Monday, April 27, 2015

NGOs and the Georgian public's expectations

The so-called third sector which consists largely of non-governmental organizations is diverse in Georgia, with organizations focusing on issues ranging from LGBT rights to political party development. To what extent these issues match up with the “demand” of the population though is still an open question. This blog post provides a snapshot of which issues Georgians think NGOs actually address and compares it with what Georgians think NGOs should be doing more of. Ultimately this provides an approximation of the “perceived supply” and “perceived demand” for NGO services in Georgia from the population’s perspective.

In the 2014 Volunteering and civic participation survey funded by USAID and conducted by CRRC-Georgia, Georgians were asked, “In your opinion, what issues do the NGOs in Georgia address most frequently?” and “What issues would you like to see NGOs addressing more often?”  Georgians reported that NGOs most frequently address elections, healthcare and/or social assistance, minority rights, and media and freedom of speech. Significantly, the second most common response to the first question was “don’t know” (22%). This supports the findings in a previous blog post, according to which a large share of the Georgian public fails to correctly identify organizations as NGOs or non-NGOs.

In contrast, Georgians most often mention “increasing prices, poverty or unemployment” as  issues which, in their opinion, NGOs should address more often. They also think that NGOs should focus much more on healthcare/social assistance and education, even though they believe that NGOs already work on these issues to a certain extent.

Note: The results do not add up to 100% as respondents were allowed to select up to three answers to each question from a show card. 

The gap between what Georgians think NGOs should be doing more often and what they think NGOs actually do is apparent in a number of important areas. While the population most commonly believes that NGOs work on election issues, only 5% want them to work more in this field. The greatest gap between what Georgians think NGOs are doing and what they think they should be doing more of is on issues related to increasing prices, poverty or unemployment. While NGOs may not be the right agents to affect change on the economy, policy issues aside, this expectation coincides generally with what Georgians consistently report to be the greatest problems in the country – unemployment and poverty. Answers “Healthcare and social assistance” and “Education” come in next with the greatest gaps between what the population perceives NGOs are doing and what they think NGOs should be doing.

Note: Only gaps that are larger than 10% are shown. 

What accounts for these gaps? The fact that NGOs and their activities are frequently funded by donors rather than the general public in Georgia may explain some of the discrepancies. While donor priorities often coincide with what the population demands, this is not always the case and hence, NGOs may address particular issue(s) that donors believe to be important, but which the population may be unaware of or uninterested in.

A second factor which could contribute to these gaps is the communication strategies of NGOs. As noted in a prior blog post, a large share of the population is not well informed about NGOs. This likely implies that information on what NGOs are working on does not reach the general public. Hence, there may be a number of NGOs working on poverty, healthcare, or education, but compared to those working on elections and minority rights, their communications are less effective.

A third potential factor, which is closely related to the second, is the role of the mass media. The two issues which Georgians are most likely to think are covered by NGOs, elections and minority rights, consistently receive concentrated media attention, clustered around specific events. The 2012, 2013, and 2014 elections and the May 17, 2013 IDAHOT demonstration come to mind in this regard.

What other issues do you think are at play when thinking about what NGOs are working on and where their efforts should be directed? Join in the conversation on Facebook or in the comments section below.

Monday, April 20, 2015

In the know about NGOs in Georgia

The civil society sector in Georgia is populated by a wide diversity of actors from national chapters of well-known international NGOs like Transparency International – Georgia to local NGOs such as the Civil Society Institute. With this great diversity of voices in the sector, and in light of Bidzina Ivanishvili’s recent announcement that he intends to investigate the heads of a number of NGOs, it is interesting to look at the knowledge that the population of Georgia has about NGOs. This blog post looks at how well people can identify whether an organization is an NGO or not, based on CRRC-Georgia’s 2014 Survey on Volunteerism and Civic Participation, funded by USAID. In this survey, respondents were asked, “I will now name several organizations you may know. Please tell me which of these, in your opinion, is an NGO, and which is not,” and a list of 15 organizations, some NGOs, some state agencies, and some commercial enterprises, was read to them. Answer options for each organization included NGO, not an NGO, never heard [of the organization], don’t know, and refuse to answer.

