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Center for Training and Consultancy holds conference with IDPs

By Keti Arjevanidze
Thursday, November 22
The Center for Training and Consultancy held a conclusive conference on the project Sustainable Integration of Internally Displaced People-Micro Business Development, on November 21. CTC undertook this project with the help of USAID’s financial support in 2008 after the Georgia-Russia August War.

The director of the USAID mission in Georgia, Steven Heiken, independent experts, micro financial institution representatives and micro-finance entrepreneurs, attended the meeting.

Irina Khantadze, executive director of CTC, stated that the conference’s aim was to conclude the results of the project Sustainable Integration of Internally Displaced People. Khantadze added that the aim of the meeting was also to discuss what direction the project should take in the future in order to develop the project.

Steven Heiken, the director of the USAID mission in Georgia, expressed pleasure in the project’s success. According to him, the goal of the project has been achieved and with USAID's support, the steps for refugees’ economical integration were effectively taken.

Beso Sulaberidze, the manager of the project, discussed the fundamental tasks of the project and introduced the project’s achievements. According to him, the CTC team was helping internally displaced people to become micro-entrepreneurs. Sulaberidze explained that the first steps to achieve the goal were training the IDPs, offering them the available capital and support and help with finding them connections in the market. According to Sulaberidze, these first steps were the basis for launching a profitable micro-enterprise and for increasing the income of IDP families.

Independent expert Koba Kikabidze, advised the micro-entrepreneurs to collaborate among themselves as they already have the market position. He also appealed to them to find donors in order to enhance their business.

Galina Kelekhsaeva is one of the financed project participants from the Shavshvebi IDP settlement. With the help of CTC and USAID, she was able to continue livestock farming, which she stopped after the Georgia-Russia war in 2008. “I am grateful to everybody who gave us the opportunity to start life again; my business is going well, I studied a lot of things from the training courses the center was leading, with the help of those training courses, I was able to participate in other projects. Moreover I established an organization Hope for the Future,” she said.

Nona Atskarunashvili and Levan Gumnadze started a mutual business. After 2008, they bought a news stand, but it did not turn a profit. However, after receiving the support of the CTC and USAID they were able to increase their business. “We did not even have any experience on how to write a business project, the training courses helped us very much, now our business prospers, CTC and USAID helped us very much”, said the couple.

Irina Khantadze, the director of CTC concluded that the government’s support is very important. “If it becomes part of the government's politics, it would be very good,” said Khantadze.