The Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia was established in July 1995, while the concept of state institutions and public organizations was practically unknown to the Georgian society. In addition to the difficult social, economic and political situation in the country, the concept of an independent state was not yet fully understood among the citizens at that time. And state institutions, the necessity and purpose of their existence were still considered as future plans.
In such a difficult period for the country, we gathered a small group around common values and a problem, and together we started to think about what benefits we could bring to the country. It was with this idea that we founded the community organization, and since then our team has been focused on such results that will bring positive change to the entire society.
Since 1995, the organization has gradually expanded both the team's main work areas and their target groups. In order to create a complete picture of the needs, results and achievements of each activity, consult the organization's directions page.
Since the establishment of the organization, our team has been actively conducting research activities, the articles of highly qualified experts published in our publications and newsletters are a solid basis for planning successful interventions for organizations and individuals working in various sectors. It should be noted that during this period, with the involvement of our experts, a number of important legislative initiatives were prepared, most of which were adopted by the Parliament with certain changes.
In particular, our organization played an important role in the improvement of Georgian legislation and state control in the direction of food safety. In recent years, we have been actively involved in the process of improving the legal framework for the development of social entrepreneurship and regulating social services in the country. Since 1998, our team has been participating in local self-government reform initiatives and projects at national and international levels.
In order to improve legislative and state control mechanisms, together with partner organizations in several regions of Georgia, we have been supporting good municipal governance since 1998, which aims to improve the transparency and accountability of local self-governments, the involvement of citizens in the activities of local self-government bodies and decision-making.
The activities carried out by the organization significantly improved the local budget process, transparency of local self-government, accountability and public involvement in different municipalities of Georgia. In 2017-2020, target local governments/regional administrations/central government took into account 125 recommendations prepared by the CSRDG, which related to the legislative-regulatory or institutional changes related to the decentralization process, transparency and accountability procedures, budget management, environmental protection and sustainable development.
In order to share the accumulated experience, our team actively works on the development of community organizations, in particular on their organizational, informational and financial strengthening. In this direction, representatives of various sectors are guided by the cycle of consultations, trainings and seminars developed by our experts.
Our team believes that one-time training or project-related financial support is not enough to make public organizations strong actors. Accordingly, the approach of the organization envisages long-term work with public organizations, which contributes to the development of the knowledge and skills of the staff of these organizations, as well as organizational systems and procedures.
Since 1998, the organization has been working in the direction of community development, which means the formation and strengthening of local leadership groups and the participation of the population in solving problems in the rural community. This gives local people the opportunity to identify and advocate for community issues, collaborate with local authorities, build partnerships with other parties, and mobilize resources for local action.
Accordingly, the program, within the framework of its activities, promotes the encouragement of local initiatives, the formation of community groups, their financial strengthening and informal education. In addition, we have been trying for years to deepen networking between community organizations and initiative groups and to support their common initiatives. Local problems of various scales and severity have been solved over the years by cooperation with the local self-government and funding of public initiatives within the framework of the direction.
In 2004, the Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia was the first organization that started talking about the corporate social responsibility of business. Since then, in order to raise awareness and access expertise in this direction, we have been actively working with the general public, as well as with relevant state structures, civil organizations, the educational sector and business companies. The goal of the direction team is to raise awareness of corporate social responsibility in Georgia and promote the establishment of responsible business activities, as well as the development of cooperation between different sectors.
We are the first organization to prepare and publish a sustainable development report according to GRI standards. Today, the organization offers consulting assistance to companies for the preparation of a sustainable development report in the GRI format.
In 2009, we were again one of the first civil organizations that started working in the direction of social entrepreneurship development. Since then, social entrepreneurship is one of the important strategic directions of the organization. The aim of the direction is to develop social entrepreneurship as a new approach for social and economic inclusion of vulnerable groups in Georgia, to solve public and environmental challenges.
Since 2019, the organization provided financial support to 37 social enterprises within the direction. In addition, the Social Entrepreneurship team continuously promotes the diversification of funding sources for social enterprises. With the participation of the organization, one of the largest Georgian microfinance organizations, Crystal, created a new product - "social credit" tailored to social enterprises, which has already been used by 12 social enterprises.
We started working on the topic of consumer rights protection in 2009, and since then our goal has been to establish an effective consumer rights protection system in Georgia. Initially, the team only monitored the food market. Today, as a result of accumulated experience and increased support, the research areas of the organization have expanded to include various consumer products and services.
The activities carried out by the direction team contributed significantly to the adoption of several legislative changes, which ultimately led to an increase in the quality of food safety in the food market. As a result of successful work, the organization has gained the name of one of the leading organizations working on the topic of consumer rights protection. momxmarebeli.ge has hundreds of thousands of unique visitors every year, and the Facebook page www.facebook.com/momxmarebeli.ge/ had more than 29,630 followers as of October 2022. Their number is steadily increasing.
Since the signing of the Association Agreement between Georgia and the European Union (EUGAA), CSRDG has been promoting the multifaceted involvement of regional public organizations in Georgia in monitoring and advocating for the timely and proper implementation of the Agreement. Since 2015, the aim of the European Integration direction is to bring to the public what specific obligations the association agreement provides for. Since it is necessary for the civil society to control the process of the implementation of the association agreement and to demand its proper implementation from the authorities, it is necessary to involve more civil society organizations in the European integration of the country.
In 2017-2020, we developed 13 expert assessments of the implementation of the Association Agreement, conducted 24 trainings for up to 500 representatives of public organizations, on 30 topics of the European Association Agreement, prepared 36 short explanatory videos on issues related to association, and gave 31 grants to local/regional public organizations. However, the main challenge was the nature of association-related reforms, which need considerable time to translate into concrete actions at the municipal level.
In 2019, with the support of the European Union, the organization launched a large-scale three-year project "Promotion of rights-based social services for the disabled and the elderly" and actively began working in the direction of the social services development. The project creates a new, completely unique experience by introducing a comprehensive rights-based approach to social services in Georgia. All necessary documents, service standards and educational materials are being developed for the implementation of rights-based social services. The aim of the direction is to develop rights-based social services in Georgia, where the social, cultural and economic rights of people in vulnerable situations will be protected and supported.
The direction team works in two main directions: perfecting the appropriate political, legal and educational base and developing the organizational capacity of public organizations providing social services in order to develop, plan, implement and evaluate their social services.