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Computer Games Bring Georgian and Abkhazian Youth Together

In 2014 Georgia inaugurated a special project for familiarizing Georgian and Abkhazian young people.

The project is financed by the EU and the UN. Computer games were developed to reconcile Georgian and Abkhaz young people in order to bring them closer and unite them.

Nino Nanitashvili, advisor for Elva NGO in the Caucasus Region and head of the ISET communications department, describes the project details and results in her interview to the Business Morning news program.

When was the project inaugurated and how effective the project is?

We wanted to do something new for dialogue between the conflicting parties. We wanted to specify the current tendencies worldwide. Computer games turned out one of the new directions and I am glad Georgia also follows this direction. Initially, these young people may think they have nothing common, but these games bring them closer. The main objective of online games is to familiarize children from the various conflicting sides and to unite them.

How have you contacted Abkhazian young people? Did they show interest in this project and what are results of this project?

We had 6 partners, three ones of Georgians and three ones of Abkhaz young people. They used to play in mixed groups. We had red and blue groups and the whole accent was made on maintaining the team spirit.

Have you achieved any positive changes?

The most noticeable fact was that initially a very few young people joined the project and their quantity was increasing at the end of the project. More and more young people were applying to computer centers. We deserved their trust and they did not cast doubt on our efforts.

This was a natural process without discussing politics and conflicts. Young people just had virtual space and they were doing their favorite business without any pressure. Therefore, our efforts were successful. We have mainly engaged that segment, who, as a rule, never participates in peace-building process. The project lasted about 8 months. Joint game sessions lasted for about 3-4 months. We are eager to continue this project. We should attract additional financial resources to continue this project.

Does this project require huge financial resources?

Game sessions do not need huge financial resources. Main part is spent on infrastructural needs. Unlike Israel, technologies are less-developed in our region and the Internet access is less accessible in regions. Therefore, we had to buy laptops for the centers, in most cases.

This was a pilot project, to a certain extent. We wanted to see how this project would work in our region. We have organized joint game sessions on regional level over weekends and participants liked this format very much. This project also involved another component: creating a new game called as Peace Park. This game is accessible even today and it may be download into a cellular phone. Foreign experts and consultants have assisted us in developing games.