Bi-Weekly Meeting Nr. 2: Summary!

Georgia’s #Futurespotters 2nd bi-weekly took place May 6th! There were several different topics touched upon, such as the upcoming #twitterstorm on Monday, horizon2020 and linking decision makers with civil society.

Linking Civil Society with Decision Makers and each other

@Khatuna started with explaining UNDPs current ideas; how to facilitate for these new interesting innovative ideas, projects and organizations. Basically, UNDP is wondering how they can create a mechanism or a way to get the ideas on board: how could UNDP could facilitate for projects that are innovative? An idea that was brought up was linking civil society with the right decision makers and with each other. Not only on an individual bases, but perhaps on a broader scale: organizing fairs for civil society. These are just ideas thus far, but it does link great with what came out of the Georgia workshop: many of the participants had as challenges that they are unable to get the government on board, to see actual change happen.

@Elene Margvelashvili added to this discussion that although they have good contacts at the right institutions, there is, for example at tbilisi city hall, not one person responsible for communications with civil society. So for every problem, they are directed to another department, and the departments don’t work well together. It would be great if we could convince the municipalities to organize this more smoothly. Something which perhaps UNDP can help with.

Another issue which was raised was the fact that the ‘old’ institutions are frowning upon meeting in a not office space. From having conferences not in a fancy hotel but in a cafe, to having brainstorming sessions in unconventional locations. The idea that creativity might be blocked by fancy-schmancy surroundings seems not have landed with your ordinary donors, NGOs and government institutions. A good way to change their views is to probably show how beneficial an out of the box location can be!

Horizon2020 and Open Source Software

Then there is the Horizon2020 topic which was discussed in response to @Alberto’s post about open source software and digital literacy: “We could try and teach people to install Linux, and then teach other, who would teach others

@ericnbarrett, Jumpstart, was very excited about the idea and added:

“What do you think about the model of having local, in our case Georgian, people who have experience in using various technologies such as Linux, open-source packages, etc. responding to local lack of knowledge/expertise? For example, we have set up a local group with the Georgian School of Journalism to share our experience in data journalism around a MOOC, but the possibilities are endless (Linux, design, data collection/analysis, etc). These groups are made up of volunteers (we are volunteers).”

I guess we should set up a discussion about this on the platform, I believe it could be a great project! And to add to that, perhaps we should not only focus on youth, but add governmental institutions to this. Khatuna mentioned there is currently a similar project happening at the Georgian Ministry of Justice, but based on the experience of civil society in Georgia, Governmental institutions often don’t do certain things, because it is too costly. However, when shown that these issues could be tackled with open software or innovative approaches (such as Elva’s air quality project), they are much more inclined to work on it. Let’s brainstorm some more about this topic!

Election Monitoring

We also came back to the idea of creating an app to report Election fraud (as the elections will be this June already!). Inge and Eric agreed to work together on this, using Open Kit Data, gathering data using mobile phones and summarizing this data online in real time.

OpenStreet Map Georgia

Abother project which was mentioned and should be on the platform as well is openstreet map georgia. It is organized by jeff Haack and they will have a mapping party on Saturday the 17th: “Maps and Beer, what could be more fun!? We’ll meet up at a pub, get organized, and go out for some urban mapping. Then return to the pub for beers and editing. We’ll map a chunk of Tbilisi, get to know each other, and learn more about mapping and OpenStreetMap along the way.” Anyone interested should join!

Iare pekhit

Our final topic related to Iare Pekhit. As they are a start-up they are facing many challenges. One of the issues was the fact that they have only one Netbook. When Elene mentioned this, Eric right away jumped in and said Jumpstart would donate two netbooks to Iare Pekhit! Another reason why linking innovators, NGOs and social movements with one and each other: we can actually help each other in so many ways!

Funding is another issues, as they only have funding for the next 3 months, so they are worried about this. If anyone has some ideas how we can help them out, that would be great.

They are also thinking of creating a membership and a board: either a board of review, or a board of directors. Eric said that a board of review really works well for jumpstart: what project works and what doesn’t, trying to get the harsh truth.

Elene also mentioned that they desperately need an action plan. Below are the topics that they are currently working on and could use anyone’s input/help:

“We want to identify upcoming pedestrian unfriendly locations on a daily bases”

One way to tackle this issue could be by working with openstreet map georgia. If Iare pekhit would like, they could also record pedestrian issues, then you can ask all those people who are active for open street map, to also look at these things. The good thing of this is that changes will also be documented over time: improvements and deterioration, etc.


