Why We Invested: Institute for Development of Freedom of Information
In July 2018, Georgia became the first post-communist country to host the Open Government Partnership Summit, which attracted more than 2,200 attendees from 115 countries. The Summit brought a lot of useful discussions on civic engagement and public service delivery and put the host country in the spotlight on the questions of Good Governance.
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) works globally to bring together government reformers and civil society leaders to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive, and accountable. As an OGP member, Georgia has already implemented three Action Plans and is currently progressing the fourth Action Plan for 2018-2019, which will see the government continue to carry out many important initiatives and commitments. Such progress is noted internationally, and in 2015, the Parliament of Georgia was awarded the OGP Government Champions Award for the effective inter-fractional group cooperation with civil society.
Good governance issues are also one of the questions under discussion within other international events in the country - such as the Annual Investment Forum “Georgia – Land of Opportunities” - because investors understand the importance of efficient and transparent institutions in the country. While Georgia has made such progress, investors, citizens, and other stakeholders are looking forward to further developments.
One of the most active participants of the OGP movement in Georgia from the civil society side is the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI). Established in 2009, IDFI works to build an informed and empowered society for democratic governance. IDFI chaired the civil society side at the national OGP committee in Georgia, and in June 2017 Giorgi Kldiashvili, the executive director of IDFI, was selected as a member representing civil society on the OGP’s Steering Committee.
IDFI develops projects dealing with all aspects of transparency and accountability in the country. While doing study visits to Georgia and scoping the opportunities for engagement in the country, we couldn’t help noticing all the important results that IDFI has achieved in the country over the past 10 years.
After several months of due diligence, Luminate is proud to support IDFI’s Good Governance for Georgia (3G) project. With up to USD $390,000 over three years, the IDFI team plans to increase public oversight of state institutions and support transparency and accountability of the Georgian government. The three-year plan includes conducting oversight activities related to monitoring of effective, responsible, transparent, ethical, and accountable governance and public procurement activities, increasing the capacity of journalists and other stakeholders to enhance their oversight skills.
The team is beginning its work in Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi and plans to build its activities out to other regions during the second and third years. The grant also allows IDFI to conduct several Good Governance forums in the country in order to enhance the dialogue and to facilitate exchange of international experience within the region.
We were also glad to support IDFI in obtaining the Foreign Public Charity Equivalence (FPCE) certification that confirms the team is equivalent to a U.S. public charity. As one of the first Georgian NGOs to receive Equivalency Determination (ED) repository, the team now plans to attract more private foundations to explore Georgia, and Luminate is supporting them in this path.
This is Luminate’s first direct engagement in Georgia, and we are glad to welcome the IDFI team to our Central and Eastern Europe portfolio. Luminate’s global work in Financial Transparency supports transparency, accountability, and participation in the use of public funds, and we strongly believe that this project will help Georgia’s institutions and rule of law become more effective and enhance the country’s future development.