Forum Theatre For Change

Forum Theatre For Change

Georgia
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Since its establishment in 2002 Guria Youth Resource Center operates Young Volunteers House and the Forum Theatre for Change. Both groups engage youth from socially disadvantaged families otherwise having no opportunities of self-realization. To support sustainability of the Young Volunteers House we want to transform the Theatre for Change into a social business.

About You
Organization:
Guria Youth Resource Center
Section 1: About You
First Name

Tamar

Last Name

Ghlonti

Website
Country
Section 2: About Your Organization
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Yes

Organization Name

Guria Youth Resource Center

Organization Phone

+995 296 7 41 26; 995 99 15 63 84

Organization Address

4 Rustaveli st., Ozurgeti 3500

Organization Country
How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Your idea
Country your work focuses on
Innovation
What makes your innovation unique?

The Republic of Georgia, in the southern Caucasus region, is formerly part of the Soviet Union. Located between the Black and Caspian Seas, it has a long and turbulent history as the land connection between Europe and Central Asia. The Guria Region of Georgia is far in the western part of the country. Guria is strongly traditional, conservative, and very religious. Now the country is in the process of building democratic society. Considering the abovementioned forum theatre appeared to be the most effective tool to provoke social change. The forum-discussion is led by the joker and engages the whole audience in the process. It not only raises the awareness of people, but also is a booster to change their attitudes and behaviors around sensitive issues affecting rural areas. The examples might include but not limited to improving life skills and knowledge among adolescents to make informed decisions regarding the protection and promotion of their health; raising communities’ awareness on local budget monitoring and decision making process etc.
Besides the purpose of the forum we need to highlight that uniqueness lies in the target for the proposed social business. Young Volunteers House is the only opportunity for the disadvantaged youth of the region to gain civic activism skills, to act as a leader and acquire professional development skills. The social enterprise (Forum Theatre) will support to make the Young Volunteer’s House sustainable and continue offering this dynamic program. We believe that is why our social business is different from others.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact
Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact

Guria Youth Resource Center started to introduce this innovation through Adolescents Health Project funded by USAID/CARE International. The project was tackling one of the most sensitive issues for local setting - adolescents’ reproductive health. Forum theatre appeared to be the most effective intervention to start dialogue around this issue. More then 1500 audience members had an opportunity to attend the performance. One of the adolescents shared: “I learned how to do things with a sense of responsibility, I now know how to support a friend, and I am very happy for that. I liked seeing the attitudes of the male friend who really knew how to help the boy with a problem”. The international evaluation expert concluded that forum theatre was the most effective tool having the greater impact on the community. This tool was the deciecive for the project success. Results of the project were presented at the 35th International global health conference organized by global health council May 27-30, 2008 Washington DC under the title “Innovations in Reproductive Health Programming” at the Transforming Communications about reproductive health session.The project results have also been published in the International Journal for Research, Policy and Practice “Global Public Health” Volume 4 Number 3, May 2009 issued by Columbia University. In addition to the project the organization has used this tool in 5 other project to bring social impact on vairous issues like children’s rights, citizens rights and responsibilities, transparency and accountability of local government etc. More then 3000 people attended the performances and each exit interview proved the success of the project.
As for the Young Volunteers House more then 500 socially disadvantaged youth had an opportunity to gain civic activism skills. More then 1500 people participated in various events organized by the group. Totally 60 issues of organization periodical newsletter reached approximately the whole region of about 140 000 people. One of the adolescent girls wrote an annonimouse letter for the article “I was dissappointed, I did not have an idea where I wanted to be, which way to choose, who to trust. This question suffered me. Now I am clear, now I know where I am going.”

Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing

As almost every non-profits in Georgia most of the income is generated from international donor funding. Only few part is covered through own services that helps to cover part of service provider salaries and ongoing costs. Guria Youth Resource Center operates Young Volunteers’ House that is free and is aimed to engage disadvantaged youth (coming from poor families) of 25-30 on annual bases to give them life, active citizenship and other professional development skills. More then 500 children used this service since its establishment in 2002. The Young Volunteers’ House operates volunteer, media and documentary clubs. Youth organize various volunteer events, create short documentaries and publish organization periodical. Organization funds the House programs through various donor funded projects, as well as pays salaries for the instructors (some of them are volunteers). We plan to create the sustainability for the House and decided to transform the Forum Theatre Group into social business to help the sustainability for the Young Volunteers House. The problem we face is: currently the GYRC posseses 250 sq. meter office space purchased by USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). Initially the building needed major rehabilitation works. With the assistance of various donors and private constributions we rebuilded the part of the office space that accommodate staff offices and Young Volunteers House. To make the forum theatre as the social enterprise we want to have separate accomodation for the theatre group within the organization office facility for rehearsals and regular public shows. At the same time there are some minor equipment needed. If we have an opportunity to acuire the Award funds it would enable to provide rehabilitation and start-up costs for the enterprise. Our organization will pay the construction specialists salaries.

Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. Include a description of the business model. What might prevent that success?

