In order to fuel then-nonexistent LGBT activism in Georgia, the Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group (WISG) began to take its first steps towards community mobilization from virtually ground zero. This was a long-term everyday effort, which has directly or indirectly led to the fact that it is now possible to discuss queer activism in Georgia. WISG has developed a step-by-step approach to empowerment, which encompasses both personal and interpersonal aspects.
Empowerment entails the expansion of psycho-social capacities and systematic work aimed at awareness raising and creating safe spaces with the direct involvement of community members. On the individual level, empowerment is reflected in increasing self-esteem, overcoming social exclusion and internalized homophobia, and working towards understanding and respecting one’s own and others’ rights. This is achieved through participation in the improvement of the social and cultural environment and engagement in acts of solidarity, mutual support, and civic activism.
WISG has been continuously working towards community empowerment since 2007. This strand has evolved over time and since 2018 has also engaged a multidisciplinary case management team. The organization was the first to introduce the multiteam case management approach to working with rights holders. This approach allows for a complex analysis of each case and a more comprehensive and thorough mapping of community needs. In addition, WISG has also introduced the case bank system for data management and analysis, which ensures data confidentiality and security. The community empowerment strand also includes a series of meetings, trainings and learning about social and economic integration, gender, sexuality and related rights, community needs assessments, social and public events for community members, and the advancement of feminist ideas and approaches in the community.