    We had some really good positive outcomes for our second bi-weekly meeting:

    • Georgia's \#futurespotters need to be linked with decisionmakers, UNDP is already thinking about how to do this
    • Inge and Eric will be working together on an election monitoring app.
    • Jumpstart is very interested in the Horizon2020 program: teaching open-source software in georgia.
    • Iare Pekhit has 2 new netbooks and will contact openstreet maps Georgia!

    And not to forget, jumpstart is organizing the “Hack Me Some Land Registration” event, where they will try to answer the following questions: One of the most important parts of this event will be deciding how to use this information. What ideas do you have? What types of analysis will this allow us to conduct that we can’t now? What will this data shed light on that we need to know in a society governed in a transparent way? What data can we combine this with to do more advanced analysis? company registry data? party finance data? procurement data? What makes sense? How can we then communicate this data? visualize it?

    @Boris, @Ninutsa Nanitashvili, @Cristina_Maza, @Mamaduka, @Heather Y, and anyone else I forgot to ping here: please see where you can join in! Perhaps at the openstreet map event and the land registration event? Volunteers are needed! Or if you have any other way you could share your social capital: great!

    Opening move

    Great. I suggest that

    1. @ericnbarrett and I take the lead on writing a one-pager of what we want to do in the H2020 project.
    2. We share it here and have a discussion.
    3. Eric himself and @Inge ask for a meeting to the EU delegation in Georgia to ask for advice on the legal/administrative side
    4. At this point, we should be able to identify a call that works with what we want to do and is accessible to Georgian entities. We next build up the partnership, beefing it up with (no too many, to contain administrative complexity) other Georgian NGOs and interesting EU partners (I can help here). 
    5. I think we should also consider inviting our Egyptian friends to this discussion, since they seem to have the same problem. @gazbee sorour, would this make sense? Who, in the Egyptian community, would be the equivalent of Jumpstart in Georgia?

    Eric and Inge, if you agree this is where it makes sense to have a 30 mins hangout.

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    Great plan!

    that sounds like a great plan @Alberto! Do you want to have the google hangout before writing the paper, and the meeting with the EU before or after writing the paper? @ericnbarrett, what do you think?

    I propose:

    First, @ericnbarrett and I (and whoever else wants to join) work together on a wiki (maybe GoogleDocs if you guys use Google, if not a wiki on the platform) or something to produce a one-pager. The purpose of the one-pager is simply to show it to the broader Futurespotters Georgia group: it is a way to save everyone time, as 15 people can read one page in 15 minutes tops, whereas a 15-way conversation takes hours. We share it here and have a conversation; after that, we rewrite the one-pager to incorporate people’s insights. At this point in time, we don’t care about the calls. We simply try to identify (1) what needs to be done that (2) we have the skills to do, at least a little bit. 

    Then you have your meeting with the EU people. You send them the one-pager a couple of days in advance of the meeting. They should suggest some calls in H2020.

    Then we have a Google hangout to decide, based on the information that you get in that meeting, what to do. If we decide to go for it, we will need to form a group, design a simple workflow of who does what, and a simple calendar. We need the calendar because at this point we are working towards a specific call, that has a deadline.


    What do you guys think about involving the Egyptians?


    Perhaps it is smart to first have a quick hang out meeting to sort of understand each others ideas so it’ll be easier to write up the initial document? What do you guys think, @Alberto, @ericnbarrett?


    Yes, please, it’ll be great!

    Write first

    Let me write a stub first. Sorry – I am really not a meetings person. :slight_smile:

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    ok :slight_smile:

    works for me!

    Great !

    From what i can tell, you had very productive second meetup. Its so unfortunate i could not join because of exam. Regarding my involvement:

    • I will definitely join for mapping party on Saturday, 17th. I'm veeery much beginner, so I hope there will be time for some orientation for ones like me. :)
    • For the "Hack Me Some Land Registration Data event"  should i encourage developers from our community, GDG Tbilisi to join?
    • Horizon2020 and Open Source Software - I'm in and can recruit volunteers as well. 
    • Very happy for @Elene Margvelashvili and Iare Pekhit ! Respect to @ericnbarrett

    Good luck to us !



    No worries you weren’t there, there’s always a next time ;). hope your mid-term went well!

    Regarding the mapping: beginners are very welcome! I am a beginner myself as well :))

    And please do share the info on the land registration hack, @ericnbarrett: how many people would you ideally like to have involved?

