the Bulletin Came About
By Galiya Kalimova
The idea arose
long ago to have our own publication reflecting the needs and demands of the
third sector, current events, and most importantly, the possibility to appeal
directly to the reader and share the joys and sorrows which accompany everything
new and uncertain. The idea was discussed numerous times within each organization
existing at that time. However, the lack of personal resources made that dream
impossible. The idea of an NGO bulletin was raised at the first working meeting
of Sukhums non-governmental organizations, held in August 1996.
idea grew into a project that proposed establishing a "writers group"
that would not only write a bulletin about the third sector and human rights
issues, but also cover the activities of international humanitarian missions.
It was suggested that between issues, the writers group could operate
as an agency and distribute information about humanitarian actions in Abkhazia.
Potential donors often expressed interest, but unfortunately, the project was
never funded. Now, finally, in the framework of a program on cross-conflict
development of non-governmental organizations, we can start work on this very
This project for
NGO development has been under way for several months. Its goal is to make concrete
steps toward trust-building between ordinary people on both sides of the conflict
based upon a better knowledge and understanding of one another. As part of this
project, members of NGOs from Abkhazia and Georgia met in Sochi in September
1997. Abkhaz representatives were from The Centre for Humanitarian Programmes
and the Ecological Society "Apsabara." The Georgian representatives
were from the Caucasian Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development; the
Foundation for Multilateral Aid to Georgia; Gaia (a school for ecological education);
and the Foundation for Development of Human Resources. The Director of the program,
and organizer of this meeting, is Paula Garb, a professor of Social Ecology
from the University of California, Irvine. The project is sponsored by a widely-known
American foundation, The Winston Foundation for World Peace. At this meeting
we discussed problems of global interest, including Black Sea environmental
issues, environmental and civic education, and the possibility for a joint publication.
It was decided, however, to have separate publications from each side.
Today, after a
long process of discussion and reflection, we finally offer the first edition
of our long-awaited bulletin, and hope that it will be kindly accepted with
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