One of the most prominent findings is that a large share of the Georgian population reports not knowing whether the majority of organizations asked about are NGOs or not. Of 2140 respondents, 151 responded “Don’t know” in respect to every organization, which, when weighted, corresponds to almost 6% of the population. For individual organizations, “Don’t know” responses varied from 11% (Parliament of Georgia) to 40% (Open Society Georgia Foundation).

Note: In the chart above, NGOs are marked with an asterisk (*).

The following chart shows the share of those who have correctly identified whether an organization was or was not an NGO. Unsurprisingly, 85% of the population is aware that the Parliament of Georgia is not an NGO, but still, 15% failed to provide a correct answer. The Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) was the second most correctly identified organization (also meaning that it is probably the most widely recognized NGO in Georgia). GYLA aside, other NGOs were correctly identified by between 30% (Identoba) and 47% (Liberty Institute) of the population. Georgians were least likely to know that USAID and British Petroleum are not NGOs.

This section of the survey had one trick question. The organization “Association of Unemployed People” does not actually exist in Georgia and was included in the list of 15 organizations to check how thoughtfully the respondents were answering the questions. The correct response in respect to this organization was “Never heard of,” and only 31% of Georgians responded so. About a third reported that it was either an NGO or not an NGO, and 36% responded “Don’t know,” a somewhat more correct answer.

Still, Georgians quite often know – and admit – that they do not know whether an organization is an NGO or not. In order to gain a better understanding of Georgians’ knowledge of NGOs, a scale was generated for this blog post based on the 15 questions discussed above. The scale ranges from -15 to 15, with -15 being an incorrect response to each of the 15 questions (equivalent to total absence of knowledge or totally inaccurate knowledge) and 15 being a correct response to every question (equivalent to very good knowledge). “Don’t know,” “Refuse to answer” and “Never heard of” responses were coded as 0, since respondents presumably were reporting accurately that they did not know or had never heard of an organization. In the case of the (non-existent) Association of Unemployed People mentioned above, the answer “never heard of” was coded as a correct response, while both “NGO” and “not an NGO” were coded as incorrect responses.

The results are positive in that, generally, while Georgians do not necessarily know a great deal about whether an organization is or is not an NGO, they do know that they don’t know this, and report accordingly. Overall, Georgians reported more correct answers than incorrect ones. The highest score on the scale was 15 (4 respondents in total) and the lowest was -8 (1 respondent), with an average score of 4.6. Approximately 4% of the population scored below 0 (meaning that their knowledge is extremely poor, even though they may think otherwise), 12% scored 0 (meaning that they report not knowing about NGOs, but are not necessarily misinformed), and 84% scored 1 or above.

Considering the above, the question who knows more and who knows less about NGOs comes to the fore. One difference that appears when looking at average scores is that those with some higher education know more about NGOs than those with either secondary technical education or secondary or lower education.

Note: The confidence intervals for the above averages are very small (with the upper and lower bounds varying from the average by <0.01), and hence are not displayed.

Age is another interesting characteristic which shows some difference between groups, although the differences by age are smaller than those by education. The most knowledgeable age group is those between the ages of 36 and 55 (average score 5.03), while the least knowledgeable age group includes those 56 years old and older (average score 4.05). The youngest age group (18-35 year olds) scores between the two, with an average score of 4.61.

This blog post has looked at knowledge of NGOs in the Georgian population. While many Georgians do not know if a large number of organizations are or are not NGOs, many also recognize this fact by saying that they have either never heard of or do not know if an institution is or is not an NGO. Moreover, more Georgians identified organizations correctly, rather than incorrectly. Those with at least some tertiary education score higher on average than those with secondary technical education, and those with secondary education or lower score the lowest.

To explore the data in greater depth, take a look at the 2014 Volunteerism and Civic Education survey on the Online Data Analysis tool.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The political climate in Georgia, 2012-2014: Increased nihilism or room for new political actors?