    We will keep you updated on the Horizon2020 program :slight_smile:

    on H2020 & lining people

    Ok,  this summary - or rather my interest to comment - convinced me to sign up. Congrats Inge, you win :slight_smile:

    On Horizon 2020 & EU

    1. The person to talk to in Georgia is Givi Kochoradze, Executive Director, International Center for Advancement of Research, Technology and Innovation (ICARTI). He’s the focal point  for H2020

    2. There’s an EU regional conference in Yerevan next week, May 15/16, by INCO Eap, a project related to Horizon 2020   agenda at   The event is focussed on climate change, but I think I can share a little info on EU contacts and programs  in the Eastern Partnership at the  next meeting

    3. May 10th  Europe Day will be celebrated at the Ethnograhic Museum. People from the delegation as well as from national embassies will be there. You might try to informally talk to some people there.

    4. I might be mistaken, but I think H2020 requires to apply as a consortium, with representatives from several countries. I don’t think you can apply for activities in just one country.  Better clarify that before you put a lot of effort into project development

    On linking civil society and “decision makers”

    1. First of all, everyone is a decision maker. And one of the things sometimes driving me crazy in Georgia is that so many people are actively avoiding decision, always looking for someone else to be the decision maker.   I know what you meant, but can we label it  civil society and government, not civil society and government? Just to make sure taht everyone needs to make decisions :slight_smile:

    2. I work for the Government of Georgia, funded by a donor.   There’s no lack of donors talking about civil society, civil society talking about the government, government talking about the donors,… What I lacking is  people talking WITH each other, not just about each other. In my perception several civil society people in Georgia are so used to government-bashing  that they don’t even try to find the right people to talk to anymore

    1. Tbilisi City Hall is problematic, yes. But it#s a very political situation which in these extreme is in my view not representative for all of Georgia, and most of all it#snot chiselled in stone. There will be a lot of staff changes after the local election on June 15th. I recommend to see his as a window of oppportunity to develop concrete ideas and demands and  bring them on the agenda once new people are in office.

    2. “Old institutions” not meeting out of the office

    This is a generalization i find hard to accept. I meet people in cafes etc. all the time, so do m colleagues, some of which actually have a civil society background. I do agree that too many meetings are in Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Marriott etc., finding new locations has my full support.   But  it’s often the donors - or Georgian NGOS, not the government, choosing this location.  All civil society conferences I’ve been to have been at Sheraton etc. as well. I recently met the director of a company organizing events for UN. Can’t find he card or remember her name. But there is a sub-contractor organizing conferences, meetings etc. for UN, so if UN is interested in out of the box locations I think this organization should be included to clarify options. 


    Thanks Thanks! :wink:

    Danke schon Uli! very helpful information!

    regarding Horizon: many thanks! And yes, edgeryders will be the european partner, so thats how that will be solved.

    regarding linking CS and government, also completely agree, actually everything you mentioned we did discus, but did not include it in my notes (it’s hard to take notes and talk at the same time ;).)

    Good points

    Well, @Uli, welcome. We will do our best to make signing up worth your while. :slight_smile:

    Thanks for the valuable intelligence you are bringing to the table. Hopefully we will put together something interesting for Mr. Kochoradze to chew on. Is ICARTI very big business focus? Where do they stand on free-and-open? The website, in Georgian, is beyond me.

    I particularly sympathize with your points  1 and 2 on linking civil society and “decision makers”.

    In fact, I would extend 1 to say “everybody is a policy maker”. The project we are discussing here is not about deciding that open source culture is important and somebody should spread it; it’s about spreading it ourselves, initially as a prototype with research/evaluation attached and then, hopefully, at scale.

    As for 2, I fully agree – hell, I’m (Italian) government myself one way or another most of the time. The bridge people, the bureaucrats that can talk both to the civil society and the hierarchy, are a key enabling factor. Investment in dialogue with institutions can be exhausting, but it pays off tenfold if you manage to find even just one of them. 

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    well done guys!

    Just wanted to express my awe when reading all of this about your meetups. Documentation has never been more interesting to read! It’s like opening up a window into all the interesting things happening locally, far away but so helpful if we want to work together. This is super, thanks @Inge & all for keeping the bar high, looking forward to see you soon. Save the date 26-28 June :slight_smile: and maybe start thinking which of these burning questions could make for event sessions that would benefit the most from global audience? we’re crowdsourcing the event agenda. more on this at Monday’s twitterstorm.


