Bringing Innovation to Local Governance

Nov 24, 2017

Photo: Vladimer Valishvili/UNDP

Residents of Rustavi gathered in the City Park on Saturday, November 25, for the first ever Autumn Fair of community-oriented activities.

The event was organized as part of the FutureMakers project, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Volunteers and the International Network Edgeryders, in collaboration with the Rustavi Municipality.

The programme of the Autumn Fair was based on the local initiatives, designed by the Rustavi youth and volunteers. The festivities included a foods and craft fair, burger-making contest, organized by the social café Cafune, art workshops, activities for children, street circus and a puppet theatre.

Irakli Tabaghua, the newly elected Mayor of Rustavi, and Shombi Sharp, Deputy Head of UNDP in Georgia, joined the celebration.

“Young people can trigger a real change once they get involved in local governance with their creative energy and ideas. Only two months ago, the innovative local projects in Rustavi inspired the national Festival of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which has turned the Rustavi City Park into a landmark of SDG-related street art. It is encouraging to see more citizen initiatives, such as the social café Cafune, emerging in Rustavi’s urban space,” Shombi Sharp said.

The Mayor of Rustavi stressed the importance of collaboration between local authorities and citizens, and the role of innovative approaches in addressing some key development challenges faced by the city.

The Autumn Fair has continued for the whole day bringing together Rustavi residents, community organizations and youth groups.         

FutureMakers is a joint project of UNDP, UN Volunteers and Edgeryders, that runs Armenia, Egypt and Georgia, supporting innovation in governance and seeking the new ways of collaboration between municipalities and citizens. Rustavi City has been selected as a project venue in Georgia.  

Since 2016, the project has inspired a number of local initiatives, including for crowdsourcing of ideas for Rustavi City development, street art and graffiti events in the downtown area, social café Cafune, designed as a space for open discussion, and the national Festival of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “Future in Focus” in September 2017.

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