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USAID Supports IDPs and Highly Vulnerable Individuals in Shida Kartli and Mtskheta-Mtianeti

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, March 1
USAID Acting Mission Director Roy Plucknett joined the representatives of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees; Ministry of Education and local government officials to host a number of events that took place in Gori on February 27, 2013. In the morning, USAID Acting Mission Director distributed toolkits to 58 graduates of the Vocational Training College Gantiadi as a part of NEO’s assistance to highly vulnerable households, including IDPs in communities and municipalities across Georgia. The guests also visited a NEO vocational training beneficiary in Tirdznisi village and no-interest loan recipients in the Karaleti IDP settlement near Gori.

According to Plucknett, NEO has also provided vocational training and toolkits to 254 beneficiaries from the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, Shida Kartli and Mtskheta-Mtianeti regions. Areas of training have included beekeeping, hairdressing, apparel-making, tile-setting, plumbing, electrical work and welding at the vocational training centers in Khidistavi, Ambrolauri, Zugdidi, Tsalenjikha and Jvari.

“Within three months of graduation, 168 graduates have already gained employment and are generating income to improve their livelihoods.” the acting Mission Director stated.

According to the Representative of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees Valeri Kopaleishvili, 44 IDPs and 14 vulnerable individuals took a two-month training course at Gantiadi to receive knowledge, skills and toolkits in their respective trades.

“According to the students, highly demanded were the courses in construction trades such as tile-setting, plumbing and electrical works. Most of them wanted to improve their skills in these fields. Now they are given an opportunity to find jobs in the construction companies or gain self-employment through implementing private projects." Kopaleishvili told The Messenger.

NEO representatives told The Messenger that more or more beneficiaries will be offered the vocational training courses in near future.

Representative of the Ministry of Education, Levan Keburia outlined that the new government will provide for the promotion of vocational education programs in Georgia.

“Such projects financed by the U.S. government are very important. The Ministry of Education plans to re-open vocational colleges in each region across Georgia. International experience will also be very useful to help reform vocational education.” Keburia told The Messenger.

Graduates stated that the knowledge and skills they gained in Gantiadi are very useful and will assist them in income generation activities.

No-interest loan recipients in the Karaleti IDP settlement stated NEO gave them an opportunity to launch their own small businesses. One of the recipients of a no-interest loan managed to purchase beehives and another bought a milling cutter for the tractor granted by CARE International.

In the village of Brotsleti of Gori municipality, the guests visited a water system rehabilitation project implemented by NEO that solved the water supply problem in the village.

“For decades, we had to bring water from a long distance. Right now we have no problems with water supply. The Brotsleti reservoir works using electricity and hence a 24-hour service is a bit expensive for the villagers. That is why we selected certain hours when water can be accessed through our taps. We have to pay 2-3 lari monthly not to have water supply problems,” a village resident told The Messenger.

NEO supports different initiatives aimed at supporting sustainable income generation activities among highly vulnerable individuals, including IDPs. NEO, through Charity Humanitarian Center Abkhazeti (CHCA), is administering the Income Generation and Business Support Initiative program aimed at facilitating the implementation of no-interest loans. Of note, the Income Generation and Business Support Initiative program provides a business plan writing training course for potential borrowers prior to applying for the no-interest micro-loans. The training addresses issues of marketing, budgeting, business risks and opportunities, etc. The training sessions are followed by an application development session, which allows applicants to produce draft business proposals for their new or expanded businesses.