Mobilizing Women in Ozurgeti Municipality to Advocate for Their Needs

Mobilizing Women in Ozurgeti Municipality to Advocate for Their Needs

EWMI ACCESS Grantee, Women for Regional Development (WRD) based in the village of Dvabzu of Ozurgeti municipality, has mobilized local women voters to help them identify their needs and empower them to bring those issues to local government for consideration in local programs and budget. Since July 2017 when the project began, the organization successfully mobilized civic-minded women voters in seven villages. The women voters’ mobilization and education campaign reached the remote villages of the municipality. After the information and mobilization meetings, the organization trained women in advocacy and communication techniques, the skills needed when talking to decision-makers so that they take voters’ concerns into consideration. During an interactive discussions in the run-up to the local government elections held in October, 2017 the women groups presented their priorities to all election candidates running on mayoral ballots. The women also attended budget hearings held at Ozurgeti Sakrebulo in January, 2018 and debated over the issues of their concern.

The project proactively engaged women with disabilities. One of them is a wheel-chair user Tamar. Over many years Tamar advocated for an inclusive public infrastructure in the city of Ozurgeti, however due to lack of organized efforts, has not achieved much success. Tamar was an active participant at every stage of the project. Thanks to the well-planned and targeted advocacy campaign, Tamar, along with other active women convinced the Ozurgeti Sakrebulo to secure budgetary funds for building the ramps to public buildings (including the Ozurgeti Gallery) and constructing a public toilet accessible for people with disabilities. Construction works will start soon and Tamar is going to closely monitor the process. According to Tamar, this project encouraged local women to speak up about their needs and become engaged in solving their problems (which they have never done before). “The Project built a strong network of women, who are eager to become active citizens. We went door-to-door to meet with women and collect information about their primary concerns. Afterwards, we presented these problems and arguments to decision-makers. Some of the public officials acknowledged that they have not thought that certain issues affected women more than men. They also were surprised to see so many active women from the villages of Ozurgeti…”.

Women for Regional Development continues to work with the decision-makers trying to reach solutions to some of the problems and priorities as identified by women voters before the fall 2017 local self-government elections.

Categories: Highlights

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