Accessible information for the Azeri minority in Marneuli

, 2022-02-15

Since May 2021 we have been supporting an initiative of the Union of Azerbaijani Youth of Georgia in the city of Marneuli. More than 20,000 twenty thousand people live in the city and the municipality of Marneuli has more than 100,000 inhabitants. Azerbaijanis are the main ethnic group, but Greeks, Russians, and Armenians can also be found here. This town is located south of the capital Tbilisi, close to the border with Azerbaijan and Armenia. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the residents have been facing the problem of access to information about the situation itself and support programs in the medical and social spheres, on top of all the challenges known to most of the world during this time. Most of the people that live in rural communities in the district are elderly ethnic Azerbaijanis who do not speak Georgian. The main goal of the supported project is to create mechanisms for informing the local population about social programs and the structures responsible for their implementation. The Union of Azerbaijani Youth of Georgia held a series of meetings with the representatives of the city hall with the aim of convincing them that the website of the city administration should contain information in two languages – Georgian and Azerbaijani. The activists developed informational materials on opportunities for participating in state social programs and distributed them among the residents of mountain villages. They succeeded in garnering support from local media and activists, while also collecting signatures on a petition to include an item in the local budget for the support of a bilingual website covering the Marneuli district. According to the leader of the initiative, Leyla Mamеdova, this simplified the understanding of the necessary information and facilitated the equal and complete participation of ethnic Azerbaijanis in the work of local self-government.