The Youth Bank (YB) project started in Georgia in August 2007, as a partnership between Eurasia Partnership Foundation and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland.
The YB idea is to set up “Youth Banks” groups of 5 to 9 young people in a given community, and empower them with training and resources to find, fund and oversee small projects that are conducted by and for the local community.
The project started with YBs in Akhaltsikhe, Batumi, Marneuli, and Zugdidi in 2007. In 2009, EPF established YBs in Ozurgeti, Gori, Aspindza, Akhmeta, Bolnisi, Dedoplistskaro, Latali and Tserovani. These YBs were initially trained by the Community Foundation of Northern Ireland and received additional instruction on program management and financial management from EPF. Between 2008 and 2010 they funded a total of 93 small projects connected to elections, education, sport, culture and the environment.
This evaluation, undertaken by GeoWel Research, used desk research, surveys, focus groups, financial analysis and in-depth interviews to evaluate the success of the program in achieving its general objectives and specific targets. The results are broken down into an analysis of outputs, outcomes and impacts.
The output analysis looks at the size and membership of the YBs, the level and effectiveness of the training and support, the modifications to the original program and some implementation issues. The outcome analysis assesses the intermediate goals of the YB by looking at the degree to which YBs seem to understand and apply the correct procedures, the number and size of the grants distributed and the effectiveness of networking between the YBs. Finally, the impact analysis looks at the degree to which YBs provided people with the opportunity, knowledge, skill-sets and determination to get involved in NGO activity and broader civic activism in the future.
To assess these different components we used a wide range of research tools. We reviewed the materials collected by EPF on the YBs and the grants they had distributed. We conducted 166 phone interviews of YB members, prospective members and grantees and conducted 13 focus groups of YB members and grantees across the country. Finally we conducted around 30 additional interviews with managers, mentors, trainers and people who had left the YB program in order to gain their insights on the project as a whole.