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EU4Dialogue Supported Local Initiatives

Local Initiatives Help Restore Cultural Heritage and Foster Community Engagement in Conflict-Affected Regions


The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) support Georgia’s civil society to promote peaceful conflict transformation. Efforts focus on building confidence among divided communities, assisting internally displaced people, and fostering social and economic progress in conflict-affected regions. Over the past four years, the EU4Dialogue project has catalyzed more than 40 civil society initiatives improving local livelihoods and encouraging community engagement in sustainable and equitable development.

On 27 June, EU and UNDP representatives visited Georgia’s Samegrelo region to review the progress of several civil society initiatives promoting local growth and community engagement.

“The European Union supports civil society organizations across Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus to encourage citizen participation, promote peace, and build resilience of communities affected by conflict. We are proud of our partnership with the vibrant civil society in Georgia, which drives positive change for tens of thousands of people living in conflict-affected regions,” said Yvonne Gogoll, EU DG NEAR Programme Manager.

In Zugdidi, EU and UNDP representatives attended the official opening of newly restored mosaic murals relocated from the village of Rukhi, adding a new tourist landmark to the region. The restored murals, ‘Lady in Red,’ ‘Summer in Samegrelo,’ and ‘Musicians,’ are exemplary pieces of 20th-century public art heritage shared by communities across the conflict divide. Their restoration involved Georgian and French experts from the ‘Mosaica Studio’ Crafts Development Centre and the Ribirabo Foundation, supported by the EU4Dialogue project. Local youth from the conflict-affected regions actively participated in the restoration, assisting the experts and learning the craft.

The visit continued at the consultation centre established by the Charity Humanitarian Centre ‘Abkhazeti’ (CHCA), offering psychological support and counselling on various social services to people living on both sides of the conflict divide. In its first six months of operation, from January through May 2024, the centre provided over 120 face-to-face consultations and received more than 360 calls on the hotline.

“Civil society inspires cultural, economic, and social initiatives that contribute to the well-being of communities affected by conflict. Since 2020, the EU4Dialogue project supported 44 local initiatives, providing conflict-affected communities with economic aid, educational opportunities, employment prospects, counselling, and other types of assistance,” noted Giorgi Vardishvili, UNDP Crises Prevention and Recovery Team Leader in Georgia.

Background Information:

EU4Dialogue: Support to Conflict Transformation in the South Caucasus and the Republic of Moldova is a joint initiative of the EU and UNDP under the broader EU4Dialogue programme. The project partners with local civil society organizations and grassroots groups to improve socio-economic conditions for people, build livelihoods, drive progress toward gender equality, promote youth engagement and support the peaceful transformation of conflict.

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