Beka Asanidze, a lawyer from Gori in Georgia, is a participant in our ICLD Human Rights Based Approach Programme. For all the ambitious work within his community, to increase youth participation, Beka is here presented in our series on Champions of Local Democracy.
Here is Beka’s own story:
“Living in Gori municipality, bordering the Russian occupation line, where life is not safe, is the main challenge of my country and especially my municipality. A big part of our municipality is occupied and every day I see Russian military bases from my windows. However, it gives me a clear understanding and motivation to work harder, study better and do more to be part of the changes for my local community and my country. Georgia has been an independent country only for 30 years, and even now 20% of Georgia is still occupied by Russian
Unfortunately, in Georgia, we don’t have long experience of local self-government. Democracy and state institutions in Georgia aren’t as strong as in Sweden. Our experience about local self-government, good governance, transparency, participation, gender equality, civil society, corruption, vulnerable groups, inclusion and social entrepreneurs is less than 30 years.”
Beka Asanidze today works as the Head of the International Relations Department in Gori and is responsible for international projects in the municipality. One of their projects, “Civil budgeting”, has won a lot of national success in Georgia and received a grant from the EU. The project has increased citizen participation, transparency and the local democracy level in the municipality.
Besides his work, Beka is also very engaged in the youth and how to increase youth participation in the decision-making process at the local level.
The more youth are involved in the decision-making process at the local level, the better democracy we will have
“I did my studies in the faculty of law at the Tbilisi State University with honour. When coming back to my hometown Gori, I realized that the youth in my hometown had fewer opportunities than those who live in the capital. Gori youth are less engaged, have less informal education and are less aware about human rights,” says Beka.
Therefore he started to share his knowledge and experience with local youth.
“As a student in law, I was selected as a trainer to raise awareness about human rights in schools in Tbilisi. When coming back to Gori, I started to make the same kind of trainings for the youth here. We now have trainings, workshops, face to face meetings, forums and other activities about human rights, participation and democracy. Thanks to this work, I was last year awarded as one of the best youth workers of Gori municipality!
The goal of the work I do concerning the youth is to increase youth participation in decision-making process at local level. Many of them voted for the first time in last year’s local elections. And we can see how they have become more engaged and have more ideas on how to change the local situation. I am so proud of them and happy to be one of the reasons of their development!”
Last year Beka was accepted to ICLD’s international training programme Human Rights Based Approach. In the programme, he and his Gori-team work on a project that aims to increase youth participation in local decision-making processes.
“It is a good opportunity for me to use international experience in the work I do for my local community”, says Beka. “Learning about the Swedish way of good governance, taking care of vulnerable groups, urban sustainability and cooperation between local government and NGOs are wonderful opportunities to study and then to put into practice in our municipality.”
About our series Champions of Local Democracy
Within this series, we tell personal stories about individuals who inspire others and let democratic values live on. Regardless of gender, status or the burdensome situations that they might have endured, they have never backed away from the democratic frontline. Our champions have been, or are currently, a part of our operations at ICLD. Read former portraits.