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UNDP celebrates International Day of Rural Women

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Friday, October 17
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the UN Joint Programme to Enhance Gender Equality in Georgia celebrated International Day of Rural Women in the village Ninotsminda in the Sagarejo municipality on October 15. The event was attended by Deputy Head of the UNDP in Georgia Shombi Sharp and MP Tina Khidasheli.

The celebration brought together more than 60 women involved in community projects in Kakheti and Samegrelo, and female farmers from different regions of the country. Rural women met representatives of the government, parliament, international organizations and civil society to present the outcomes of their work.

One of the participant women, Lia Khelaia from the Senaki municipality told The Messenger that they are happy with the projects.

“I am taking part in the restoration project of Nakalakevi playground. Our children need a place for entertainment. The total budget of the project is 14, 000 Gel, the UNDP funded 7,384 Gel, the community contribution is 1,419 Gel and the municipality co-funded 5,197 Gel for the project,” said Khelaia.

Shombi Sharp said that that development cannot be achieved without equality.

“In UNDP, we firmly believe that gender equality is one of the cornerstones of both democratic transformation and economic growth. We will continue our work with the government, civil society and people of Georgia to ensure that efforts invested in equal opportunities for men and women lead to economic prosperity and the increase of life standards for all,” stated Sharp.

Representative of Swedish Embassy Helena Sancho said that it is important to involve all regions of Georgia in the project as soon as possible. Khidasheli said that gender problems are easy to see in the last few years.

“The equality problem existed but it has been covered for years. Even now people did not want to talk about it, but we see what the situation is in the country. We see how many women are killed by their husbands, brothers or fathers, and the public always asks what the women had done. I believe that our people will learn to ask questions differently in the near future,” stated Khidasheli.

Acceding to the UNDP, rural women in Georgia play a decisive role in their households and farming. Nevertheless, they are not actively taking part in local-level decision-making. The participation of women in local governance has been decreasing over the past years: from 14% in 1998 to 11.5% in 2014. Women have less access to financial resources and decision-making, less opportunities for becoming successful in business.

During the celebration, an exhibition was held, as well as the sale of local agriculture products and a concert featuring popular Georgian singers Salome Bakuradze and Giorgi Sukhitashvili.

The International Day of Rural Women was first celebrated on 15 October, 2008. Established by the UN General Assembly in 2007, the event recognizes “the critical role and contribution of rural women in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.”