Oxfam Great Britain and BRIDGE
Republic of Georgia
This case study examines the gradual transition of Oxfam out of the Republic of Georgia and the creation of a local spin-off organization, BRIDGE – Innovation and Development. While the case study focuses on Georgia, it is set within the Oxfam’s broader regional exit strategy, which has involved the closure of a number of programs in the South Caucasus, including in Armenia and Azerbaijan. Oxfam began the transition period in Georgia in 2014, with their departure fully completed in 2018. During this time, BRIDGE was established and is now a registered Georgian NGO, carrying forward the values, mission, and programmatic and advocacy legacy of Oxfam, but without any formal affiliation.
The case study examines the factors that made this transition a success, including the processes by which BRIDGE’s leadership, governance, and financial model were established. The report also describes the decision made by Oxfam and BRIDGE to continue sharing knowledge and expertise as part of a standing memorandum of understanding. The case highlights both the institutional and relational aspects of a well- managed transition, as well as the key role played by the Georgian staff who led it. It focuses primarily on BRIDGE’s experience with the transition because Oxfam’s decisions regarding the timeline of its exit from three Caucasus countries were documented by INTRAC in a separate report.
In-country research took place in June–August 2018, with the majority of face-to-face key informant interviews completed during this period. Some additional interviews were conducted remotely in late 2018. In total, 20 interviews were conducted for this case study, with interviewees – which included former staff members of Oxfam and current staff at BRIDGE – chosen based on their knowledge of the transition story. The research team also held a series of conversations with various parties – including academics, government representatives, international development NGOs, and local civil society organizations– able to provide valuable insights regarding the evolution of international assistance and civil society in Georgia. CDA collaborated with the Executive Director of Caucasian House, Ivane Abramashvilli, who supported the field research and drafting of the case study. Identified by SAS early in the research process, Caucasian House is a resource organization with an interest in the SAS research findings as they relate to Georgian civil society context.
TYPE OF TRANSITION
This case study is an example of a transition from an Oxfam national office in Georgia to a Georgian NGO, BRIDGE – Innovation and Development. The transition process was gradual, taking place over four years between 2014 to 2018.
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