Friday, June 29, 2012

Exploring Neighbourhoods in Georgia: Promises and Challenges for Collaboration

In 2011 CRRC conducted a survey on Volunteering and Civic Participation in Georgia. A part of this survey aimed at exploring relationships between neighbours. The results indicate that the relationships between neighbours in Georgia can be a promising starting point for building social capital and achieving improved housing conditions through collaboration. The data show that just over a third of adults in Georgia are familiar with more than ten families in their neighbourhoods and most Georgians interact with their neighbours every day. A considerable amount of Georgians also report being involved in organized activities in which the person who takes on the role of mobilizer is usually respected by others. One challenge identified by this research is a lack of communication between neighbours regarding common problems and concerns. 

The data from the civic participation and volunteerism survey suggest that Georgians not only know many families in their neighbourhood but also maintain frequent contact with them; half of Georgians know all families in their neighbourhood and 37% know more than ten families. Only 12% of Georgians say they know less than 10 families in their neighbourhood. CRRC also asked Georgians about how often they talk to their neighbours. As it turned out, 78% talk to their neighbours every day and 18% at least once a week. However, in spite of frequent conversations, common problems are less discussed among neighbours which may prevent collaboration to fix important problems in their neighbourhood. The data show that only 15% always discuss common problems with their neighbours and 29% never do so. 

CRRC data also show that there is some degree of collaboration between neighbours in terms of cleaning common space. 71% of Georgians say that common space in their neighbourhood gets regularly cleaned and 78% say this is done by neighbours either collectively or on a rotating basis. This collaboration is a promising practice that has the potential to expand into other aspects of housing, such as improving the appearance of houses and yards in Georgia.  

Note: This question was asked to 71% of respondents who said that common space in their neighbourhood gets regularly cleaned.

How exactly does such collaboration work in Georgian neighbourhoods? Just over half of Georgians (52%) say there is a person in their neighbourhood who will organize people or solve a problem him/herself. Moreover, in about half of the cases (56%) this person is elected by other neighbours to handle neighbourhood problems. Most importantly, Georgians have a positive attitude towards these community organizers. Out of the 52% of Georgians who indicate that such a person exists, 81% of them say the majority of neighbours have a positive attitude towards this neighbour. 17% say that they have a neutral attitude towards this neighbour and only 1% thinks that the majority of neighbours have a negative attitude towards this person. 

The survey also asked Georgians about their attitude towards people who collect money in their neighbourhood to fix problems. 77% of Georgians respect these people because they spend energy to solve problems which concern everyone. In contrast, only 3% of Georgians say that they are suspicious of people who collect money in their neighbourhood because they make a profit out of it. 

Neighbours who collaborate are more likely to keep their houses and yards in good repair. This post has showed that many Georgian neighbourhoods have quite close-knit groups with a potential for improved collaboration. While lack of communication about problems that affect everyone remains a hindrance to collaboration, CRRC data suggest that those who take the initiative to organize and help in solving common problems are respected by others.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 | Far from Workable for Finding Statistical Expertise!

So here's a theory: with so many skills available, how about finding expertise online? This is one of the ideas behind, and we tried it out. certainly advertises themselves in a big way: supposedly the largest outsourcing platform worldwide, with more than 1 million projects completed, connecting more than 3 million freelancers and employers. We had some data analysis that we wanted to farm out, and the hope was that the right people might be anywhere, after all why not match an experienced survey statistician in, say, Uganda with CRRC in the Caucasus?

It seems like an exciting possibility. So does work for statistical expertise?

Unfortunately, runs far below expectations. (This is a polite way of saying that the system is dysfunctional for anyone with advanced needs.) The website is clunky, hard to maneuver, stitched together on the fly, probably useful for the most basic transactions, but not for more sophisticated transactions. It's also dreadfully slow.

As for the quality of the bids on, we received two good ones, among the 23 bids. But the majority are people who plainly shouldn't be bidding, since they have no clue what they're writing about. This creates extra work, as you sort through things. Unfortunately the system for evaluating these bids is not good – remarks that you enter disappear, and while there is all sorts of supposed snazzyness to the left and the right on your screen, it really seems as if no one has done any usability tests. You run around in circles. If Freelancer had intended to set up a system to make it deliberately difficult to choose, they would have done a splendid job. does have support, but it doesn't work for you. Several times I received no response. When persisting (because I wanted access to deliverables I had set), I was told to wait "around 2 minutes", and more than 15 min. later I still hadn't heard back (see below). I then was instructed to read their FAQs on issues even though clearly the website didn't work. 50 minutes later I was still online with support giving me intermittent attention, still trying to find a fix for a very basic problem. And in the end, when they couldn't fix the problem – they just threw me out of their support line and terminated the conversation.

Overall, a deeply frustrating process with, taking me hours of time. They also have a hefty fee structure, so that even projects that don't succeed end up costing you quite a bit -- may be worth thinking about, and they mentioned they have 3 million employers and freelancers signed up, but less than half of that as completed projects.

If there isn't a better way of finding statistical expertise, the market in the foreseeable future will remain local, and running through personal connections and networks. If anyone knows of a better system of finding statistical experts out there, please let us know.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Gender Attitudes in Azerbaijan

In February 2012, CRRC conducted a survey entitled “Social Capital, Media and Gender in Azerbaijan”, which was funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). People were asked about gender roles, division of labor and participation of men and women in domestic and public life. The results show that most Azerbaijanis express traditional attitudes.

