ACCESS: Strengthening Civil Society in Georgia

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The Advancing CSO Capacities and Engaging Society for Sustainability (ACCESS) is a five-year 6,897,000 USD project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by East-West Management Institute (EWMI) and its local partners, the Center for Training and Consultancy (CTC) and the Civil Development Agency (CiDA).

ACCESS, which began in November 2014, builds on the successes of EWMI’s and USAID’s previous work with civil society organizations in Georgia. The project works to enhance  effectiveness of civil society organizations (CSOs) in Georgia through: (1) increasing public confidence in CSOs and citizen participation in CSO initiatives, and (2) assisting CSOs to develop into stable and sustainable organizations. By empowering CSOs to become respected citizen representatives capable of leading public debate and collaborating with government, ACCESS contributes to more transparent and accountable governance in Georgia.

ACCESS has four objectives: (1) Citizens become more aware of and involved in CSO activities, and CSOs become more connected to citizens; (2) CSO leadership, organizational capacity, and sustainability are improved among organizations throughout Georgia; (3) CSOs are able to effectively monitor, analyze, and influence key government policies and processes; and (4) the Centers for Civic Engagement (CCEs) establish local ownership so that they continue to operate as politically neutral gathering spaces for public discourse. ACCESS pursues these four objectives through grants supporting policy research, watchdog, and civic engagement activities by CSOs; technical assistance programming to strengthen CCEs and CSO management and operations; and a wide range of events that deepen dialogue and partnerships between citizens, CSOs, government, businesses, and media.

ACCESS engages a diverse array of stakeholders in interactive processes to identify and discuss important public issues. The project particularly prioritizes the expanded inclusion of women, minorities, and youth in its initiatives to ensure that voices from these groups are more fully taken into account in governance processes. By increasing the use of science, technology, and innovation in CSO activities, ACCESS also assists civil society in becoming more effective and efficient in representing the needs of the public.

 

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