Reality – Check Trip to Georgia

From the 11th of June until the 16th of June, 2023, the team of Strategic Analysis Think Tank, in cooperation with Bridge of Friendship Kartlosi, and partners from V4 states, co-organized the Reality-Check trip to Georgia.

The Reality-Check Trip to Georgia is a part of the project named „Sharing V4 experience with Georgian self-governments: regional development and green innovations” which focuses on local administrations in conflict-affected areas of Georgia adjacent to the break-away regions of Tskhinvali and Abkhazia with the aim to improve the living conditions in these communities. The project aims to build on V4 experience with regional development, social entrepreneurship, social agriculture and applied green innovations in the context of local administration. Building on the expertise, the project aims to create feasibility study reports for the international donor and investor community to address the challenges in a  ready-to-implement way, based on terrain knowledge.

The authors of the feasibility studies traveled to the selected communities on the ABL to conduct a reality-check of the potential solutions and
projects suggested for the potential investors, being the central government, the international donor community or the local and international business community. One of the pillars of the project is not only to conduct the feasibility reports based on desk research and expertise in the context of V4 only but do a reality check through a series of meetings with representatives of the target communities and local administration representatives.

During the four-day reality check, experts traveled around Shida Kartli, Mtskheta Mtianeti and Racha regions to meet the ABL communities, saw the challenges in person, and adjust the feasibility reports based on reality.

During the first day of the trip, partners from V4 states and also the organizational team from Strategic Analysis met with Ms. Dako Muradashvili, a representative of the NGO – Civil Society Institute, which is responsible for the implementation of the Civil budget in Gori, Georgia. V4 partners had a tour around projects which were implemented thanks to the Civil budget in Gori.

On the second day of the trip, V4 partners met with a local expert Mr. Gela Zoziashvili, who explained the situation on the water supply in the target communities. He focused on two main themes – what system have Georgian authorities developed to address problems stemming from the “water embargo” imposed by the facto South Ossetian authorities. The second part focused on the local strategies and infrastructure to counter the impacts of sudden rainfall. The discussion was followed by a field trip to see the target communities of the Feasibility study as well as existing infrastructure to counter the impacts of sudden rainfalls.

On the third day of the trip, we visited  Ms. Tamara Tavelidze, who is the Director of the Welfare and Development Center for People with disabilities. Also, we attended the event on the occasion of the National Day for the protection of the rights of disabled persons.

On the fourth day, experts visited four ABL communities of Zemo Nikozi, Ergneti, Ditsi and KirbaliIn Zemo Nikozi, experts met with a representative of the local administration. They learned about the local clinic, which is one of its kind on the ABL. It was mostly built with money from various projects and, among other things, has a modern laboratory that played a significant role during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Ergneti, participants visited the War Museum and learn about the origin of the conflict as well as about the evolution of relations between local Georgians and Ossetians from local resident Ms. Lia Chlachidze. In Ditsi and Kirbali, experts had an opportunity to learn about the impact of the conflict and ABL on two types of settlements – those with an economy based on orchards and an economy based on cattle breeding.  In Ditsi, they saw a fence built by Russian border guards.  

The implementing consortium of the project is designed in a way that combines expertise and practice within the fields of regional development, social agriculture and green innovations in the context of local administration and self-government, thus utilizing the knowledge accumulated in the V4 countries throughout the years.

The aim of the project is to share this knowledge with Georgian ABL communities.

The project is generously funded by the International Visegrad Fund and MFA Republic of Korea.