First of all we want to highlight that Guria Youth Resource Center professional staff, as well as already successful theatre group guarantee the success for the project. The following will be the project steps: a) Securing the accommodation for the enterprise – one big room, approximately 70 sq. meter and a hall way will be reconstructed. We also plan to purchase 50 chairs, folded walls and lighting for the space. Organization has sound system that will be used for the enterprise. b) Promotional campaign – after the rehabilitation we will be printing promotional materials with award funds to advertise the social enterprise. We have clearly developed advertisement strategy that reaches various sectors (government, media, schools, businesses). c) Staging the first performance-besides the specific performances dedicated for social change, we plan to stage popular plays for all generations to like. This will help us to attract more fee paying audience and generate funds for the enterprise. As for the first, opening show for the enterprise we plan to stage “the Little Price” by Ernest Hemingway. The theatre group will employ two professional actors and volunteer youth from socially disadvantaged families, those of willing to find self realization. Besides the forum theatre technology the performances will use so called alternative methods that can cause the interest among people.
What we think that can prevent the success is the low interest of general community to attend the theatre shows. We made the survey in the various levels of community and it appeared that people are hungry to see such performances and they are ready to pay small fees for this wonderful opportunity. We strongly believe that our theatre will be the oasis for people and threat of failure does not exist.

Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible

Year One: Each year we are planning to stage 5 different performances on popular topics (this is rough assumptio). Approximately 2 shows will be organized in a week that rooughly is 96 performances. Each performance will involve 40 audience members as average. That is approximately 3840 people. The acceptable price for ticket will be 2 Georgian Laris which equals USD 1.10. We think this is very reasonable and affordable for community members. Approximately yearly income will be 7680. This amount will be used to fund Young Volunteers House Activities and Cover fees for two professional actors of the theatre.
Young Volunteers house will organize three volunteer (might be charitable or funraiser events as well) events, film two documentaries and publish four issues of periofical each year. The Young Volunteers’ House will involve 25-30 youth per year, as well as involve more then 1000 people as recipients of their organized events.
Year Two: For the year two and three we are planning to expand the audience and number of shows. As well as visit other regions to show theatre performances. This will help generate more income to enrich and expand the activities of Young Volunters’ House.

How many people will your project serve annually?

1001‐10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$100 ‐ 1000

Does your innovation seek to have an impact on public policy?

No

If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?

Approximately 150 words left (1200 characters).

Sustainability
What stage is your Social Enterprise in?

Idea phase

Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board?

Yes

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with businesses?

Yes

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with government?

Yes

Please tell us more about how partnerships could be critical to the success of your Social Enterprise

We think that partnerships will not be very critical but important for the success of the enteprise. We have verbal agreements with local businesses e.g. Bakeries, Wholesale and retail businesses, restaurants to place their advertisments for each theatre performance shows. This way we will generate extra funds that will also be used to cover running costs for the enterprise. We will not place any advertisment related to drugs, alcholol, cigarettes and any other harmfull objects. We met with the cultural affairs department of local government municipality and they will be happy to cooperate and order some shows for particular target groups.

We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported. Please explain your business plan/revenue model

Guria Youth Resource Center Contribution:
Capital Investment: Accomodation for the enteprise: 50 sq. meter valued at USD 150 per sq.m. that is USD 7500 in total.
Salaries for construction specialists: USD 2500

Award funds:
Purchase of Inventory and equipment: USD1800
Rehabilitation for space: USD 3000
Promotional Materials: USD 200

Revenue model for one year:
Revenue:
Number of Shows per year: 96
Price of Ticket: USD 1.10
Number of people attending the performance throught the year: 3840 people.
Revenue Generated from ticket sale: USD 4224
Other revenue:
Advertisments from various companies (forecast): USD 1000
Government contributions for specific shows for specific audiences: USD 1000
Total other revenue: USD 2000
Total revenue: USD 6224
Expenses:
Salaries for professional actors per year: USD 2400
Running costs (theatre supplies, electricity) – USD 1000
Costs for Young Volunteers House - 3024

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

As we mentioned above Guria Youth Resource Center has been implemented the Young Volunteers’ House since its establishment in 2002. The House serves children and youth from socially disadvantaged families. One of the adolescent girls wrote an annonimouse letter for the article “I was dissappointed, I did not have an idea where I wanted to be, which way to choose, who to trust. This question suffered me. Now I am clear, now I know where I am going.” This is the defining moment for the organization to reach this group. This is why we exist. Sooner or later the sustainability becomes a deciesive point for the organization. We do not want to loose the momentum and now we are in the process of trying to secure the sustainability of Young Volunteers’ House to continue offering the dynamic programs for underserved children. This was the inspiration for this innovation.

Tell us about the person—the social innovator—behind this idea.

Tamar Ghlonti, the vice president of Guria Youth Resource Center is the innovator of this idea. Since the collage graduation in 1998 she has been employed in non-profit sector in Guria Region. During the years of 1998-2002 she worked on various positions e.g. community mobilizer, outreach officer and volunteered for many projects. Having good knowledge of problems facing local children and youth she set the goal to help them deal those issues and create a program that would support their active involvement. With other community partners (among them was the Peace Corps Volunteer) she established Guria Youth Resource Center. Her one of the first innovations in the organization was to establish satellite internet center in Guria Region (there was no internet access center locally). With the funds of American Online the idea was realized and created the oasis for youth in the region. Since this period she is the author and initiator of many other interesting ideas. Among those are establishment of Young Volunteers’ House, Forum theatre group and many other projects in the organization.
Her dedication to the organization and to the work is great. She had various opportunities to participate in various international internships, training sessions and workshops. Wherever she would go she was applying the new skill and knowledge to the region. Considering her project management skills, non-profit experience and English proficiency she had various well paid job offers from international organizations based in Tbilisi, the capital, as well as from governmental structures. She refused those offers and as she declares she remains in the organization willing to bring changes in the community. It is worth to mention that most of the time she volunteers for this organization.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

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If through another source, please provide the information

Ford Foundation Fellows email listserve.