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Local Action Group Kazbegi

      The project introduces the LEADER approach to Kazbegi district. LEADER ("Liaison Entre Actions de Développement de l'Économie Rurale", meaning 'Links between the rural economy and development actions') is a local development method which allows local actors to develop an area by using its existing local development potential al development potential.

The LEADER approach has been an important component of EU Rural Development Policy for over 20 years. It is piloted for the first time ever in Georgia. PIN supports participatory mechanisms in local decision-making processes and the district's sustainable growth, as well as improve the quality of life of its residents. Built in follow-up surveys, close monitoring and evaluation will provide data and lessons learnt to facilitate LEADER implementation adapted to local context in other rural regions in Georgia, for an improved model of participatory decision-making process and a tool for sustainable rural development.

It is the basic principle of the LEADER approach that the action targets all types of local public, private and civic actors and individual inhabitants to create local partnerships and direct local resources towards more effective development. The active and committed representatives of Local Government, entrepreneurs, farmers, CSOs, citizens and other important local players, such as the Kazbegi National Park Administration, are all invited to participate in local strategy planning and become members of Local Action Group (LAG). 

Together, following on from regional research undertaken by the team, the LAG members formulate the Rural Development Strategy, with substantial input from other community members. Once the Strategy is developed, they solicit calls for proposals from residents and distribute small grants for projects in areas prioritized by the Strategy. The whole process is transparent and open to any Kazbegi resident.

The Action includes strong capacity building component for all target groups to enable a new methodology to be efficiently implemented, and to ensure sustainability of project outcomes. Based on experience from EU countries, which have long history of LEADER implementation, this approach ensures that active individuals are able to mobilise their social networks, the level of community participation increases overall and it helps economic development renewal.

The individual projects supported by small grants can become positive models to follow. The networking activities bring innovations to remote areas.

DonorsEuropean Commission and Czech Development Agency

Partners: Czech National Network of Local Action Groups (NNLAG), Biological Farming Association Elkana  

Implementation Period: 01/07/2015 -01/11/2017  

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Enhancing Small Farmers’ Cooperation and Productivity in Imereti and Racha Regions

In January 2014, PIN launched its new agriculture and rural development project that aims to contribute to the reduction of rural poverty in 9 municipalities of Imereti and Racha. This overall goal of the project will be achieved through the increase in farmers’ incomes as a result of: a) successful development of business-oriented small farmers’ and entrepreneur groups empowere s empowered to improve efficiency of their business practices.

b) higher agricultural yields and volume of sales due to adoption of modern, improved farming, production, processing and marketing techniques.

The project will also support improvements in agribusiness environment and agriculture sector legislation through farmers’ and rural populations’ direct participation in policy making processes.

To improve farmers’ incomes, the project will facilitate establishment of agricultural cooperatives, build organizational and business capacity of members, and support capitalization and operational capacity of the most business-oriented and robust cooperatives through competitive grants. This will allow farmers to improve economies of scale and ease access to support services and markets.

The project will also make a massive effort to strengthen technical skills of cooperative members through highly tailored trainings on modern farming, processing and marketing techniques, on-farm demonstrations, facilitation of market linkages and product promotion events. This will increase productivity of farms and agribusinesses, and improve product quantity, quality, cost-efficiency and overall marketability.

To make agribusiness environment and agriculture sector legislation more conducive to small and medium-scale farms and agribusinesses, the project will a) facilitate farmers’ and entrepreneurs’ participation in research events that aim to produce evidence for advocacy, and b) support farmers’ engagement in various fora that serve as mechanisms to voice farmers and entrepreneurs’ concerns and recommendations to decision-makers at the local, regional and national level.

Project direct beneficiaries will be at least 200 semi-commercial farmers and entrepreneurs who take part in cooperative and business plan development trainings, 330 - 450 members of newly-established cooperatives, and minimum of 100 farmers and other local actors who will support project advocacy efforts through participation in the regional forums, farmer-led field assessments and joint planning workshops. It is expected that in the longer-term perspective, the entire rural population of 9 target districts will benefit, directly and indirectly from the changes brought about by the project.

Implementation period: January, 2014 – June, 2017
 
Donor: EU’s European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development in Georgia (ENPARD Georgia) , Czech Development Agency   

Partners: Biological Farming Association of Georgia “Elkana”,  Association of Young Economists of Georgia (AYEG)

Collaborator: Czech University of Life Sciences Prague
 
Coordination with: Georgian Alliance of Agriculture and Rural Development, Kutaisi Akaki Tsereteli State UniversityMinistry of Agriculture ’s Information Consulting CentresMinistry of Agriculture of Georgia Agency for Agricultural Cooperatives’ Development (ACDA)

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Vocational Education Project

The project "Improving  Formal, Non-Formal and Informal Vocational Education In Georgia" aims to contribute to inclusive and high economic growth of Imereti Region by improving expertise, leading to increased employment and productivity in the agribusiness sector. It was designed to complement the setup and support of agriculture cooperatives under the ENPARD programme.& e. 

This is also expected to function as a pilot for national VET  (Vocational Education and Training) improvement.

Current low productivity is partially caused by a mismatch between labour market need and education provision.

Improvements to public-private partnerships (PPP) and the matching of VET provision and private sector demand will be achieved through several project components:

1. Establish and strengthen partnerships between VET providers, the private agribusiness sector and other social and government partners

2. Develop and pilot a VET monitoring toolkit which will enable stakeholders participating in the coordination platform to monitor themselves changes in labour market needs. The toolkit will be developed based on an analysis of the current agriculture VET provision through formal, non-formal and informal channels, farmer knowledge needs and a mapping of labour market needs in the agribusiness sector to identify mismatches.

