The messenger logo

USAID Fosters Rural Economic Development in Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti

Monday, October 15
On October 12, USAID Mission Director Stephen M. Haykin joined Rostom Tskhvediani, Deputy Governor of Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, to distribute beehives to 35 beekeeping graduates from the vocational training college (VTC) Erkvani in Ambrolauri.

According to USAID Mission Director Stephen M. Haykin, “USAID’s New Economic Opportunities Initiative strives to enable highly vulnerable individuals to be self-sufficient by engaging them in the economic development of their communities. By taking advantage of vocational training programs, NEO beneficiaries are given the opportunity to find jobs or gain self-employment as a result of their newly acquired skills. We are pleased to award the graduates with beehives to support them in their income generation activities.”

NEO provides assistance to highly vulnerable households and individuals in 85 communities in 10 target municipalities across Georgia. In addition to the courses delivered by Erkvani VTC for vulnerable individuals from Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, NEO also provided vocational trainings and toolkits for 181 beneficiaries from the Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Shida Kartli and Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti regions in the beekeeping, hairdressing, apparel-making, tile-setting, plumbing, electrical works, and welding trades at VTCs in Khidistavi, Zugdidi, Tsalenjikha and Jvari.

As one of the graduates of the beekeeping vocational training courses Maia Gordeziani noted, “NEO gave us a very tangible opportunity to improve our livelihoods through professional training in beekeeping coupled with the provision of beehives.”

As Saba Sarishvili, NEO Deputy Chief of Party explained to The Messenger,”NEO works to address unique constraints faced by highly vulnerable households and individuals in NEO’s target municipalities. The project’s technical assistance is aimed at improving the livelihoods of targeted vulnerable groups through a combination of capacity-building activities and grants aimed at increasing employment opportunities, strengthening business skills, and improving agricultural production through the use of modern agricultural technologies. NEO will link these individuals to NEO-supported value chains in order to ensure broader market linkages and sustainability’.”

NEO is funded by the U.S. Government through USAID to help Georgians access economic markets, attract investment, and identify and implement economically beneficial infrastructure projects. The project will benefit at least 70,000 rural and vulnerable households in 10 municipalities: Dusheti, Kazbegi, Kareli, Gori, Khashuri, Oni, Tsageri, Lentekhi, Zugdidi, and Tsalenjikha. The project will foster sustainable poverty reduction, improved living standards for vulnerable populations, including IDPs, and increased local government participation in addressing community needs.

Through the NEO project and others, the U.S. Government supports sustainable and inclusive economic growth that benefits all Georgians.