On September 18, the Civil Development Agency (CiDA) arranged a media tour in the Dusheti region of Georgia within the USAID supported project New Economic Initiative. The goal of the project is to increase income for the people in rural areas, decrease the level of poverty and develop small enterprises for the socially unprotected population.
CiDA successfully implements USAID/NEO project
By Etuna Tsotniashvili
Tuesday, September 23
The project area implemented by CiDA covers two regions of eastern Georgia – Mtskheta-Mtianeti and Shida Kartli. Within the tour, media representatives had an opportunity to become aware of the results of the project since its inception. Journalists introduced the project beneficiaries who mainly fall below the poverty level and whose increase in income is directly connected with the successful implementation of the project.
The project financed 381 beneficiaries ranging from the agricultural sphere to 40 socially unprotected people in the non-agricultural sector. According to Revaz Barbakadze of CiDA, such projects are crucially important for the development of local business in rural areas. Barbakadze assesses the project as successful as the results have exceeded the expected outcomes.
Two regions of Georgia have been financed as well as 12 local businesses, and 72 jobs have been created as a result of the project’s implementation. The project provided sewing machines, baking machines, agriculture inventories and furniture to beneficiaries according to their demands.
One of the beneficiaries is father of 4 children Gia Gurashvili. He has always been interested in the agriculture field. However, he could not work because of low finances. The project gave him the opportunity to develop his own business. He created a vegetable garden and greenhouse where socially unprotected people are employed. One of the employees is 57 year-old Manana Melikishvili who says that as soon as she was told that she can work and receive a daily income, she decided to work with Gurashvili in order to help her family to earn money. Melikishvili’s daily income is GEL 20.
Another beneficiary is Zura Davituri who has been fond of beekeeping since childhood. But he knew that beekeeping is a very responsible job and he needed enough finances to run a successful business.
“One day my spouse told me about this project and we decided to try and apply. Fortunately, we were chosen and within the project I was provided 6 bee hives with bees. This year we extracted 15 kg of honey from each hive, which is considered to be a good harvest because due to bad weather, most beekeepers produced a low amount of honey,” Davituri says.
With the aim to increase his income, he bought eight more hives with the money he earned by selling honey. Davituri looks at the future positively and hopes that he can grow his business in the future.
“I produce honey locally. Once people tasted it they wanted to buy more. We have examined its quality in the laboratory and it is high-quality. I am sure more clients will come and I promise them I will offer the highest quality of honey,” Davituri added.
Ramaz Maisuradze is an IDP from the village of Kurta which has been occupied since the end of the 2008 War. He and his family were made to leave their own land and now they live in the Bazaleti IDP settlement. For years, his family’s only income was from the low financial aid it received from the government. After being selected as one of the beneficiaries of the project, he began green house agriculture and plans to grow his small business in the future.
“The government gives financial aid for IDPs each month, but this is not enough for the whole family. CiDA representatives have introduced the project details to me and helped me to start running my small business for additional income. They encouraged me and I succeeded. Now I have my green house where tomatoes and cucumbers are planted. From next year I am going to plant flowers and along with other vegetables I will try the flower business as well. I am sure I will succeed,” Maisuradze told the journalists.
Another successful beneficiary of the project is Eka Kvrivishvili who owns a cafe in Dusheti. With the allotted money she was given the necessary equipment and furniture for her cafe.
“This is the only cafe in Dusheti. With the promise that I would employ socially unprotected people, the project helped me to buy tables and chairs for the cafe, and the necessary equipment for the kitchen. I am very grateful and I feel happy that guests like here. Foreign guests are also coming and enjoy our service,” Kvrivishvili says.
Since September 2012, the NGO CiDA has been implementing the project New Economic Opportunities (NEO) financed by USAID. The length of the project is 22 months.