In October 2012, the Georgian Dream Coalition (GDC) obtained 54.97% of the party list vote, winning the majority of seats in Parliamentary elections. The United National Movement (UNM), then the ruling party, moved into the opposition with 40.34% of the vote. This was the first occurrence since Georgia’s independence when there was a peaceful, electoral handover of power. Two and a half years have passed, and the next parliamentary elections are on the way, planned to be held in 2016. While the two major parties continue to compete on the political arena to sustain and obtain voters’ support, survey data on political attitudes shows that there may be room for new political actors. This blog post describes the dynamics of attitudes towards GDC and UNM from November 2012 through August 2014 using survey data from the National Democratic Institute (NDI). The data is nationally representative of the adult (18+) Georgian-speaking population in Georgia.

Support for the United National Movement, measured indirectly by the answers to the question, “Which party is closest to you?” has been stable since November of 2012 when 10% of the population named the UNM as their first choice while answering this question. This share has not changed much since. About 30% reported in November 2012 liking two of the UNM leaders, Mikheil Saakashvili and Gigi Ugulava, and these numbers have also not changed much since. Vano Merabishvili’s rating declined from 28% in November 2012 to 17% in June 2013 and has remained at this level since. Giga Bokeria has been one of the least liked UNM politicians for the last two years, while Davit Bakradze has been the most liked.

Note: Only “Like” responses are shown on the chart. 

Unlike the UNM, GDC’s support fluctuated during this period. In November 2012, 63% named GDC as their first choice when asked about the party closest to them. This rating started decreasing in the following months, but went up again in November 2013. In April 2014, there was a larger drop in support for the GDC, when 42% named GDC as their first choice.
Similar to party support, most GDC leaders’ ratings were over 60% in November 2012. In the beginning of 2013, these numbers started to decline, and dropped even more in August 2014. In 2012 and 2013, Bidzina Ivanishvili was the most liked GDC leader, though in 2014 the share of people who reported they liked Ivanishvili decreased. In August 2014, Irakli Alasania was the most liked GDC leader, followed by Irakli Gharibashvili and Davit Usupashvili.

Note: Only ’Like’ responses are shown on the chart. This question was not asked about Irakli Alasania, Irakli Gharibashili and Kakha Kaladze until November 2013.

Unsurprisingly, the data also shows that support for the United National Movement and Georgian Dream Coalition closely resembles the public’s assessment of their respective performances. The share of people reporting that the UNM was performing well was 14% in November 2012 and has not changed much since. As for the Georgian Dream Coalition, the respective share was 65% in November 2012, and after consistent downward movement (with the sole exception of November 2013) it reached 23% in August 2014.

Another visible trend concerns the share of those who answered “no party”, “don’t know” or “refuse to answer” when asked about the party closest to them. An increasing share of people have reported that no existing political party is closest to them, rising from 5% in November 2012 to 30% in August 2014. About one fifth of the population answered either “don’t know” or “refuse to answer” to this question in November 2012, and by August 2014, this share dropped to 8%.

Thus, though support for the UNM has remained stable, albeit at a low level, support for GDC has shown a downward trend. Since November 2012, fewer people have evaded answering the question about the party closest to them, and more reported there is no such party. Could these findings mean that there is a space for new parties in the Georgian political arena, or do they indicate increased political nihilism? Share your thoughts in the comments section or on our Facebook page here.

More data from NDI public opinion surveys and detailed information about the methodology are available here.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Gender roles in Azerbaijan: A cross-generational continuum

While the choice of pink versus blue has come to symbolize how parents and other adults establish a gendered order throughout youngsters’ childhood, the construction of gender roles dynamically accompanies people throughout their life. It starts from early childhood with how children are supposed to play, dress, talk and, most importantly, how they are supposed to act, what competences they are supposed to develop, and what they are encouraged to do as adults. Thus, children’s potentials are largely defined by societies according to their gender – which is a priori defined by their sex. This comes to define not only what men and women “should do”, but also what they can and cannot do. CRRC-Azerbaijan’s 2012 Social Capital, Media and Gender Survey in Azerbaijan, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), provides the opportunity to explore this normative dimension of gender roles and its promotion from childhood through adulthood in Azerbaijan.

