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The collapse of the Soviet Union led to difficult times for the independent state of Georgia, as it made the transition from a centralised to a market economy, and from a communist to a democratic system. People had no experience of making decisions, even at local level, or of participating actively in local government. Since 2002, Oxfam GB has worked with the Association of Disabled Women and Mothers of Disabled Children with initial support from the Association of Young Economists of Georgia, to implement budget-monitoring projects in Zugdidi District, one of the poorest regions of the country. This paper shows how this process helped communities build the confidence to work directly with local government officials to build a new kind of civil society.

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