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Micro business development program helps war-affected residents start a new life

By Etuna Tsotniashvili
Thursday, September 27
People who were adversely affected by the August 2008 War are still trying to recover and continue their lives as before. However, a key problem among many IDPs throughout the country is unemployment. This is the reason why the Center for Training and Consultancy (CTC), with the financial aid of USAID, has implemented a project on economic integration of IDPs to address this issue.

The project– Sustainable Integration of Internally Displaced People aims to support and encourage internally displaced people living in new settlements as well as those affected by the August War, to increase their self-esteem and assist them with employment in micro businesses.

The project with a budget of $ 500 000 USD, began in 2010 and is on its final phase now. During this period the CTC provided 14 training courses that focus on micro business administration issues to 338 participants in total.

“We have visited a number of villages and held meetings with the local residents. We have introduced them to our project’s aims and they were very interested in our proposal. After identifying the problems the local residents faced as well as their needs, we encouraged them to get involved in our contest. The interest was very high; if 600 were involved in the first year, its number doubled the following years,” Micro Business Development Expert Sophio Kachakhidze told The Messenger.

Kachakhidze assesses the project as very successful, adding that the project staff regularly monitors the grant projects and all of them are running successfully.

“In fact, we did not have a failed project. All the beneficiaries are very motivated and all of them have done their best to have their businesses to be successful,” she says.

Yuri Oboladze is one of those who received a grant. He is from Akhalgori which is part of the territories occupied since the 2008 war. He lives in the Tserovani settlement with his wife and three daughters. His living condition was quite good in Akhalgori although things have changed after he was forced to leave everything including his construction business.

Shortly after moving the village of Tserovani, he decided to start a small business of metal- plastic facilities. Because he did not have enough money, he received a credit from the bank although it was not enough to finish his plan. Oboladze became one of the beneficiaries of the USAID project and says that without their help his business would have failed a long time ago.

“When I introduced my business plan I had a hope of victory and it happened. The project envisaged my plan to be done on time. I have number of orders currently and the business goes well,” he told The Messenger, adding that his family has a stable source of income and hopes that when more people know about his business, he will attract more clients.

It is noteworthy that Oboladze’s clients are not only local residents but they are from other towns as well as from Tbilisi. He explains this fact by the low prices different from Tbilisi and other places. Currently he employs family members, although he does not exclude the possibility of hiring additional staff in terms of enlarging his business in the future.

Another beneficiary is Hamlet Kapanadze from the village of Avnevi located near the administrative border of South Ossetia. Kapanadze also lives in the Tserovani settlement. Kapanadze is an engineer and had an auto repair business where five local villagers were employed. Since he and his family left their home village he made an attempt to open a small office, although he was unable to do that without the appropriate equipment. As soon as he heard about the USAID grant program he joined the project with great motivation and he succeeded. Now he tries to employ interested people around him. He repairs approximately 10-15 vehicles per month.

“I am very grateful because the project gave me the opportunity to start a new life with my favorite job. My income has increased recently. I have never thought that I could continue my business after the war. I have regular clients and I do not want to lose them that is why I offer good quality and low prices,” Kapanadze says adding that everything is possible if a person loves his job and is determined to do it.