“Petition – People’s Voice in Self-Governance” has involved 2,848 citizens from Western Georgia during the past year. Active citizens have initiated and presented 90 petitions to the Ajara, Guria and Samegrelo/Upper Svaneti municipal councils.
At a meeting at the Center for Civic Engagement in Batumi, the year’s results were summarized by the project team. The meeting was held with representatives from the municipalities of Ajara and Guria and other CSOs. A previous working meeting had already been held in the Samegrelo/Upper Svaneti region.
Civic engagement in self-governance is a complex and bureaucratic process – which became a main topic of discussion at the meeting.
As stated by the representatives of self-governance, citizens often have difficulty resolving issues by petition because the procedures are rather bureaucratic. With the support of Civil Society Organizations this process becomes easier. In addition, members of municipal councils and boards are unable to act on many of the infrastructural problems brought by citizens; they lack the authority and financial resources to act.
The representatives of the city boards, the assembly and participating CSOs talked about ways to improve tools for initiating and discussing petitions to facilitate this important method of civic engagement.
An active society with high level of civic engagement strengthens democratic processes and human rights. The principal aim of the project is to support civic engagement and further strengthen the process via activation of citizens, initiation of petitions and public involvement in self-governing activities.
The event was held in the frame of the project “Petition – People’s Voice in the Self-Governance” funded by the USAID.