    Thanks Noemi!

    these meet-us are great and very inspiring! I am very happy this was initiated and that it brings more people to the platform as well, they serve two things: 1. bringing people together, 2. getting people to know about the usefulness of the platform :wink:

    And yes, @ericnbarrett, @Ninutsa Nanitashvili, @Boris, @Elene Margvelashvili, @Uli : if you can think about how we can get these ideas we have turned inot interesting (more global) topics for the workshop in June, that would be great!

    more contacts

    I found more contacts by now

    1.on UN meetings in Tbilisi

    The contractor organizing conferences and workshops is UCC group, director is Tamar Phakadze  If anyone as concrete ideas for alternative workshop locations - e.g., I’ve once been to a WS by MoEconomy at the National parliament Librabry -   maybe UNDP could suggest them to UCC Group?

    1. Mapping party

    I would have loved to attend, but I’ll be in Yerevan on that day. Are you already cooperating with universities?  I think it would be great to invite local students to attend, otherwise you might end up with a majority of expats…   Joseph Salukvadze,  professor for Urban Geography and Geographic Information systems, might be someone who can help to reach out to students.  He has also worked in a land registration project on tbilisi in the past

    1. Mapping II - links to Covenant of Mayors

    8 Cities in Georgia have already joined the EU Covenant of Mayors, including the 7 biggest cities in the country and representing 80-90% of Georgia’s urban population.  They all have to prepare “Sustainable Energy Action Plans” SEAP, which usually also include action plans on transport, waste, green areas etc., anything related to emissions & climate change. 3 cities have finalized a SEAP (Tbilisi, Rustavi, Gori), but these have to be reviewed updated each year. A problem all cities face is lack of data. Helping them with data, e.g. via the Ope Street map project, which could be relevant e.g. for actions on transport & green areas), could be a “door opener” to  a closer dialogue between civil society and  city administrations.  If you are interested in this we should first meet in person, and I’ll make sure that you get an invitation to the next CoM event…&x=0&y=0&country_search=ge&population=&date_of_adhesion=&status=

    1. Links, esp. for non-attendees

    Please consider that some infos are  a bit hard to understand  for people who haven’t attended the meeting, i.e. they might not know who “Iare pekhit” is and what they do. Providing a link to  institutions and projects, when available, would be great.

    Last but not least a question on platform settings:  I was surprised to see my photo on edgeryders, as I hadn’t uploaded it. I guess it’s automatically taken from my blog. Can anyone confirm is edgeryders is linked to wordpress? I guess I have to change my privacy settings there…  Second question: after registering, I get all notifications TWICE.  Not sure why. Any idea how to change the settings in order to stop that? Thanks

    Good Job guys

    I really hope to join you next meeting, due to my busy schedule I wasn’t able to attend this time.

    I would like to join process of Linking Civil Society with Decision Makers and each other.

    Hopefully I can add something to it.


    OpenStreetMap: YES!!!

    @Uli, it’s the second time today I agree with you! This does not happen often, at this point I am looking forward to meeting you in Tbilisi. :smiley:

    I would be particularly passionate about OpenStreetMap stuff in our H2020 project. Check out this project abstract that we built in Edgeryders early this year. At the time I was in conversation with UNDP in Bangladesh: they eventually turned it down, saying the country is in turmoil and they have no bandwidth to spare, but we think the idea is solid and would love to do it elsewhere. Two very senior mappers are on Edgeryders and helped with that proposal, @napo and @simonecortesi (the latter a former board member of the OSM Foundation). 

    Your picture was grabbed from Gravatar. Glad to know that works! If you don’t like it, go to your user profile, click Edit, then uncheck the Gravatar box.

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    Online mapping by Tbilisi City Hall

    @Alberto: on my profile pic: My comment was about the procedure, not the pic. I understand that Edgeryders has an interest to have profile picture of every member. But I have an interest to decide myself what  infos I share, and when. If you use “Gravatar” or whatever to search the web for private info, like pictures, and then use them without notification,  I would appreciate if you would at least notify people about  this procedure when they register.

    Project abstracts:  I am  more interested in the human side of this platform, i.e. linking people, not the tech side.  And specifically limited to Tbilisi.  Please don’t expect me to look into project abstracts, because I won’t, at  least right now. No time for that.

    Online mapping. I recently stumbled upon this article on Tbilisi City Halls priorities for development of green areas    and was especially interested in this part:  " As the online mapping of Tbilisi an ongoing project, it has still not been properly calculated what percentage of the capital’s territory is actually green. … The online mapping of Tbilisi will be finished by the end of 2014 and as a result Tbilisi’s green territories will become visible, according to Korkashvili…" Is Jumpstart or anyone else in this platform involved in this? Otherwise I recommend to contact Korkashvili, to make sure that there is no duplication of efforts…


    @ericnbarrett/@Cristina_Maza: do you guys know about Tbilisi City Hall’s priority to develop and online map green areas?