Network of Centers for Civic Engagement (NCCE) is Moving Toward a Sustainable Future

Network of Centers for Civic Engagement (NCCE) is Moving Toward a Sustainable Future

Founded in 2011, the Centers for Civic Engagement (CCE) have operated in ten regional cities across Georgia to provide neutral and accessible space for democratic dialogue among citizens, civil society organizations (CSO), media, government, and the private sector. The centers are open to any individual or group, regardless of their political or social affiliations.

Ms. Nino Zhvania at the Center for Civic Engagement

Each CCE is equipped with regularly updated and modern community-tailored resources including online booking for conference and meeting rooms, computer access, library, and professional assistance and mentorship from staff members. CCE staff members have bilingual abilities, regional expertise, and extensive community contacts. Network of Centers for Civic Engagement (NCCE) Executive Director, Ms. Nino Zhvania, relays – “CCEs mobilize and engage people by identifying issues and creating forums for open dialogues between parties that otherwise would never sit together and talk, or discussing the topics and concerns never discussed before. CCEs empower individuals to get involved in decision-making processes and bring real changes to their home cities and the country. But if you ask me what the greatest strength of the CCEs is, I will answer – the trust. The trust we gained during these five years for being neutral, reliable, and open.”

This trust is what has enabled CCEs to engage almost half a million Georgians and facilitate over 21,000 dialogues since 2011. CCEs are of particular importance in fostering civic engagement and activism in regions, where there is a severe shortage of such resources. Most recently, CCEs played an integral role during the parliamentary elections as their Election Media Centers (EMC) enabled the flow of information to empower and inform the public on electoral issues, programs, and political candidates. Since the official launch (July 26, 2016) and including Election Day (October 8, 2016) EMCs hosted 450 election-related events and engaged almost 10,000 Georgian citizens.

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Journalists at the Rustavi CCE on Election Day

CCEs are supported by USAID’s Advancing CSO Capacities and Engaging Society for Sustainability (ACCESS) project, implemented by the East-West Management Institute. In January 2015, ACCESS assumed management of CCEs and since then has supported Centers in strategic planning, capacity building and professional development, financial and technical support, and operations. ACCESS strives to transform CCEs into sustainable and independent organization. Therefore ACCESS supported registering all ten Centers for Civic Engagement as one independent organization – the Network for Centers for Civic Engagement (NCCE) – a local organization with staff of 22 and a Governing Board.

In this spirit, NCCE is progressing toward a sustainable organizational architecture where the Centers maintain their
core mission and continue to serve citizens by creating neutral space for democratic dialogue. Since July 2016, apart
from ACCESS financial support, CCEs started generating revenue through fee-based services that include meeting
room rental, structured professional meeting facilitation, event planning and networking, as well as catering services.
CCEs have already organized and hosted up to 80 fee-based events. During this transition NCCE staff are shifting
mindset and devising innovative and community-based methods to generate revenue and diversify funding. NCCE also
continues to explore strategic partnerships at the national and local levels. Partnerships with UNICEF and the
Information Center on NATO and EU have been established to provide long-term cooperation with CCEs. In
addition, NCCE is working closely with the Georgian Government to identify dedicated, in-kind space in the regions
to enable CCEs to serve their mandate with less financial constraints. Investing in NCCE financial sustainability efforts
through staff capacity building and organizational development assistance provides for reasons for optimism in CCEs
future for the good of Georgian civil society.

Categories: Highlights

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