A participatory budget of Marneuli!
When we began to plan the One Caucasus program, we couldn't even imagine the fantastic partners we would find to work with along the way. The local government of Marneuli proved to be the best partner for "making the impossible possible".
So this year we decided to go one step further. What if one of the Caucasus rural regions could begin to plan and implement a participatory budget within their region? This would be the first in the Caucasus and one of the first in the whole post-soviet area.
This progressive democratic tool gives local communities the power to have a direct impact on the local government budgets.
First - with the One Caucasus NGO and Marneuli Municipality - we organized workshops for representatives of local government to plan the process. Next, during 3 sub-regional workshops in Marneuli at the end of July, 118 participants from 43 villages took part by voicing their opinions. They learned about how the municipality budget works and was introduced to the Participatory Budget (PB) of Marneuli. Participants worked in groups to name the key problems of their villages and to plan the next steps in the framework of a Participatory Budget. In August 2015, during the One Caucasus Open Citizen Council - Marneuli region meeting, the residents of Marneuli had the opportunity to submit their first projects within the PB. Together they decided on how approx. 1 500 000 Lari was spent on local projects. From this sum - 500 000 Lari was secured for micro-projects (up to 10 000 Lari). Altogether, the participatory budget amounted to more than 5% of the whole Marneuli Municipality budget that year.
We hope this project will continue to grow within the next few years in Marneuli - just like the One Caucasus program. Through our successes (and mistakes!) we also hope to inspire other regions in Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan to join in the participatory way of planning & budgeting.
Project “Local Activation through Participatory Budget of Marneuli" (KD008/WD/2015) is co-funded by ‘Support for Democracy’ and financed within the framework of the ‘Polish Development Cooperation Programme’ of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.