No more them and us
Abkhasia: 24th – 27th April, 2012
Abkhasia, I suspect, is a place not many of you may have heard of. It lies just over the administrative line from Georgia and is the very latest region to embrace the YouthBank concept and approach. Once one of the most economically important areas of the soviet era, now, arguably, it offers a bleak existence for the Abkhasian and Mingrelian Georgians who share this space.
And yet, extraordinarily, there are 5 YouthBanks in place in this region: being a contribution and a stand for a better quality of life. The 35 grant-makers came together in Pitsunda, on the Black sea coast in northern Abkhasia to learn together and from each other. This was, at times, a challenging experience, as contact between ethnic Abkhasians and Mingrelian Georgians is limited and relationships often tense. In a region where many citizens grind out an existence for meagre resources with few means to transform their circumstances the YouthBank members responded well to challenging tasks to help them prepare for the responsibility of allocating funding to youth-led projects. The YouthBank approach in Abkhasia will be supported by The Eurasia Partnership Foundation and Alert, a local NGO based in Gali.