3. The quality and accessibility of agribusiness-related VET will be improved. The capacity of VET institutions will be built to constantly review and adapt their courses to the labour market needs. The project will work in close collaboration with the Information and Consultation Centre (ICC) to pilot apprenticeships schemes in commercial farms and promote other practical learning opportunities. The project will partner with Elva to pilot and test a system of information messages and practical instruction videos for farmers.

4. Agribusiness VET programmes will be promoted and made more attractive amongst school leavers, unemployed, farmers and rural population through enhanced marketing of VET services and efforts to promote positive role models in commercial farms.

DonorEuropean Commission

PartnersCentre for Training and Consultancy (CTC)  and GeoWel Research

Implementation Period: 01/09/2015 -01/09/2017   

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Supporting Economical Development of Vulnerable Regions of Georgia

This is two-year project, which has been implemented since 2009 in Tkibuli and Terjola regions and Ingiri community (Samgrelo). The main goal of the project was to assist small business and enterprise formation, improvement the potential of existing businesses, unification of enterprises in associations and networks, supporting investments in regional economy activities. In order to determi to determine the priorities and identify needs of local communities, there were arranged six focus group meetings in Terjola, Tkibuli, Ingiri, and villages of Terjola region - Chkhari, Etseri, Sazano. 

On the meetings, citizens were introduced the principles of PIN working in Georgia, such as participation and payback. Participation means involvement of local population and cooperation with local self-government, and payback is oriented towards increasing the sense of social responsibility of supported businesses. It means that 50% of issued grants should be applied for answering community needs throughout a year. 

Based on the announced competition there were submitted 67 projects. Out of them 34 were financed - 12 from Tkibuli region, 16 from Terjola region, 6 from Ingiri community. Total cost of financed project made 114777 GEL. Most of the grants were issued to the start up business. Eight existing (5 in Tkibuli region and 3 in Terjola) businesses got finances for improving their activities. Financed projects included building materials production, laundry, bakeries, car service, plastic door/window production, etc.

The payback will make 21437 GEL for Tkibuli focus communities, 28338 GEL for Tejola focus communities, and 4600 GEL for Ingiri communities. It is noteworthy that in Ingiri mainly live IDPs and the payback has been reduced to 30%. As the result of the project there were created 97 job opportunities including self-employment and seasonal works. 

In the frames of the project, there were conducted 11 trainings involving 116 participants. Six obligatory trainings covered business plan making principles and marketing issues, four trainings concerned basics of networking and one training included marketing and fundraising issues. In addition, PIN and partner organization provided with group and individual consultations more than 60 beneficiaries. 

Through the networking component of the project there was issued and spread the brochure - "what is business networking". All beneficiaries of PIN were offered to get involved in this component. It is noteworthy that many beneficiaries participated in the respective training in 2006-2008. Thirty-six beneficiaries were financially supported and participated in ninth international exhibition of agriculture, drinks and technology. Twelve beneficiaries participated in TV program on networking issues. It should be mentioned that they are potential collaborators who has the common business interests identified through the provided trainings. 

The specially elaborated webpage http://www.networking.pin.ge reflects information on PIN projects and beneficiaries. There are also placed materials that would be useful for start up entrepreneurs.

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Further Support to Sustainable Development of Ecotourism in Kazbegi Region

People in Need with cooperation of local non-governmental organization Mountain House was implementing the project financed by Polish Aid program.   Activities: Development of Tourism: - Made reconstruction of the Jagor Kazalikashvili Museum of Alpinism in the city Stepantsminda. - Marking the touristic tracks to Gveleti Waterfall, Tsminda Sameba  in the city Stepantsminda.
- Marking the touristic tracks to Gveleti Waterfall, Tsminda Sameba church or Elia church in Kazbegi region.
- Operating the Tourist Information CenterInternet café and small Youth Hostel in the city of Stepantsminda.
- Renting the professional and special outdoor equipment: skitours, snowshoes, ice-axes, crampons, harness, tents, mountain bikes etc.
- Made reconstruction of the Public Park and public toilets in the city Stepantsminda. Building the bridge over the river Gveleti.
- Promotion of the Kazbegi region through brochures, postcards, articles, photographs and internet sites.
- Organization of the annual meeting of the Georgian Climbing Association during the 85th anniversary of the first climb on the Mt.Kazbek.

Activities with the local community:

- Organization of the language and computer skill courses and training for the tourism professionals in the region.
- Organization of the human rights documentary film festival in the villages Sno and Stepantsminda.
- Establish the group of young and active students who can cooperate with local NGO and be active in the region.
- Mountain House offer services for the local people: computers, internet, Xerox, scanner and consultations.


About region Kazbegi:

The Kazbegi Region of Georgia (population over 6000) is situated between the peaks of the High Caucasus range, lies on the main road connecting Georgia and Russia. The remote highland town of Kazbegi, with population of about 2000, used to benefit from the proximity of the border and trade was the main occupation of most people there. With frozen relations between two countries, Kazbegi, situated behind a mountain Jvari pass (2375 m.) and a closed border, found itself almost completely isolated and without any economic stimulus.

Many foreign visitors of Georgia tend to visit Kazbegi for its beautiful natural scenery and it has also been intensively visiting by Georgian visitors. Sadly lack of many services for locals and tourists is characteristic for this town, from where most active people left to Tbilisi or abroad. Kazbegi is also situated near the one of two Georgian ski resorts - Gudauri.

 

Duration of intervention: July -December 2008
Implementing partner: The Mountain House
Funded by: This project was financed by the Polish Aid program 2008 of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Poland.    

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