The FINANCIAL -- On July 13 the EU-funded project "Civil Society Sustainability Initiative" held a conference in Tbilisi. At the event key findings about civil society in Georgia were presented and discussed in order to develop an innovative communication strategy for CSOs.
The Conference "Campaigning for CSOs – How to Break Up Stereotypes" aimed to support the development of a Communication Strategy and Action Plan for breaking-up stereotypes about civil society organizations in Georgia. The conference concluded a series of regional workshops that were held all over Georgia in order to elaborate causes of lack of trust towards civil society organisations (CSO) in cooperation with various stakeholders. Key findings of these workshops were presented and discussed at the conference, according to EEAS.
During the conference preliminary findings of a recent nationwide public opinion survey on attitudes towards Civil Society Organisations and Socially Responsible Business Conduct in Georgia were presented. The attitudes of the population of Georgia towards civil society organizations are quite inconsistent. Rather moderate trust toward CSOs is reported, but CSOs are not particularly distrusted either. Quite often, people believe CSOs in Georgia serve foreign interests and do not care much about Georgian traditions. In general, though, people in Georgia are not well informed about CSOs, and the exiting knowledge is rather unevenly spread in different groups of the population. Particularly low level of knowledge is observed in ethnic minority settlements. CSOs are not perceived as independent actors, and are believed to be much weaker compared to the government bodies.
Furthermore, the project "Civil Society Sustainability Initiative" presented key findings of regional workshops where representatives of civil society, media, politicians, teachers, and youth, discussed the existing public attitudes and stereotypes, detected potential influencers and target groups, and verified communication channels for the campaign. It has been revealed that stereotypes in the society towards CSOs are developed as due to the subjective also objective causes: on the one hand it can be the lack of the information about CSOs and their work, on the other - the intensive anti-western propaganda and myths supporting the dissemination and rooting of these stereotypes in the society.
Participants of the conference then proceeded towards shaping strategic solutions for an innovative Communication Strategy and Action Plan for CSOs in Georgia, that will be finalized by Elliott Webber company by the end of October. The strategy document will be shared via various communication channels of the project.