Ambassador of the United States to Georgia Richard Norland and USAID’s Stephen Haykin visited several communities along the administrative border of occupied South Ossetia, where the USAID-supported New Economic Opportunities (NEO) project implemented 15 small-scale infrastructure projects and provided livelihood and rural development assistance to several thousand households.
US Ambassador visits villages on administrative border
By Tatia Megeneishvili
Wednesday, January 28
Ambassador Norland stated that people in this zone need special attention and that the NEO project is doing a great job.
The NEO project covers different fields. For example, 43-year-old Inga Khvedelidze and her husband had a farm that was completely destroyed during the 2008 war. Under the USAID/NEO livelihoods grants program, Inga received four beehives (valued at 1, 200 GEL), which have helped her generate additional income from the local agricultural market. Next spring Inga plans to multiply her bees in order to gradually increase her honey production.
The grocery owner, Lali Rcheulishvili, received three refrigerators from the USAID/NEO livelihoods grants program to expand her small business. This assistance, valued at 3,100 GEL, resulted in 20 percent growth in the revenue of her shop in the first year. In addition to owning this grocery store, Lali supports her son, daughter-in-law, and two small grandchildren. Rcheulishvili’s husband died after being seriously wounded during the 2008 war.
A group of farmers in Shida Kartli recently established a regional Berry Farmers’ Association. Up to 30 NEO-targeted raspberry producers from this association will be participating in training on Soil Preparation and Orchard Establishment in which they will talk with the berry consultants and explore the opportunities and challenges faced by the Raspberry Value Chain in the region.
USAID supported the rehabilitation of the Plavismani potable water supply system, which benefits 190 households in Plavismani village within the Tkviavi community. Through this rehabilitation project a 25m3 water reservoir and common use water taps were installed.
All the beneficiaries expressed their gratitude towards the NEO project and thanked Norland.
Over the next several months, the NEO project will implement 20 additional small-scale infrastructure projects identified by the communities along the border and will expand income-generation activities in order to improve the livelihoods of an additional 4,000 households.