The first week of May was a hectic time for ALDA, with part of the Association on a mission to Ukraine and another part leaving for Georgia.
From 1 to 4 May 2023, ALDA Governing Board member and representative of Società Cooperativa Sociale Studio Progetto, Mr. Andrea Rilievo, together with the Head of the Development Department of ALDA, Mr. Marco Boaria, flew to Georgia for a trip aimed at strengthening their partnership ties in the country, while getting a taste of the nation’s beautiful culture.
On May 2 the ALDA team arrived in Kutaisi (Georgia), welcomed by the Executive Director of the Local Democracy Agency Georgia, Ms. Nino Khukhua, who immediately introduced them to the Georgian traditions by having them participate in the Kutaisoba (or Gviriloba) festival.
The Kutaisoba Festival, or ‘Day of the chamomile’ is held on 2 May each year in the city of Kutaisi. It was established in the early 20th century and commemorates the tradition of schoolgirls in Kutaisi, who sold chamomile tea to passers-by and donated the proceeds to leprosy patients. Hundreds of people arrive in the city from the entire Imereti region of Kutaisi to take part in the celebrations. The programme includes competitions, contests, concerts, flower and handicraft exhibitions in the city centre, while regional gastronomic specialities are served in the area set up near the Mukhnari forest, about one kilometre from Kutaisi.
ALDA’s journey to Georgia was aimed at strengthening its partnership ties in the country, while getting a taste of the nation’s beautiful culture
The official opening ceremony of the event was held by the entire city administration, among which the Mayor of Kutaisi, Mr. Ioseb Khakhaleishvili, (ALDA member) who warmly received the Association representatives and with whom he discussed future activities and goals to be achieved together, working hand in hand.
After taking part in this beautiful tradition, the ALDA team met with the entire staff of the LDA Georgia to talk about the organisation’s activities and achieved results, as well as its objectives.
The day after, on May 3, Mr. Rilievo and Mr. Boaria left for the city of Zugdidi (Georgia) where they met the Mayor of the Municipality of Zugdidi (ALDA member), Mr. Mamuka Tsotseria, together with his first deputy, Mr. Konstantine Kakava.
Mr. Tsotseria highlighted how the cooperation between the municipality itself and the Association, established in 2018, has grown considerably and strengthened over time.
Afterwards, the ALDA representatives had a meeting with Mr. Giga Parulava, Chairman of Zugdidi City Council, and took the opportunity to discuss the cooperation strategy for the future, which includes strengthening self-government, increasing citizen involvement in decision-making, and capacity building of civil servants for the effective functioning of self-government units.
Before returning home, the ALDA delegation had a Masterclass on EU funds opportunities especially concerning the Eastern Partnership area, which saw the participation of 30 persons.
The Association team returned after three fruitful and very intense days, having consolidated the already strong networks in the country and enriched their cultural and personal baggage, which made the experience in Georgia truly unforgettable.