Fostering diversity – Impressions from Civic Action Lab

Civic Action Lab united leader women from Kvemo Kartli and Samtskhe-Javakheti regions

The Civic Action Lab program, an integral component of the ” Georgian Minority Women as Integration Ambassadors” project, was implemented from November 2023 to January 2024. A cohort of 60 women, representing Georgian, Armenian, and Azerbaijani ethnicities, actively engaged in this initiative.

The core objective of the Civic Action Lab was to fortify the leadership capabilities of civil activists and engaged citizens actively participating in community processes. It sought to deepen their knowledge essential for steering community initiatives and foster stronger connections among them.

Structured as a 10-day hybrid program, the initiative commenced with a 5-day online format where 60 participating women delved into the “Systemic Change and Results-Oriented Project Management” module. Following this, 31 distinguished participants were selected for a 5-day face-to-face training component, gathering in the Borjomi municipality, village Tsemi. 

Face-to-face Civic Action Lab program offered a unique opportunity for the participating women to gain profound insights into project management, leadership, effective communication, peacebuilding, and fundraising/crowdfunding. Moreover, the program served as a platform for these women to discover like-minded individuals, build connections, rally around community initiatives, and foster collaboration.

The participating women share their impressions, experiences, and emotions, providing valuable insights gained through their involvement in the Civic Action Lab:

Nino Vartapetiani, Head of news center at TV Company “Borjomi” and Media Program Manager at “Samtskhe-Javakheti Media Center” (SJMC):

I have been actively engaged in the DEP project “Georgian Minority Women as Integration Ambassadors” since September. Balancing my roles at the Samtskhe-Javakheti Media Center and TV Company “Borjomi,” this project has marked my first involvement in such a long-term endeavor, spanning multiple stages. Each component proved to be captivating, and between stages, I held a sense of anticipation and interest, eager to witness the ongoing process.

Throughout the project, guided by professional mentors, I gained extensive knowledge during both online and face-to-face training sessions. The current phase involves collaborative efforts among the project participants, working on ideas that aim to benefit women in our communities, specifically in Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli regions. Admittedly, taking on the responsibility of managing a project independently is a new challenge for me, and it brings a certain level of concern. However, my confidence in the group is high. The essence of teamwork lies in the equitable distribution of resources and skills, ensuring that success is not delayed. This project has introduced me to a wonderful group of people; we’ve formed strong friendships, supporting one another according to our abilities.

Most importantly, as I reflect on my journey from the project’s inception to the present day, I recognize a shift in how I perceive and value certain issues. I have gained more experience and expanded my network of contacts.

Mary Chelidze, a teacher from Tsalka and the founder of Tsalka Youth Center:

The project “Georgian Minority Women as Integration Ambassadors” presents an incredible opportunity to become an ambassador of integration for your community—an honor accompanied by great responsibility. It offers a multitude of opportunities and opens wide doors for active involvement in community life.

The most fascinating and valuable aspect of this project is the Civic Action Lab comprising five highly engaging and essential training programs. Through participation in this program, I not only gained valuable experience but also developed various competencies and skills. Moreover, I had the pleasure of meeting exceptional individuals—experienced community leaders. Working and communicating with them has been a source of great joy and the best learning experience.

Knarik Kulidjanian, International Relations specialist

Within the “Civic Action Lab,” I cultivated new friendships, deepened awareness, and gained valuable knowledge that I am now eager to share with students, young individuals, women, and anyone interested in similar topics. The importance of possessing knowledge and awareness on gender equality issues, and responding appropriately, is of high significance.

Tamar Maisuradze, Clinical Psychologist

Within the framework of the DEP project,  31 extraordinary and  strong women were brought together. It was a week for culturally diverse participants to unite, empathize, share, break the ice, and forge emotional connections with one another. During this time, we acquired necessary and important skills. Now, we can take our diverse ideas to the next level, empowering other amazing women and contributing to  positive changes in our communities.
One thing became clear for me: regardless of the path they choose, women are making a difference. Each woman involved in this project has become an ambassador for integration, peace-building, development, and engagement in her community. This project itself serves as the “Silk Road,” connecting these transformative processes.​

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