NGOs in Georgia: Low trust, high expectations? (Part 1)

Over the last decade, people in Georgia have reported rather low levels of trust toward NGOs. At the same time, when asked during surveys to assess specific aspects of NGO activities, the answers have usually been positive. This blog post is based on the findings of a survey on attitudes toward NGOs collected by CRRC-Georgia in fall, 2017 for the Georgian Civil Society Sustainability Initiative (CSSIGE). The first part of this blog post looks at the most up-to-date data on knowledge of NGOs in Georgia and reported levels of trust toward them. The second part explores the inconsistency between low trust toward NGOs in Georgia, on the one hand, and quite positive assessments of their activities, on the other hand.

Less than a third of the population of Georgia (28%) report trusting NGOs. Most people, though, are either indifferent (37% “neither trusting, nor distrusting” NGOs) or cannot answer the question (17%). The reported level of trust toward NGOs is comparable with the level of trust toward the courts and political parties, with one notable difference: the share of those who cannot answer the question is highest when trust toward NGOs is assessed. This may suggest that people do not always have a clear understanding of what NGOs are for or what they do in Georgia.

To gain an understanding of how solid people’s knowledge of NGOs is, the following question was asked, “I will now name several organizations. Please tell me whether it is an NGO or not. If you have not heard of any of these organizations, tell me you have not heard of it.” Two out of the 10 organizations asked about did not exist in Georgia at the time of the fieldwork.

Note: NGOs are marked with one asterisk (*). Organizations that are not NGOs are marked with two asterisks (**). Organizations that did not exist in Georgia at the time of the fieldwork are marked with three asterisks (***). Correct answers are highlighted in green.

Of the organizations asked about, only the status of the Parliament of Georgia was correctly identified by a large majority (87%). It also had the lowest share of “Don’t know” responses. Over half of the population was correctly informed about the Labor Party, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), and the Rustavi 2 TV network. It is quite rare, however, that people consistently provide correct answers about all the organizations asked about. Leaving aside the answers about the two organizations that did not exist at the time of the fieldwork (“Association of the Unemployed” and “Society for Spreading Literacy”), less than 2% of the population answered about all other organizations correctly. This suggests that knowledge of NGOs is highly fragmented in Georgia.

As seen in the table above, the population has better knowledge about the status of six organizations: the Parliament of Georgia, the Labor Party; GYLA; Rustavi 2; Aldagi (an insurance company); and Transparency International – Georgia. Yet, the share of the population who named the correct status of all these organizations is only 16%. Below, this group is referred to as the “better informed population.”

Surprisingly, the better informed population does not report trusting NGOs in Georgia at a different level than people who are less informed about NGOs. These two groups differ only when it comes to the share of those answering “Don’t know”: while 5% of the better informed population responded so, 19% of the rest of the population did.

NGOs have not yet secured the population’s trust in Georgia. Still, the population reports rather positive assessments of specific aspects of NGO activities as will be discussed in the second part of this blog post next Monday.

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


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