We believe that participation of youth in political processes is of utmost importance. Youth is the segment of society that has the most tremendous potential of innovation. The Future itself belongs to young people and they should have a crucial role in the process of defining policies of the country. Today the needs of those citizens are not as much reflected on political agenda as they should be. That’s why the Europe-Georgia Institute (EGI) in partnership with the National Endowment Democracy (NED) begin a project “Young Georgian Politicians’ Platform”. This project aims to draw more attention to issues concerning youth participation in politics, right before the Municipal Elections of 2021 and encourage involvement of young people in politics.
The necessity to implement this kind of a project derives from the reality and challenges young politicians in Georgia face today. Despite the fact that youth wings exist at an absolute majority of political parties in Georgia, those entities don’t play a significant role in the process of party’s policymaking and are mainly perceived as the resource during elections.
Moreover, a very small portion of youth in Georgia decides to be somehow active politics and the majority of young people distance themselves from any political process This issue can be illustrated by youth participation in elections, since only 38% of people aged 18-35 participated in 2018 presidential elections and 24% of the same age group claimed they wouldn’t participate in parliamentary elections. Despite attempts of small parties to reach out to youth, these attempts remain largely unsuccessful. The number of young men and women in Georgia actively engaged and interested in politics is very small, and a significant number of those who still decide to be involved in politics do this via the means of civic activism, while the ones from youth wings of political parties don’t have the position which they should claim in the political life of their parties.
The “Young Georgian Politicians’ Platform” Project aims to gather young politicians sharing democratic values and help them to emerge as the new faces of Georgian politics. The cooperation with already-established youth wings of Georgian parties will also contribute in to motivate politically engaged youth to participate in Georgian politics. This shall be achieved by enhancing the ability of youth wings, making them more significant within their own parties and also make them capable to link their own political parties with potential members from youth based on their skills and abilities.
It’s obvious that young politicians must be better represented in Georgian politics, it’s also for sure, that the main way to achieve this is by empowering young people to be better equipped for their political life. Starting January 2021, a range of activities are planned to achieve this goal. Since we strongly believe that young people are best suited to find the solutions for this particular problem, we will encourage discussion among them by hosting conferences and roundtables. Young politicians will create policy agendas regarding youth engagement for their parties. EGI will also support young candidates in upcoming elections, by providing special workshops and media support for them. All of this will be accompanied by a social network campaign to increase awareness and encourage youth participation in the political process.
We strive to make the following year beneficial for every young politician in Georgia.
These activities will provide them with a platform to discuss problems that constraint youth engagement in politics and of the possible solution for those problems. Further empowerment of young politicians and creation of political agendas for a better representation of youth in political activities will undoubtedly boost the situation regarding this matter in Georgia, and contribute to EGI’s main mission – foster Georgia’s transition and empowerment of new leaders for a better common future.