Kartlosi (Bridge of Friendship) Georgia

Kartlosi's (Bridge of Friendship) mission is to support the sustainable development of local communities in the Shida Kartli Region of Georgia, contribute to the peace process and the settlement of the conflict in South Ossetia/Tskihinvali Region, and carry out dialogues between communities that have been divided by conflict. Kartlosi was founded in 2006 on the initiative of Georgian and Ossetian youth from the village of Pkhvenisi, 5km from Tskhinvali, de facto capital of the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

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Activities

Kartlosi aims to support the local civil population, encourage development of their professional potential, and raise the participation of youth in local societal processes. Kartlosi has carried out many projects, events, charity actions, cultural and sport activities. These activities have significantly contributed to the mobilisation of local communities and have raised the capacity of civil activity at the local level.

During the August 2008 war, members of Kartlosi had to leave their home village and stayed for two months in different settlements. They suffered the stress of war but owing to a high level of self-organization, Kartlosi managed to provide assistance to others who were affected by war. Based on this experience, Kartlosi decided to establish a coalition of NGOs in ‘exile’ called “For IDP rights” in order to provide more accurate and targeted assistance to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

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Georgian and Ossetian civil forum and youth dialogue meetings

Kartlosi representatives are involved in dialogue and negotiations, conducted at the civil society level, with representatives of all sides of the conflict. Since 2007 Kartlosi has been involved into the Georgian-Ossetian Civil Forum with participating NGOs from Tskhinvali and NGOs of IDPs from Tskhinvali region (5 participants from each side). The dialogue was facilitated with the support of Dutch NGO IKV Pax Christi until 2011.

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Kartlosi staff have participated in numerous meetings and training seminars with Ossetian civil society representatives in different countries (including Turkey, the Netherlands, Italy, and Armenia). The main aim of this dialogue process is to keep open communication channels between people and discuss ideas and possible joint projects on how civil society actors should cooperate with each other and how they can work on peace and confidence building processes, step by step.

Youth projects

A project currently underway is “Empowering engagement of local youth on the regional level in Georgia”. Young people from the Shida Kartli 4 municipalities (Kaspi, Gori, Kareli and Khashuri )and those who come from conflict-affected regions, including those who live on the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL), are working with Kartlosi to identify and document problems faced by communities who live in villages on the ABL. The volunteers assist with researching areas of concern and lobbying local government.

The Other Image of War

In this book project, a collection of stories from the 2008 conflict aimed to bring to the fore some exceptional examples of human behaviour demonstrated by Georgians and Ossetians at that time. The stories were collected by Kartlosi and were published with assistance of COBERM, a joint mechanism established by the European Union and managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for building confidence across conflict-divided societies.

Kartlosi News magazine

Working in close cooperation with partners in Tskhinvali, Kartlosi produces and distributes a newspaper that aims to contribute to the formation of positive informational space and the development of inter-community dialogue between Georgian and Ossetian communities. The newspaper is distributed free of charge in settlements of Georgians and Ossetians (and mixed families) on the territory of Georgia including IDP settlements from the Tskhinvali region. The Russian version of newspaper is sent to Tskhinvali, Akhalgori and Vladikavkaz. The newspaper covers different aspects of Georgian-Ossetian relations, and Georgian and Ossetian communities. The newspaper also covers some other activities which Kartlosi covers. For example: youth self-government project and advocacy with local municipalities, charity actions, empowering regional youth in local level and articles from the ABL villages.

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Kartlosi internet TV

Kartlosi is very active on social media, and document their work in local communities as a way to record the testimonies of people affected by the conflict and to use social media as a tool to lobby local government for change.

Mediation Centre

Co-founded in 2011 by Kartlosi founder and director Megi Bibiluri, the Mediation Centre exists to improve the qualification of mediators, and provide mediation services. The Mediation Centre aims to create an enabling environment to achieve its goals based upon the core values of peace, social justice, partnership, solidarity, cooperation, innovation and other important ethnic mediation aspects.

School of Debates

This project, (started on 2013 and concluded in 2014), was jointly run by Kartlosi and the Polish Civil Development Fund for 6 Georgian schools. The participants were diverse, coming from ethnic minorities and IDPs from Georgia’s conflict zones. The aim was to encourage the culture of debate as a civil way to solve problems, and to develop pupils’ skills in critical thinking, effective communication and teamwork in school life so as to improve the effectiveness of pupil self-governance at school. The project implemented the following activities: training, seminars, study visits to other schools, meetings with experts, conducting research and identifying problems at school, which were then put in practice in the debates.

Last updated: November 2016