Action Plan

Development of Community Centers in Georgia

Improving access to public services has been a priority and integral part of open government policy for the government of Georgia. The Public Service Hall should be mentioned in this regard, which on the regional and global levels is celebrated as one of the successful examples of delivering public service. At the same time, an emphasis is put on improving the access to public services for the citizens living in rural areas.

Public Service Development Agency, a Legal Entity of Public Law operating under the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, has been actively working for the enhancement local governments’ capacities over the past several years. Government of Georgia has implemented a number of significant reforms in the public sector by using modern information technologies. As a result of these reforms, the population in cities and municipal centers can use quality services, although the access of rural population to services offered by the state is still relatively limited.

Since 2012, the Agency, with the financial assistance from the European Union, has been implementing the project named “Introduction of E-Governance in Local Governments”. The project aims at building capacity of local governments through improving governance in the local government entities, providing quality services to the local population and developing local infrastructure. In the first phase of the project, the Public Service Development Agency drew up the concept of Community Centers.

Development of the Community Centers was one of the important commitments of Open Government Georgia action plans. Within the framework of OGP Georgia 2012-2013 and 2014-2015 action plans, more than originally planned Community Centers were built in the rural areas and the website was created, where information on the location, services and activities of Community Centers is available. As a result of the implemented measures, currently there are 80 functional Community Centers in Georgia.

Community Centre is a space equipped with modern infrastructure and technology. It enables local population to get more than 200 public and private services without leaving their villages. Users of the community centers can enjoy services offered by the Public Service Development Agency, the National Archive of Georgia, the National Agency of Public Registry and Social Service Agency. Centers also provide services of private companies - Magticom and Liberty Bank.

Centers are staffed with employees recruited on a competitive basis among the local population and trained to provide the central government and private sector services by means of e-governance. Moreover, a modern digital library, free Internet service, computers and conference call equipment are available to the local population. Community Centers host Local Government representatives' offices and offer a space for fostering civic engagement activities on the ground. Free Internet, computers, conference call equipment and modern e-library services are also available to individual citizens.

Apart from providing access to services, Community Centers perform a role of mediator between the population and the government. The central and local governments as well as civil society representatives are able to use Community Centers for communicating with the local population; introducing new services, initiatives, legislative changes and organizing public awareness raising events.

Community Centers hosted more than 4000 events, where more than 60 000 people took part. The civic engagement events covered different topics: Agriculture, gender equality and women’s rights, awareness campaigns about the persons with disabilities, trafficking and visa free travel to the EU Schengen Zone. Different trainings aimed at strengthening skills of local inhabitants in the field of employment, and Georgian language courses for the national minorities took place at the Community Centre, as well as, different types of educational-informational and cultural events: film screenings, exhibitions, and competitions.

It is noteworthy that, as a rule, in the process of elaborating Open Government Georgia action plan majority of public consultations take place in the Community Centers.

The conference rooms can be used by different institutions, except political parties and religious institutions. The conference rooms can be booked through the Community Centers’ webpage.
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