According to the survey data, over half (67%) of the Azerbaijani population considers the main task of a woman to take care of the home and cook for her family. Moreover, 57% agree to the statement that being a housewife is just as fulfilling as working for pay, and 61% think the children suffer when a mother works for pay.


With regard to the division of labor within the household, 85% of Azerbaijanis think that changing diapers, giving kids a bath and feeding children are the mother’s responsibility. When asked about what tasks they were taught when they were children or teenagers, 96% of Azerbaijani women mentioned routine domestic chores such as cooking and cleaning (32% of men said the same). In contrast, 74% of the men said they were taught how to fix home appliances (21% of women said the same). Thus, the data indicates that the attitudes about gender roles as well as the actual behavior within the family are rather traditional in Azerbaijan.

The survey results show that there is an unequal level of participation between men and women in public sphere. There is generally less female involvement. 63% of the Azerbaijani population said that on the whole men make better business executives and political leaders than women do. Furthermore, 58% agree to the statement that men should have more right to a job than women when jobs are scarce. Nevertheless, 83% of the Azerbaijanis say they would vote for a woman candidate in the next parliamentary elections (all things being equal), and 59% think that the current number of women members of the parliament (19 out of 125) is too few. This reveals that the Azerbaijani population is not generally disinclined to have women in important positions, yet men are still more represented in politics and the labor market.

Surprisingly, just over half of the population thinks that gender equality in Azerbaijan has already been achieved for the most part. However, women are less likely to agree to this statement (45%) than men (59%).

In summary, CRRC data indicates that traditional gender roles persist in Azerbaijan. The findings show that the population’s attitudes towards gender equality are a bit ambiguous. Many people express traditional attitudes about gender roles, division of labor and participation of men and women in domestic and public life. Yet, much of the population also thinks gender equality has already been mostly achieved. This indicates that the perception of gender equality differs from the actual distribution of gender roles.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Georgia: A Liberal or Socially Conservative Country?

How justified is it for Georgian women to bear a child or have sex outside of wedlock? Is the Georgian population tolerant towards homosexuals? What are views on issues such as these in the light of the western-oriented political course of the country? How do men and women compare in terms of liberal attitudes? To address these questions, this blog post presents the results from two waves of a nationwide public opinion survey entitled “Knowledge and Attitudes toward the EU in Georgia” conducted by CRRC in 2009 and 2011. The data indicates that attitudes towards women having sex or bearing a child without being married have slightly changed in a more liberal way over the past two years, yet social conservatism remains deeply rooted in Georgia. Georgians remain generally unaccepting of homosexuality. Also, Georgian women seem to have more conservative attitudes towards particular issues than men.

Social values are quite static and two years is a very short period to speak about value changes. Yet the data still suggests some interesting trends indicating that certain values related to women having sex or bearing a child without marriage are slightly changing in a more liberal way, while other attitudes such as tolerance of homosexuality remain unchanged. CRRC data shows that 50%-64% of Georgians think that it is never justified for an unmarried woman to bear a child or have sex. Also, vast majority of Georgians think homosexuality is never justified.

As the chart shows, the number of Georgians who think that it is always or sometimes justified for a woman to give birth without being married has increased from 30% to 42%, while the number of people who think it is always or sometimes justified for a woman to have sex before marriage has increased from 15% to 28%. When the same question was asked about men in 2011, over half (57%) of the population said that it is always or sometimes justified for man to have sex before marriage. These results suggest that to some, men having sex before marriage is more justifiable in Georgia than woman doing the same. These slight changes within the past 2 years cannot be generalized to the entire range of social questions asked in the survey.  For example, 90% of Georgians think that homosexuality can never be justified and this result has remains unchanged since 2009. This is one indicator that social conservatism is still deeply rooted in Georgia.

Examining the data by gender shows that Georgian men and women equally condemn homosexuality and their attitudes related to woman bearing a child without marriage are also similar. However, there are some differences in values related to people having sex before marriage by gender. 

The data indicates that having sex before marriage is more justifiable for men than for women. 33% of Georgian men think that is always justified for a man to have sex before marriage, while this share decreases to 18% for women to do the same. However, it is also worth noting that 25% of Georgian men say that a man having sex before marriage can never be justified.

When asked about women having sex before marriage 57% of Georgian men think this is never justified and 70% of Georgian women say the same. Thus, Georgian women are even more conservative on this question. Moreover, over half (51%) of Georgian women agree that is always or sometimes (percentages added) justified for a man to have sex before marriage, while only 25% think that this can be justifiable for a woman as well.

The results suggest that even though there is a slight shift towards liberal values concerning women bearing a child or having sex without marriage, social conservatism still prevails. Tolerance of homosexuality remains extremely low over the past two years. Exploring the data by gender shows that while men and women share similar values and attitudes towards certain issues such as homosexuality and woman bearing a child without marriage, Georgian women have more conservative attitudes towards having sex before marriage than men.

The questions discussed in this blog post can be considered sensitive in Georgian society. Yet, these results are a good starting point for a healthy discussion on these issues. Feel free to share your thoughts with us and find out more on this topic via CRRC’s Online Data Analysis tool.