Friday, March 30, 2012

CB 2011 Preview | Attitudes towards IDPs in Georgia

The presence of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) within Georgia is testimony to its internal and cross-border conflicts. IDPs often face a life in limbo, unable to return to their homes and reliant on friends, family and the generosity of strangers to get by. To address this issue, and also in fulfillment of obligations to the Council of Europe, Georgia has developed policies on the integration and rehabilitation of IDPs.

As of January 2011, UNHCR-Georgia estimates that approximately 359,716 IDPs continue to live in Georgia proper. Preliminary survey results from the 2011 Caucasus Barometer show that Georgian attitudes towards IDPs are generally positive. More than half of Georgians support government assistance for IDPs, and view IDPs as part of Georgian society.

Results indicate that Georgians would like to see an increase in government assistance. 57% of Georgians say that the current level of assistance is not enough, while 18% claim it is. 22% of Georgians do not know if the current level of government assistance is meeting the needs of IDPs and only 2% consider the current policy of assistance to be excessive.

The survey refers to all IDPs in Georgia, not only those from Abkhazia or the Tskhinvali region of South Ossetia.

Over half of Georgians (61%) consider IDPs to be part of Georgian society. In addition 53% of Georgians disagree with the statement that, “IDPs are different from Georgia’s society”.

Data was recoded from a 5 to 3 point scale and the scale was reversed.The original scale comprised of strongly disagree=1, somewhat disagree=2, neutral=3, somewhat agree=4 and strongly agree=5.

On the whole, results indicate that Georgian attitudes towards IDPs are supportive. For those with further interest in the question, various crosstabulations should be of interest once the dataset is released. Also, click here for previous research CRRC has done on this topic.

This is only a quick preview of the results from the 2011 Caucasus Barometer, keep checking back for more information and the upcoming release of our results on ODA!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Blood Donation in Georgia: Obstacles and Opportunities

According to a report by the World Health Organization, blood donations in Georgia fall below the estimated need for patients. Approximately 60,000 donations are necessary per year to cover Georgian patients’ needs, while the number of actual blood donation does not exceed 37,000. Moreover, 95% of blood donations come from paid donors. The main obstacle in advocating volunteer blood donation is due in part to the fact that being paid to donate blood is deeply rooted in public perceptions and volunteer blood donors get little support from Georgian society. This blog looks at the obstacles and opportunities for fostering volunteer blood donation and shows that over half of the Georgian population disagrees with the statement that “people donating blood should be paid”, and that lack of awareness remains a deterrent.

According to the Caucasus Barometer 2011, about 80% of Georgians have never donated blood and 61% have not seen or heard anything about donating blood during the last two years. 57% do not personally know anyone who has donated blood in the last 10 years. Yet according to the same data, 61% of Georgians disagree with the statement that “people donating blood should be paid” (only 22% agree). If, as the data shows, over half of the Georgian population is against paid blood donations, what obstacles prevent the establishment a good practice of blood donation in Georgia? To explore the potential reasons behind this finding, CRRC asked Georgians why they have never donated blood.

Source: Caucasus Barometer, 2011

The data shows that 20% of Georgians cannot state an exact reason for not donating blood. A promising 9% say they do not know where to go and only 4% say that they do not like the idea of donating blood. 20% think that not being in good health or doctors’ advice against blood donation is the main reason why they have never donated blood, while 8% are afraid of possible infection, and 7% of Georgians indicate a fear of needles.

In another survey on Volunteerism and Civic Participation in 2011, CRRC asked Georgians what they thought were the main reasons why people do not donate blood. The answer options are different here, but still reflect the difference between what people mention as their own reason for not donating blood and their perceptions of others’ reasons for the same behaviour. Namely, 17% say people are preoccupied with their own problems. While talking about themselves only, 6% say they do not have time to donate blood. Similarly, 10% of Georgians think that being indifferent towards the problems of others is the main reason for people not donating blood – an answer which is less likely to be mentioned when people talk about themselves.

Source: Survey on Volunteerism and Civic Participation, 2011

As the chart shows, 30% of Georgians are unsure about the reasons why people do not donate blood in Georgia. 15% mention being afraid of infections as a reason for not donating blood, reflecting a concern related to blood safety standards that exists in Georgian society and prevents some people from donating blood.

Lack of awareness seems to be another factor explaining the low level of volunteer blood donors in Georgia. 6% of Georgians think people find donating blood as unnecessary. 5% say people do not know where to go in order to donate blood and 4% think people do not know that they can donate blood at all. In total 15% of Georgians think having no information is the main reason why people do not donate blood. These results indicate that there is room for awareness-raising campaigns. Filling the information gap can be an important step to promoting volunteer blood donation in the country.

