We have defined the strategic goal of the organization as the following: improving the mechanisms for protecting the social rights and interests of vulnerable strata of the Georgian population by stimulating development of the society with the due level of civic awareness and engagement of individuals in civic processes.
The organization works in three directions. Their main goals are:
I direction – improving social well-being
Goal: protecting the interests of socially vulnerable strata
With the help of the studies, the social condition of two target groups – children up to 18, their families (including persons with disabilities, representatives of ethnic and religious minorities) and older persons is assessed and relevant changes are advocated in the social protection policy by cooperation with competent agencies.
The organization supports the state in establishing alternative social services in the process of reforming the field.
In particular: the organization administers 2 social services established by the organization itself in Guria region. These services are: 1. “Small group home” (up to 15 children have used the service since 2007); 2. “Community service for older persons” (up to 35 beneficiaries have used the service since 2012).
II direction – developing civic awareness among adolescents/youth
Goal: raising civic awareness among adolescents and engaging them in the process of protecting and promoting children’s rights; also, ensuring their participation in addressing various challenges at the school and community levels.
The organization established the Leaders’ School in 1996 which is a center of non-formal education (the first school was established in Ozurgeti, then in Lanchkhuti and Tbilisi). The organization’s concept of education for adolescents is based on the following: a) providing information on democratic values; b) distributing the information they learned among their peers; c) with the goal to achieve changes, engaging adolescents in civic monitoring and advocacy processes.
The organization works with the students’ self-governments at schools so that they can ensure the protection of the rights of their peers and engage in school life and the decision-making process by the school administration.
The organization also works with the youth in villages with the goal to develop relevant skills, support in realizing their abilities and ensure their participation in the development of the community.
III direction _ supporting democratization of schools
Goal: Developing democratic and transparent school management system focused on students’ needs by supporting active involvement of parents, students and the community in the current reform of the educational system and the school management processes.
The organization develops recommendations on the basis of the analysis of the problematic issues revealed in the studies undertaken and provides these recommendations to educational agencies at the local and central levels in order for these recommendations to be considered in overcoming the difficulties in the educational field; in addition, based on the identified needs, the organization creates new modules to strengthen local schools.
To ensure improvements in the organizational culture of public schools and their institutional sustainability, the organization supports them by providing consultations and trainings. The organization has an education school in Guria for leaders (teachers, parents) – “change agents”.
During the last three years, the organization undertook several projects:
“Social and educational initiatives for the well-being of the future generation” (financial supporter – Brot für die Welt). Within the frames of the project, 70% of the activities related to the above-noted goals were carried out.
“Children’s rights in animation” (financial supporter – U.S. Embassy in Georgia). Within the frames of the project, 16 animated movies were produced (with the participation of the organizations’ Leaders’ School adolescents); supplementary materials were also published for teachers on how to teach children the Convention on the Rights of the Child with the use of animated movies.
“Program for developing tolerance, civic awareness and integration” (financial supporter – UN Association of Georgia). Within the frames of the project, the youth are studying the skills of community mobilization and problem identification; are promoting the idea of diversity and volunteerism; and are trying to engage in presenting and resolving the problems identified.
It is also important to note that the organization conducted 7 studies during the last three years: 1) assessing the effectiveness of the work of the regional panels of the guardianship and care body; 2) harmful labor of minor Georgian citizens in Turkey; 3) current needs of children who have left the state care (over 18); 4) assessing the conditions for enrolling older persons in shelters; 5) assessing welfare indicator of the population in the town of Ozurgeti; 6) assessing the effectiveness of inclusive education by the example of schools in Ozurgeti municipality; 7) challenges facing religious minorities in Guria village schools (you can view the detailed reports from the studies at the organization’s webpage: www.apk.ge. The organization’s facebook page is: – ახალგაზრდა პედაგოგთა კავშირი (Young Pedagogues’ Union)).