The first informal meeting between the Regional Civil Society Network (R-CSN) and number of international donor organizations took place at the Sheraton Metechi Palace on May 23rd. The conference was organized by the Civil Development Agency (CiDA). The aim of the meeting was the development of communication between the civil sector and donor organizations. The representatives of the meeting tried to analyze the problems, find the sources of complications and answer the following question - why is the Georgian civil sector still far from a desirable level?
Donors and NGOs at the front of new challenges
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, May 24
Both the members of the NGO sector and the donor organizations expressed their demands and approaches, agreed that certain problems might be caused by both sides, as well as from the common environment and the challenges posed by this.
The donor organizations are eager to finance those projects delivered by the NGOs that are focused on public needs, are targeted at a real outcome and are innovative.
According to them there are serious problems regarding the projects. The donors claim that most of the projects sent to their organizations “are identical, lack argumentation and are not focused on concrete results.”
“There are situations where we are looking for projects to finance,” donors claim. They stress that the greater part of the NGOs acting in Georgia still use old fashioned methods that hinder their future advancement and success in gaining monetary support.
Irina Lashkhi, the representative of Policy, Advocacy and Civil Society Development in Georgia told The Messenger that the projects that are written based on old methodology are less useful in most cases.
“We finance the project for its outcome and we are looking for such projects with new approaches that will remove certain problems,” Lashkhi stated, adding that in case the project is rejected the organization informs the sender about the reasons for denial.
“50 % of senders are interested in the reasons, 50% just ignore them or are irritated,” Lashkhi suggested.
The donors emphasized that in some cases “NGOs are lazy to take part in events that will raise the knowledge of organizations’ representatives in modern technologies and achievements.”
The NGOs state that the donor organizations avoid financing learning programs focused on the growth of knowledge, modern achievements and in related aspect, when writing the projects.
“Donors prefer to finance short term projects and see the outcome in the very near future, when real outcomes in most cases require time,” the NGOs state. They also suggest the donor
organizations should pay more attention to “the teaching field” meaning to contribute technological and informative support to the NGOs.
“By informing us of the reasons why projects are rejected, it will enable us to study the mistakes and act better in future,” the NGO representatives claimed. They also highlighted that the lack of innovative projects might be caused by the donors.
“Donors avoid allocating money for innovations. The reason for this is that the innovations carry more risk.” the NGOs state, adding that the creation and development of new-born NGOs have many difficulties as well.
The head of CiDA, Zviad Devdariani stated that both sides should try to change some approaches. According to him, the NGOs should try to create such projects that will be focused on public demands and will be oriented to the genuine assistance of the public group the project is for.
“As for the donors, they should not avoid risks in some cases and encourage more and new organizations,” Devdariani stated, adding that in a week, the web page of R-SCN will be launched online where the issues and problems will be better displayed.
The organizations spoke on the Government and business field’s positive role in the encouragement of the civil sector. According to them, it would be welcomed by them if the state authorities and business sector assist civil society development.
The conference was held as a part of Regional Civil Society Network (R-CSN). It was founded in December 2012 and is being carried out by the Policy, Advocacy and Civil Society Development in Georgia (G-PAC). The goal of the network is to consolidate the efforts and resources of regional organizations, as well as finding local solutions to various problems.