We launched this project this autumn and already received a VERY positive feedback from students, professors and different officials, for example Medical Academy eco club helped us get the officials in the university on our side. At the moment we are collecting the forms from the students demanding plant based foods in the canteen of the university. Also the authorities are considering the idea to include the plant based meals in wending machines placed in the academy.
Here is the presentation we are using to promote the campaign: https://www.canva.com/design/DAFrbNU2PEE/JeuoanqkNpK4XMQom5DEtQ/edit
Vegan Georgia (http://vegangeorgia.org) is the first and so far the only Georgian NGO that focuses on confronting animal agriculture and plant based diet expansion. Our members and volunteers are educated activists with a long-term experience in animal advocacy. We have managers, journalists, lawyers, psychologists and many other experts as the co-founders in our council, members and volunteers. Some of us previously were working/volunteering in foreign animal rights NGOs such as Open Cages, Voices For Animals and Alliance For Animals.
The team of the organization is a well-coordinated team with the proper assignments and skills, and each member of it focuses on her/his field of responsibility whether it is social media work or fundraising issues, media communications or street action planning, free shops for the poor people or social center. Vegan Georgia contributes with local plant based producers and eating establishments building the bridges between sustainable activism and vegan businesses.
As mentioned above, we already received an incredibly positive feedback from everyone who was involved anyhow in the campaign or was just slightly touched with it which fills us with lots of optimism about this mission.
Among the past successes of Vegan Georgia are:
- Movement building through introducing veganism and animal rights agenda to the public by holding street actions and long term campaigns (http://facebook.com/vegangeorgia.org);
- Opening the first vegan cafe in Georgia (Kiwi Vegan Cafe in Tbilisi) which is still operating successfully;
- Holding International Animal Rights Gatherings (http://facebook.com/international.arg) six times and engaging hundreds of activists into this events throughout the years;
- Assisting with organizing the first big animal rights events in Armenia (Yerevan Vegan Fests);
- Organizing the social center aimed on promoting veganism (https://www.facebook.com/veganbase) by the means of lectures, workshops, movie screenings and discussions;
- Legislative proposals filed to the Environmental protection and natural resources committee of the Parliament of Georgia in 2019: 1. To prohibit using animals in circuses, submitted ; 2. To ban animal sacrifices;
- Organizing a huge eco vegan festival in June 2023 which gathered more than 2000 people, connected ethical businesses and NGOs, provided lots of free lectures, workshops, art and music activities.
- Introducing plant-based diet to at least 10000 students by implementing plant-based options to the menu and organizing lectures and movie screenings concerning the issue;
- Implementing at least 5 plant-based dishes on everyday basis instead of non-vegan ones in the menu of canteens;
- Making an information occasion for the media to cover the development of plant-based diet in the governmental institutions of Georgia;
- Influencing and educating state officials on the grounds of plant-based foods promotion.
Here is our budget plan: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pkqAEsVVsxcCEmvAeJ9CcnuujrHNdPxcZKn8YtS-yiw/edit?usp=sharing
Nini Turiashvili, chairman (president). Lawyer, red diploma magister of Tbiisi State University and long term animal rights activist. Nini has a lot of experience and skills on organizing different kind of events and campaigns, starting from food giveaways and ending up with filing legislative initiatives. Winner of the Best Fundraiser Panel at CARE Conference 2023.
Oleg Ozerov, vice president . Former journalist with a degree in management, Oleg has been holding animal rights activities for a dozen of years. He participated and organized animal advocacy / vegan promo events not only in Georgia, but also in Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Israel and Spain. He worked as the Open Cages volunteers coordinator in Minsk and was also a founder of Kiwi Cafe, the first vegan restaurant in Georgia which successfully operates up to the present day.
We have 9 persons in the council of NGO: Nini Turiashvili, Oleg Ozerov, Irakli Ushveridze, Ana Lazarashvili, Sofiko Khvedelidze, Maria Pronchenko, Vakhtang Ushveridze.
We also have some active members. Among them are:
Katie Davis, media and communications coordinator. Katie is the fiction books writer, a chief editor of Georgia Today news website and long term Vegan Georgia activist together with her three kids who grow up true animal rights advocates often attending at the demos and making banners for them.
Ana Lazarashvili, campaign coordinator. Anuki has a huge experience in organizing events, social center work and vegan outreach. She was one of the key managers of Vegan Basement social center in Tbilisi.
Mikhail Berezin, IT coordinator, photo and video production manager. Experienced in making websites, applications and tackling other matters connected with coding, Oleg is also a passionate photographer and video producer.
Julia Yesina, campaigning coordinator. Having lots of experience gained by organizing events and long term projects in Voices For Animals, Julia takes care of fundraising, strategical planning and international communications issues.
Quarter I - Developing plant-based menu and holding testings among non-vegans, holding a vegan festival as a starting point of the campaign
Quarter II - Vegan Fest made with the goal to engage 2000 people and find at least 10 volunteers in different universities
Quarter III - Get at least 5 publications in media or at least 2 interviews with famous bloggers
Quarter IV - Implementing Plant-based menu at least in 1 huge university in Tbilisi (for example Tbilisi State University with 23500 students, or Ilia University with 16500 students, or Technical University with 23000 students, or Medical University with 10500 students)
We are currently getting funding from ProVeg and Thrive Foundation for this project.