From October 8 to 18, 2011, the study visit was held in Czech Republic in Prague and Brno. The competition and visit was organized by the Czech non-governmental organization (NGO) NESEHNUTI. Six organizations from Georgia (three from Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi and 3 organizations from Abkhazia) took part in the study visit.
In the context of this competitive program, the local NGO, AIC (Abkhazintercont), submitted a project – “Increasing Civic Activity and Involvement of the IDPs Living in the Tskaltubo Municipality, Imereti Region in the Process of Resettlement”.
The study visit was financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, under the program title: TRANSITION – Support of Civil Society Development in Caucasus 2011. The project implementers were the NGO NESEHNUTI (Independent Social Ecological Movement) and the Georgian Journalist Association (PostFactum).
During the visit, meetings were organized with local and other international NGOs who have offices in the Czech Republic. Each participating NGO was introduced during the sessions, along with their projects and activities. Meetings and discussions were held with MEDIA representatives, such as the main Czech television channel in Brno and the publication DNES. During the technical sessions, the NGOS reported on various programs and the process of the report-preparation. Interns had the opportunity to make live presentations while attending and talking about their projects via a major news outlet.
All events and activities were conducted in a professional business format. The study visit began with each host organization presenting information on their projects, activities and target groups. These presentations were valuable learning opportunities about the experiences, programs and the primary objectives of the NGO sector in the Czech Republic. Every NGO shared their knowledge and experiences about the challenges and successes of their projects.
Throughout the visit, press-conferences were held where the forum interns had an opportunity to make presentations on their organization’s project. Project goals, successes and achievements were discussed.
During the last 3 days, seminars were held with the Czech students at Masaryk University. The visiting interns were introduced by the Masaryk University representatives to the faculty and were told about university study programs and the possibilities to win a scholarship for foreign students.
Masaryk University professors lectured on following subjects:
• Creating an independent media; Cooperation with big media
• Advantage and risks of modern economy; Social Entrepreneurship
• Experience of building civil society; Legal protection
• Nationalism and conflicts in the world; Reasons and resolution
Debates and discussions were held after each lecture. Other than formal university lectures, participants also visited the foremost institutions who are actively involved in building civil society sector in the Czech Republic. During formal and informal meetings, interns and hosts shared experiences, some of which were common and others unique, about new technologies and new approaches to situations and solutions.
The knowledge gained and the experience from this international forum in the Czech Republic will be used by the interns to empower beneficiaries and introduce new approaches to project implementation in their organizations.