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Countering Malign Influence

Speeches Shim

Under its 2020-2025 Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS), USAID/Georgia will strategically transition its partnership with the Georgian government by elevating its response to the most pressing challenge to Georgia’s journey to self-reliance: vulnerability to external malign influence. As the Kremlin continues to expand its regional influence and undermine Georgia’s efforts at reconciliation, this new focus will support proactive engagement with communities living in and near the Occupied Territories, mitigate the impact of targeted disinformation, reduce economic exposure to external malign influence, and increase the cybersecurity of Georgia’s key infrastructure. USAID/Georgia will focus on strengthening the resilience of local institutions and communities (including all of Georgia’s diverse ethnic, linguistic, and religious communities) to external factors through greater inclusion, social equality, and citizen capacity.  

Current programs:

Pankisi Community Links
September 2018 ‐ September 2021
Chemonics International Inc.
The Pankisi Community Links activity forges linkages across age groups, as well as ethnic and religious affiliations within Pankisi. It also facilitates people‐to‐people interactions around social and economic opportunities between Pankisi residents and its surrounding areas or the rest of Georgia. The resulting interactions help create a more cohesive society within Pankisi and bridge the divide between Pankisi and surrounding areas, making the area more resilient  to conflict.

Youth‐led Civic Dialogue and Action
September 2019 ‐ September 2024
International Alert‐
USAID's Youth‐led Civic Dialogue and Action program supports civic activism among Georgian and Abkhaz young people to diversify and strengthen civil society and normalize relationships transcending the dividing line. Specific activities include: widening young people’s perspectives, embracing a more open‐minded worldview, and gaining new skills such as critical thinking, listening, dialogue, advocacy, and ability to sensitively articulate arguments; analyzing problems and understanding their position as agents of change in their own societies; discussing the common problems with peers on a regional level and putting new skills into practice for resolving those problems; and providing opportunities for purposeful interaction of young people across the dividing line.

Empowering Youth for Peace
September 2018 ‐ September 2021
Eurasia Partnership
USAID’s Empowering Youth for Peace (EYP) activity recognizes that young people hold the greatest power to achieve reconciliation. The activity aims to foster youth civic engagement and build bridges between communities divided by conflict. In particular, it brings ethnic Abkhaz and Georgian youth together around common interests and concerns. EYP supports 16 Youth Banks in Abkhazia and in the rest of Georgia to empower young people to become agents of positive change in their communities. By giving young people the capacity to seek solutions, the activity is designed to build confidence and foster reconciliation between conflict-affected communities.

Media for Transparent and Accountable Governance (M-TAG) 
September 2014 - December 2020
International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX)
In support of Georgia’s media sector, Media for Transparent and Accountable Governance (M-TAG) works to build the capacity of journalists to demonstrate accurate and ethical reporting on public interest issues, including key government reforms, as well as support regional media outlets to improve financial viability and transparency. M-TAG supports these processes through a set of coordinated activities in support of three objectives: 1) Journalists demonstrate accurate and ethical reporting on public interest issues, including progress towards key government reforms ; 2) Regional media outlets demonstrate improved financial viability and transparency; and 3) Access to balanced and relevant information increased in the occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Strengthening Democratic Resilience in Georgia
July 2020 - July 2022
People in Need in cooperation with the European Values Center for Security Policy and Transitions Online

USAID is empowering the Georgian people to build resilience against malign influence, including disinformation. The Strengthening Democratic Resilience in Georgia project supports independent media and civil society to expose and counter disinformation and strengthen resilience to malign influence in the context of Georgia’s 2020 Parliamentary and 2021 Local Elections.  The program is jointly supported by USAID and the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) under the U.S. State Department's Emerging Donor Challenge Program. Together, USAID and the Czech MFA will partner with a consortium of Czech organizations led by People in Need (PIN) and including the European Values Center for Security Policy (EVC) and Transitions Online (TOL).  

The ZRDA activity in Georgia
March 2016 – March 2021
Chemonics International Inc.

The USAID Zrda Activity promotes inclusive and sustainable economic growth in target regions by promoting Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) growth, increasing productivity of rural households, facilitating market linkages between producers and buyers, and promoting local economic development by establishing and strengthening networks. Zrda works in 81 communities in proximity to the administrative boundary lines and communities with ethnic minority popula­tions. The activity aims to create 2,400 jobs, increase sales for 800 MSMEs, increase incomes of 13,200 households, and generate measurable improvements in community resilience and economic conditions.   

Georgian National Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (GNERC) Partnership Program
September 2010 - September 2021
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissions (NARUC)
This program strengthens Georgia’s energy security by fostering the exchange of experience and information between the U.S. and the Georgian National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission. The project improves regulatory practices, strengthens the regulatory authority, supports the transition toward European-oriented market mechanisms, and incentivizes the utilities to improve service to customers.

Energy Technology and Governance Program
October 2016 -  September 2021
U.S. Energy Association (USEA) 
The Energy Technology and Governance Program supports Georgia’s energy security by strengthening the transmission and distribution systems. The project supports long-term electricity network analysis and development plans to assist the country’s transmission and distribution grid owners and operators to plan for future investments in grid infrastructure.

The USAID Energy Program
November 2017 - December 2020
Deloitte Consulting LLP
The USAID Energy Program supports Georgia's energy security by incentivizing investments in power generation from domestic resources and helping Georgia meet its commitments under the EU Energy Community treaty. Through the program, USAID provides technical assistance to the Government of Georgia and facilitates public-private partnerships to build capacity in key sectors of Georgia’s energy market.

Georgia Information Integrity Program
September 2020 – September 2025
Zinc Network Limited

USAID’s Georgia Information Integrity Program is a five-year initiative designed to help Georgia build societal resilience against disinformation. Through 2025, USAID is partnering with the Government of Georgia to develop a comprehensive, “whole-of-society” approach to protecting Georgia’s information space.  USAID will also cultivate a network of domestic actors who actively combat disinformation to ensure that Georgia’s citizens have access to fact-based information about key issues.  By engaging these domestic partners, USAID is able to leverage local expertise and ensure domestic ownership of development outcomes.