Monday, February 18, 2019

NGOs in Georgia: Low trust, high expectations? (Part 2)

As discussed in the first part of this blog post, the results of CRRC-Georgia’s survey conducted for the Georgian Civil Society Sustainability Initiative (CSSIGE) project in fall 2017 confirmed that both knowledge about NGOs and trust toward them is quite low in Georgia. This blog post looks at the inconsistency between low trust toward NGOs, on the one hand, and quite positive assessments of their activities, on the other hand.

The most frequent answer about the goal that, in people’s opinion, NGO members are pursuing in Georgia, is to help the population of the country in solving their problems (27%). The second most frequent answer, to receive funding/grants, was chosen from a show card by 16% of the population, and the third most frequent answer, to protect human rights in Georgia, by 13%. Thus, 40% believe the goal of NGOs is to help people in solving their problems or protecting their rights, which is an impressive share, especially given the low level of reported trust in NGOs.

When asked to assess the influence of NGOs in the development of Georgia, the findings are, again, counter-intuitive given the low level of trust. A majority (56%) assess this role as either “definitely positive” (17%) or “mainly positive” (39%), as opposed to the 14% who have chosen negative assessments (“mainly negative” according to 9% and “definitely negative” according to 5%). While 76% of those who report trusting NGOs quite logically say that NGOs’ role in the development of Georgia is positive, 5% assess this role as negative, and 13% answer they don’t know. A third of those who report distrusting NGOs assess NGOs’ role in the development of Georgia as positive and only a slightly larger share (39%) as negative.

Note: For the chart above, answer options “Fully trust” and “Rather trust” were combined into the category “Trust”, and answer options “Fully distrust” and “Rather distrust” were combined into the category “Distrust”.

It would be impossible to find out the causes of such inconsistencies without additional research. At this point, though, it is clear that both knowledge of and attitudes toward NGOs in Georgia are neither systematic nor coherent. Focus groups conducted for the same project suggest one possible explanation for this inconsistency – while not trusting NGOs, the participants’ dominant attitude was that NGOs would not do harm either. Moreover, a belief was reported that life in Georgia is better with NGOs than without them.

To have a closer look at the data, visit CRRC’s online data analysis platform.

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