The Women’s Information Center carried out the Women as Agents for Change and Empowerment project with the support of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the Taso Foundation, Association of Young Economists of Georgia, Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) and organizations based in the Gali district to support women’s full participation in political, economic, peace-building and conflict-prevention processes.
Rural women strengthen their communities
By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, August 18
Members of self-help groups, resource centres and cooperatives established within the project are headed by women who took part in the summer camp called Cooperatives and Resource Centers for Strengthening Communities in Chakvi on August 3-8. The self-help groups established in Kakheti, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Imereti and Gali have opened resource centers in Kvemo Shukruti, Magharoskari, Balgojiani, Toloshi and Tsikhisjvari, while the cooperatives established in Dusheti, Lagodekhi, Aspindza, Borjomi and Chiatura are now developing various agricultural directions form gardening to cattle-breeding.
“We have been working with rural women for more than a year and a half. On the one hand, our summer camp has thus far revealed the goals we have reached, while on the other hand it has emphasized how stabile our resource centres and cooperatives can be,” Head of the WIC, Elene Rusetskaia, said.
The Head of Agricultural Cooperatives Development Agency Giorgi Misheladze spoke about the role of cooperatives in agriculture with the project participants who on their turn introduced him with the activities of their cooperatives.
“Members of cooperatives are ready to carry out their agricultural activities in the right direction, prepare to participate in larger programs, develop both in horizontal and vertical directions and thus engage more members as well as unite in wider chains to increase production,” Misheladze said after his session.
Project participants summarized strength, weakness, opportunities and threats of their resource centers to better identify the problems and elaborate effective strategy how to cooperate with the local governments; to realize the idea and mission of resource centers and cooperatives for social-economic development of their regions as well as to raise responsibility towards the members of their communities while carrying out their activities. Together with the trainer Maia Mikashavidze the project familiarized with the fundraising strategy for further development while Dali Khomeriki introduced the women with the prospective of receiving education in the USA.
After the busy working days of the camp, the Head of the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia Giorgi Kekelidze spoke about women's role in literature, while later the project participants attended Levan Berdzenishvili's public lecture The Return of Medea in Batumi. After the lecture Berdzenishvili answered WIC’s question about introduction of gender quota in the legislation saying parliament of Georgia lacks qualified members as it is everywhere. “We (Republican Party) think more women in parliament would increase its quality because in certain cases women can solve issues better than men. It especially concerns war and peace-related issues where women are better decision-makers; they can easily find mistakes and solve them,” he stated.
The summer camp has officially closed and the project participants returned to their regions where they will share their experience with other community members to carry on their activities.