For the past few weeks, throught EDKK project high school students at the recently formed Youth Clubs in Koda, Shaumiani, Dmanisi, Tsintskaro and Sagarejo schools have been meeting to discuss how to solve their community problems as perceived by youth themselves. Tea Mkheidze, RDFG Liaison Officer, visited each of the schools and worked closely with students to facilitate the process of identifying community needs and starting to draft action plans to resolve them. On average, 30 students participated in each meeting.
Students at the meetings eagerly participated in spirited conversations as they shared thoughts on what were the problems they and their communities faced. They then took on the hard task of agreeing to narrow the list, focusing on areas of the most interest that can reasonably be resolved by students and formed in Youth Development Initiative Groups (YDIGs) to work on each problem. Around four groups were formed in each school. Issues such as library equipped with various books and improved sports resources quickly rose to the top. Some schools mentioned wanting to build in front of the school a small flower garden with seating for students, parents, and visitors. Other students want to clean up litter in their neighborhoods, and raise anti-littering awareness in their community.
To help YDIGs implement development initiatives in their settlements RDFG will be awarding Community Development Micro-Project Grants next year as part of a project competition. During her visits, Tea taught students the basics of community development project proposal writing process – identifying problems, describing the solutions, preparing action steps, developing budgets. With help from their teachers and RDFG staff, YDIGs members will prepare a funding proposal by the end of January 2017.
Students had already trainings in advocacy, human rights and will be given respective skills development trainings in business development, local government and management. These skills will be applied by the YDIGs for development of local initiatives and being active citizens in their communities.