Tracing gender role construction during childhood is an ambitious aim for a blog post, but nevertheless some basic insights can be discussed while looking at the answers to the questions “When you were a child or teenager, were you taught how to cook // clean the house // clean the bathroom/toilet // fix home appliances // do laundry // drive a car // do shopping for groceries // care for younger siblings?” From the chart below it is clear that as children, people were taught how to perform different tasks in accordance to their gender. Thus, females were taught how to cook, clean the house and the bathroom/toilet as well as do laundry much more frequently than males. Males were predominantly taught how to drive a car and how to fix home appliances. In almost all of these cases, the difference between males’ and females’ answers is greater than 50%.

Note: Options “Do not know” and “Refuse to answer” are excluded from the analysis throughout this blog post.

One might wonder if there are any generational differences in what children in Azerbaijan were taught to do in different decades and, thus, what duties and activities different generations were expected to perform. In other words, did people of different ages report learning different tasks during their childhood? As is clear from the next chart, different age groups did not report differences in the nature of tasks they were taught to perform as children or teenagers. Although one might expect the gendered character of taught activities to be less visible in younger generations, the data does not support this supposition.

In order to have a clear picture of what children of different generations were taught in Azerbaijan, the predominantly female-taught activities such as cooking, cleaning the house, cleaning the bathroom/toilet and doing laundry were combined into ‘taught to do housework,’ while predominantly male-taught activities such as drive a car and fix home appliances were combined into ‘taught how to drive a car and/or fix home appliances’. Interestingly, no variation can be seen by age groups, thus showing that children have been taught what to perform in a gendered manner over the decades – females were consistently taught how to cook, clean the house, clean the bathroom/toilet and/or do laundry, while males were taught how to drive a car and/or fix home appliances.

Note: A positive answer to at least one of the predominantly “female-taught” activities (“taught how to cook”, “taught how to clean the house”, “taught how to clean the bathroom/toilet”, and “taught how to do laundry”) was coded as “Yes” in “taught to do housework”. Similarly, a positive answer to at least one of the predominantly “male-taught” activities (“taught how to drive a car” and “taught how to fix home appliances”) was coded as “Yes” for ‘taught how to drive a car and/or fix home appliances’.

While it is a jump to explain adults’ perceptions of gender roles and occupations by what they were taught to do as children or teenagers, it is nevertheless interesting to see if these roles are internalized and thus there is a gendered consensus on what men and women are supposed to do as adults. Indeed, the chart below shows that stereotypes on gender roles are commonly accepted in Azerbaijan, despite the fact that women tend to hold these views slightly less than men. Thus, there is no difference between genders when it comes to agreeing with the statements that “A women’s most important role is to take care of her home and cook for her family” and “Changing diapers, giving kids a bath and feeding kids are the mother’s responsibility.” Furthermore, although women tend to agree less with the following statements “Men should have the final word about decisions in the home,” “On the whole, men make better political leaders than women do” and “On the whole, men make better business executives than women do,” more than 60% of women still agree with each of these statements.

Note: Answer options to all the above statement were re-coded as follows: “Strongly agree”/“Completely agree” and “Agree”/“Somewhat agree” into “Agree”; and “Strongly disagree”/“Completely disagree” and “Disagree”/“Somewhat disagree” into “Disagree”. 

This blog post explored the attitudes of Azerbaijanis towards gender roles, and whether these have changed over time. It showed that there is a cross-generational continuum in the defined gendered character of the activities children and teenagers have been taught to perform. Furthermore, the blog post described the continuity of the embedded gender roles, noting the fact that as adults, people continued to see men and women as having very distinct roles and responsibilities and that there is a general consensus in Azerbaijan that the outer-home public space is still the domain of men.

To what extent are gender roles embedded in the Azerbaijani, Armenian and Georgian societies? Join the conversation on the CRRC Facebook page or in the comments section below.