processes and institutions, information on the role of parliament and its members, etc.

Negotiations with the implementing partner on the details of an agreement for Phase II Parliamentary Elections concluded with the signing of an Agreement on 25 February 2004. Project impact is expected to increase compared to the similar project carried out in preparation from the 4 January Elections. This will be achieved through a significant rise in the number of voter education meetings, with wider coverage of remote areas and a house-to-house information distribution component added to raise awareness.

PHASE II

Project Manager

Beka Bajelidze
Implemented by:
Mercy Corps

Total Budget

at EUR46,764

Documents

Agreement
Annex 1: Project Description
Interim Report
OSCE Mission to Georgia OSCE website

OSCE Mission to Georgia • Krtsanisi Govermental Residence No. 5 • Tbilisi, Georgia • Tel./Fax: (+995 32) 910610
• e-mail: pm-ge@osce.org