Social assistance and successful advocacy in Georgia: A social protection case study
Georgia, a lower middle-income country with a population of 4.5 million, gained independence in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite steady economic growth since 2004, living standards have failed to improve. A large percentage of people remain poor. Officially a third of the population live in poverty, with 15 percent of these living in ‘extreme poverty’.
This case study provides information about Oxfam's social protection project that began in Georgia in 2005. Oxfam worked with the Association of Young Economists of Georgia (AYEG) to gather information about household poverty levels, and to advocate for change in the government’s social aid system. This system - income support (cash transfers) and free health care – was previously failing to reach some of the country’s poorest people.
Through monitoring, research and advocacy, AYEG and Oxfam were able to influence social policy, and as a result, the poorest and most vulnerable people’s access to state benefits. Adjustments were made to the scoring methodology, as a consequence of this work, which resulted in an additional 34,000 families being included in the national social assistance system.