This document outlines the findings of the Local Government Needs Survey to increase the role of municipal governance in local inclusive economic development in Georgia.
The Needs Assessment Results will be used to develop a special training program that will enable local government representatives to deepen their knowledge and acquire practical skills in planning, implementing and evaluating local economic development processes.
Interest in the concept of Local Economic Development (LED) in Georgia and its specific instruments has increased in recent years. Consequently, adult learning experience in this field is relatively scarce.
Based on these circumstances the needs assessment process was based on the following three sources of information in the following order:
1. Analyzing global trends for teaching the concept of local economic development:
Particular importance was attached to the desk research / secondary sources component of the research process, which in turn sought to answer three questions: (1) How is regional economic development conceptualized worldwide? (2) What are the local challenges of popularizing the LED concept in contexts similar to Georgia? and (3) How is LED taught in the context of formal and non-formal education outside Georgia?
2. Expert assistance in developing the initial framework:
The pillar of the field research component was the information (in-depth interviews) provided by a small group of informants who had the most information on the concept of local economic development in the country. We shared the results of the curriculum analysis with a small group of experts and, together with them, developed an initial list of the most likely topics for the curriculum. The initial list created in consultation with the group has made it easier for local government representatives to reflect on the likely content and organizational needs of the program afterwards.
3. Feedback and recommendations from program beneficiaries:
The final stage of work on identifying needs was to discuss / validate the initial findings with the final beneficiaries of the training program. The results were discussed with a wider group of respondents – 23 municipal officials and local economic development contact persons.
The final product of the needs assessment is a matrix containing a list of ten topics for the curriculum. The topics are grouped around 5 basic questions that are crosscutting to several topics.
The matrix coincides with the main approaches to teaching the concept of local economic development in the world, repeats the meta-curriculum structure used in this area and incorporates the opinions of local economic development experts and donors in Georgia.
In addition, the content of the matrix is in agreement with the beneficiaries of the forthcoming program (23 municipalities) and is enriched by the comments and recommendations provided by up to 100 respondents.