Strengthening Future Cooperation

Location: Tbilisi, Georgia

June 05
On June 5, at 10:00 the participants from Azerbaijan were met by Vano Zazadze, a relevant Georgian participant and were taken to hotel “Dzveli Ubani” located at 5 Alexander Duma Str., Tbilisi, Georgia. At 14:00 on the same day the participants from Armenia were met at the appointed place by the same person and taken to the hotel. So all in all there were 12 participants at the alumni meeting.

After check in and some short rest in the rooms all the participants had lunch at a near bistro called “Shemoixede genacvale”.

At 15:00 till 16:00 we were back to the hotel and started our session at the hotel conference room. We started brainstorming for the future joint project. First each of the participants wrote on several sheets of paper all the ideas about the projects they had in their minds and put next to the closer idea. Later everyone explained the idea of his/her most favored project. But when we realized that there was a great variety of ideas that became more confused for us to decide upon one project, we changed our policy of working and first identified the common field that everyone would like to work in jointly, then the aim of the project and only after the type and successive actions of it. Thus we together came to a project called “Peace builders come together” which is aimed to stress the importance of finding out the perspectives for development among the youth of South Caucasus. There was decided to hold an essay competition on “What’s my vision of South Caucasian youth cooperation” topic. 4 winners from each country will take part in a two-day joint conference in Tbilisi discussing the future cooperation possibilities, challenges in this sphere and eventually will try to find solutions.

From 16:00 till 16:15 we had small break and further continued our discussion about the possible donors, business contacts and other issues connected with financial assistance.

Then, starting from 17:00 until 19:00, excluding a fifteen minutes break, having in mind the general picture of the future joint project we started to draft the MitOst project application form all together; one of us reading the headline and all the rest discussing and summarizing the aim, goals, project description and responsibilities distribution points.

Also we have a guest, Irine Odisharia, who organized election of the speaker for Getting involved 2009.

From 19:00 until 20:00 we had dinner at bistro “Shemoixede Genacvale”.

After dinner some participants were back to the hotel to continue working on the final application form, particularly some Georgian participants on the financial part, some Armenian and Azerbaijani participants on the textual form of the project and the other Georgian participants went to buy food and some other necessary issues, such as balls, badmintons for children for June 6’s trip to Tserovani.

June 06
As planned beforehand we got up early in the morning, had breakfast in the hotel dining room from 8:00 till 8:30, left the hotel at 8:45 and went to the station to take a bus to Tserovani.

We arrived at the appointed district at 11 o’clock.

We decided to divide into several groups. Each group had at least one Georgian guy in order to be able to communicate with the people. We took one line of the cottages and knocked at doors suggesting out help. The people were too happy and impressed at our suggestion.

Even we could see that they definitely needed help they refused saying that it was enough that we visited them.

We were talking with them, discussing their common problems, their way of living, their future plans, expectations, etc. During these talks we got to know some interesting facts about Tserovani district and about Internally Displaced People’s life.

Tserovani is a district for Internally Displaced People who live there temporary. They were displaced as a result of Russian-Georgian war in August 2008. There are 5000 cottages; i.e. 5000 families living there. The main business for people is the agriculture. Each cottage has a little place which has become a garden for them. People plant vegetables, greens, grow trees and flowers. Generally they don’t work. Only a little percent of the Tserovani people has a job outside Tserovani, but the others are in their homes and gardens and play cards in the neighborhoods. They get pension. They get approximately $10 a month a person. But as we then counted it was too little money for the whole family.

Anyway some people accepted our willingness to help them. Particularly, boys were helping people to dig the ground in order to make way for water. The girls in their turn helped in watering some potato beds (gardens). After finishing our, let us say “main mission” we gathered children from cottages and played different games with them.

Although there existed a language barrier we could communicate with the families and children with the help of our Georgian GettingInvolved participants. At 15:00 we were back to Tbilisi.

When we arrived we met some new guests in the hotel. They were professors and students from Washington University. They were having a practice in Tbilisi. They were very interested in South Caucasus region and especially in existing conflicts. We also took part in their meeting. We represented ourselves and GettingInvolved. They were surprised with our team work and were wondering what will be our next step to strengthen GettingInvolved Network.

At 17: 00 we checked out and went back to our countries with the hope to meet again soon.

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