National Integration and Tolerance Program in Georgia (NITG) is four year project funded by USAID. The program aims to increase the tolerance and national unity among Georgian citizens.
The NITG is run by UNA Georgia in close cooperation with the Government of Georgia and intends to provide:
Technical assistance to the relevant government authorities;
International expertise and trainings on the integration issues;
Improved awareness and mechanisms for discussion of tolerance and integration.
The ethnic minority integration is extremely problematic issue in the country and the president of Georgia declared the integration policy would be priority for this government. Government took some positive steps in this regard already: first of all, the post of the State Minister for Integration and National Minorities was created. Secondly, president established the Council for Civil Integration and Tolerance involving State Minister, different ministers and some NGO representatives to work on the national integration strategy. Besides, government announced reconstruction of vital road link between Capital and isolated Armenian populated Samtskhe-Javakheti region, Government also plans to establish the higher education institution targeted on national minorities.
Major outputs of this program will include:
Elaboration of a unified strategy and action plan to accomplish the goal of national integration. These documents will be developed by a group of prominent civil and public experts based on countrywide consultations with citizens, including minority and marginalized groups;
A small grants program to further the objectives of the strategy. Grants will be available for activities that promote the understanding of unity and civic responsibility; develop an awareness and appreciation of diversity within the country; explore issues related to the treatment of marginalized groups; create incentives for forging contacts beyond communities; and strengthen ties among the country’s regions;
The development of weekly TV talk-show, documentary series and Public Service Announcements to expose people to the benefits of diversity and help promote a sense of a civic identity by demonstrating that different regions and communities share common issues and can jointly solve problems.
The program officially launched on 16th November on International Day for Tolerance. This was the first ever significant celebration of Tolerance Day in Georgia. The event took place in the old part of Tbilisi, and included a photographic exhibition on “Diversity & Tolerance,” as well as a program presentation stressing the importance of the initiative and to raise awareness. Looking ahead, NITG plans to use International Tolerance day as an opportunity to celebration Georgia’s diversity and update citizens on the work of the program.