Finally, Georgians were asked how possible it is that they donate blood in the next 12 months. 38% of Georgians are unsure, 21% think it will never happen and a promising 11% say it is highly expected. CRRC data indicates that this 11% can be increased by improving blood safety standards and raising public awareness about the importance of blood donation, as well as about blood banks already operating in Georgia.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Brookings Event - Internally Displaced Persons and Host Communities: The Limits of Hospitality?

...all of this straight from the Brookings website, an event that one of our colleagues, Yulia Aliyeva, will contribute to this week:

Most of the world's 27 million people who have been internally displaced by conflict do not live in camps; rather they live with family members or friends or are dispersed within communities. One frequently overlooked aspect of displacement is the impact of internally displaced persons (IDPs) on the communities which host them—communities which are often poor and marginalized themselves. 
On March 22, the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement and the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) will host a discussion of two recent reports on IDP and host community relations: "Can You Be an IDP for Twenty Years? A Comparative Field Study on the Protection Needs and Attitudes Toward Displacement Among IDPs and Host Communities in Azerbaijan" and "The Effects of Internal Displacement on Host Communities: A Case Study of Suba and Ciudad Bolívar Localities in Bogotá, Colombia." 
Here a program snapshot: 

The event is at The Brookings Institution, Saul/Zilkha Rooms, 1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC: Thursday, March 22, 2012, 12:00 — 1:30 pm.
Here is the link to the event. And here, as previously posted in our e-bulletin, is the link to the report.

Perceptions of Good Citizenship in Georgia

What do Georgians consider good citizenship to mean? The issue of good citizenship is important, especially because of Georgia’s expressed democratic aspirations. This blog looks at how Georgians perceive their responsibilities as citizens and how their attitudes towards good citizenship have changed in the past two years. The results indicate that mass attitudes and beliefs are gradually changing and that now, compared to 2009, Georgians take a more active view of citizens’ responsibilities.

Modern theories of democracy put a special emphasis on mass values and beliefs as a main force for achieving democracy (See Inglehart and Welzel, 2010 for a summary of modern theories on democracy). Several scholars (Lipset 1959, Deutsch 1961) have argued that citizens and their attitudes play a crucial role in bringing about and sustaining democracy. 

In 2009 and 2011 CRRC conducted a survey in Georgia entitled, “Knowledge and Attitudes toward the EU in Georgia”. Georgians were asked to consider the level of importance of certain activities or values in order to be a good citizen. The data shows that a majority of Georgians think supporting people who are worse off than themselves is one of the most important responsibilities of a good citizen. Paying taxes, protecting traditions, and obeying laws are also considered to be important by the vast majority of Georgians. Moreover, the importance of supporting the poor, protecting traditions and obeying laws has remained almost unchanged in the past two years. 

Note: Respondents were asked, “To be a good citizen, how important would you say it is for a person to...?” The answer options shown in this figure were collapsed into two categories (important and not important) from “not important at all, rather not important than important, rather important than unimportant and very important”.

In contrast, the importance of civic and political participation has notably increased from 2009 to 2011. Voting in elections—an issue closely related to democratization—gained more importance for Georgians in 2011 (92%) than in 2009 (86%). The shift from a passive to more active view of citizens’ responsibilities is further confirmed by the following results.

Since 2009, there has been an increase in the percentage of Georgians who think that forming their own opinions independently of others, being critical towards the government, and working as a volunteer are important for good citizenship. In addition, the number of people who think that participation in protests is important for a good citizen nearly doubled in 2011. These results indicate that mass values and beliefs are gradually changing in Georgia. 

There is a difference between the first and second group of activities in terms of the effort they require from citizens. Protecting traditions and obeying laws are consistently considered important to be a good citizen by the majority of Georgians; however, attitudes towards certain forms of political participation and criticism are changing over time. Yet, helping the poor, obeying rules and protecting traditions are not sufficient to sustain democracy, especially without a certain level of political participation and criticism. Thus, it will be interesting to see how values and attitudes towards the characteristics of good citizenship continue to change, and if they influence democratization in Georgia—a country which has also been influenced by its Soviet past. 

