On Sunday 7th of November, 16 students from the Tbilisi State University were able to follow an EUMM patrol to see for themselves the Mission in action. The students represented a range of faculties from law, journalism and sociology.
Gathering early in the morning, they first visited the EUMM Field Office where they received a comprehensive briefing about the work of the Mission, and in particular the activities of the over 100 staff at EUMM’s largest Field Office.
After the presentation, the students followed a humanitarian patrol to the village of Shindisi. They were able to observe the Monitors as they spoke to the local population about the availability of healthcare services in the area as well as other day to day problems and issues. The difficulty for farmers caused by this year’s shortage of irrigation water was also raised. Students were able to participate in the discussions with the locals and familiarize themselves with the region’s problems by observing the monitors at work.
The students were also shown around some new facilities nearby, including a cold-storage warehouse for locally grown fruit and vegetables, built as part of the Georgian Government’s integrated social economic zone project, funded by international donors.
At the end of the patrol, students visited a memorial near Shindisi and listened to the stories of local residents about their recollection of developments in their village during the August 2008 conflict.
The students were interested and enthusiastic throughout their trip, asking many questions about the Mission and its work. The event, so far the first of its kind for Georgian students, proved highly successful and the Mission is looking into the possibility of organizing similar events in the future.