OSGF Strategy 2014-2016
 

Summary

To actively push for reforms in a few key sectors and also to promote open society values with broader public, OSGF together with its reputable partners from civil society will advance the cause in the following areas: higher education reform with an emphasis on ensuring equal access for all to quality education, development of public interest media, with a focus on promoting media business development, journalistic ethics, and media literacy, and engaging EU institutions for better protection of minority rights and development of robust anti-discrimination legislation, securing greater due process and human rights in the justice system by promoting liberalization, further improvement of an adversarial system (especially in pre-trial justice), and the prevention of torture, improving governance of local municipalities through improved legislation on jurisdiction, taxation, and enhanced mechanisms for civic participation and oversight,  and development of an inclusive healthcare system, where marginalized and vulnerable groups are not discriminated against by securing better access to state-funded services, improved disability rights, greater availability of community-based services, and integration of the rights of marginalized groups into the broader discourse on human rights.

Higher Education

The improvement of higher education system is one of the key challenges for Georgia's democratic development.  More open, democratic, and inclusive higher education system will encourage in young citizens of Georgia a greater appreciation for diversity and critical thinking skills.  Over the year 2014-2016 the OSGF's efforts will be directed towards addressing key challenges of higher education in Georgia, increasing public awareness of higher education reform and improving public participation in reform-related processes.  In addition to the experienced CSOs, the OSGF will give support to established student groups oriented towards positive change of the education system.

In 2014 OSGF plans to focus its support on the following:

  • Improvement of HE quality
  • Increasing access of disadvantaged groups to HE
  • Strengthening of democratic governance of HEIs
  • Ensuring civil society participation in HE policy dialogue.

Media

The media sector in Georgia remains underdeveloped and riddled with ingrained problems. Genuine public interest media is profoundly weak; the few outlets that do produce ethical, investigative content that serves the public good rely almost entirely on donor support. Outlets lack basic business skills and often do not have marketing units, which makes them vulnerable to pressure from business and political interests. Breaches of ethical standards are common. Furthermore, the ramifications of the impending digital switchover remain opaque.

In 2014 OSGF plans to focus its support on the following:

  • Production of public interest content by online media outlets and independent TV studios
  • Improvement of business development skills of media outlets
  • Raising journalistic standards and improving media literacy
  • Fostering smooth and non-discriminatory digital switch-over

EU Integration

By engaging with EU institutions, making use of Eastern Partnership instruments, OSGF together with its partners will leverage the decision making process in Georgia, and hold the government to greater degrees of accountability. Together with its partners OSGF will advocate for the adoption of the legislation to fight against discrimination, to protect minority rights and to safeguard personal data from misuse. The Foundation will support CSOs to explore EU/Georgia Association Agenda to present evidence-based research and advocate for policy change.

In this strategic period OSGF will support its partners advancing the following goals:

  • Greater protection of minorities
  • Migration
  • Greater government accountability

Human Rights

The Foundation has reshaped its Human Rights Program to focus on the protection of fundamental rights in the field of criminal justice. The Program will support outstanding initiatives from civil society organizations and independent experts in criminal justice field, aimed at improving legal framework and practice on pretrial justice, and liberalization of criminal justice policy in Georgia. The Human Rights Program encourages initiatives, drawn on wide expertise, envisaging high level advocacy and drafting inputs in the following three directions, each addressing various issues:

  • Transformation of Criminal Justice Policy: restorative justice; liberal and reasonable sanctions; minor crimes and drug related offenses; plea bargains; pre-trial and administrative detention.
  • Guarantee Equality of Arms: procedural safeguards and due process in administrative and criminal legislation and proceedings; practical standards from the moment of arrest.
  • Elimination of Torture and Ill-treatment: prevention of inhumane practices in penitentiary institutions and temporary detention places; prison management; investigation of cases of torture and ill treatment; public oversight mechanisms.

Local Democracy Development

Decentralization is a key element in building a democratic society, promoting civil participation and ensuring the government's greater accountability. Despite the various changes adopted, legislation pertaining to self-governance requires further amendments to assure the independence of municipal units, civil participation in the decision-making process and the corruption-free local administration. 

OSGF together with the respective CSOs will continue working on self-governance to tackle the following major goals:

  • To draw a line between the powers of the central and local authorities and improve financial and institutional independence of self-governance
  • To ensure transparent and accountable local governance as well as civil participation in local decision-making process;

To monitor reform implementation and support CSOs to work on the problems identified in the reform process.  

Public Health

Overall, the priority goal of the OSGF's Public Health Program will remain to promote the health and human rights of marginalized groups by building the capacity of civil society actors and organizations, increase civil society and marginalized group involvement in health policy-making, enhance transparency and accountability of government towards public health issues. Public Health Program will work to set up mechanisms to protect health rights of marginalized groups; Overcome discrimination and exclusion in healthcare system and empower community based model services; Break down barriers by raising community voices and promoting the engagement of marginalized people in decision-making.

Public Health Program incorporates the following directions:

 


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