If you are interested in finding out more about Georgians’ attitudes towards EU Institutions or democratic values, you can access the survey’s associated report here. Moreover, both datasets are free and available online at the link above. You are also invited to explore the dataset on CRRC’s fun Online Data Analysis tool.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Georgia and the EU’s Economic Woes

Why hasn’t the economic crisis in Europe deterred Georgia’s desire to join the European Union? The majority of Georgians (and the Georgian government) want to join the EU despite crisis in the Eurozone. Yet, the continued crisis, including the Eurogroup’s recent (and second) rescue of Greece’s economy and Hungary’s harsh austerity measures, illustrates that the crisis is not isolated to the Eurozone. Thus, for EU-aspiring states such as Georgia--which also operates under the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) framework--the crisis presents a growing concern over the security of the Eurozone, as well as the overall health of EU integration. Despite these economic problems, Georgians remain overwhelmingly positive about the future of EU integration. This is because not only do Georgians have high expectations that economic conditions would improve in the country, but that territorial integrity and national security would significantly increase upon joining the union.

Map courtesy of

A 2011 CRRC survey (and its associated report) entitled “Knowledge and Attitudes towards the EU in Georgia” show that support for EU membership has increased from 81% in 2009 to 88% in 2011. The report also presents an analysis of Georgians’ perceptions towards EU integration and shows that the desire for EU membership is partially tied to a desire for strengthened national security, territorial integrity and economic improvement. According to the survey, the top three most important issues facing Georgia are unemployment/jobs (58%), territorial integrity (42%) and poverty (31%).

Respondents were asked to indicate what they considered to be the three most important issues facing Georgia at the moment. The 2011 survey on Knowledge and Attitudes towards the EU in Georgia also had a target population of adult speakers of the Georgian language. See the report for information on the methodology used for this survey.

When asked, “How will the following issues change if Georgia becomes an EU member?” 59% of Georgians say national security would increase and 58% feel territorial integrity would improve. Just over half (56%) of Georgians anticipate that the number of available jobs would increase, and 48% of Georgians think poverty would decrease.

The data also shows that 40% of Georgians think the EU currently provides Georgia with financial support, while 15% say that the union provides solutions to social problems, and 10% believe the union helps Georgia to develop relations with Russia. 35% of Georgians think that the EU will help restore territorial integrity, thereby addressing one of the issues that many Georgians consider most important.

Many EU candidate (or potential candidate) countries see the current economic crisis as a warning of the risks associated with full European economic integration. Indeed, economic stability (e.g., jobs) is also a concern for many Georgians. However, Georgian motivations for membership are somewhat sated with the knowledge that EU membership could strengthen national security and territorial integrity even if membership may not provide a solution to the current economic woes facing the country.

Georgia Corruption Data | Now Available

Recently, a nuanced article in an Indian magazine discussed "How Georgia Did It" to get rid of corruption. This has, of course, been a topic of extensive debate in India. It's good to see that lessons are being drawn from the Georgian case, and that they travel beyond the immediate neighborhood.

The article cites a broad number of participants in the reforms, quotes Transparency International, and also refers to CRRC's research on Judicial Independence. Find the link to the article here.

On the theme of battling corruption, CRRC recently contributed some data analysis to a World Bank report that summarizes the Georgian lessons in the following way:
"From the case studies, 10 factors emerge that help explain Georgia's achievements to date: exercising strong political will; establishing credibility early; launching a frontal assault; attracting new staff; limiting the state's role; adopting unconventional methods; coordinating closely; tailoring international experience to local conditions; harnessing technology; and using communications strategically. While many of these factors may seem obvious, the comprehensiveness, boldness, pace, and sequencing of the reforms make Georgia's story unique."
Comparatively little data was cited in the report (link is here), but our Caucasus Barometer data certainly corroborates that there are huge regional differences.

To give good access to our data, we have now made a collection available on our website – more than 80 pages of tables, that offer a comprehensive overview over the years. This includes data from CRRC and other organizations, and thus should be a useful resource. To access this data collection, please click here. 

Comments? Let us know.

Friday, March 02, 2012

ETF Migration Survey in Armenia | Update

For the last few months, CRRC Armenia has been doing a survey for the European Training Foundation (ETF).  This is a major undertaking, with 4.000 respondents, and a specialized sampling procedure (basic details here). We are looking forward to getting the results. Now, the effort has been covered by the ETF website, in an article that shows some of the human dimensions of migration, and its various dimensions.

Within that article, there is a short reference to our ongoing work.

In early March 2012, Heghine Manasyan, the Country Director at CRRC Armenia, will be presenting the preliminary results of that survey at a conference in Turin (program). Keep following the blog, we will let you know once the survey results are available. (Of course, much additional CRRC migration research materials is also available, most of it linked through this blog.)

You find the ETF article here.