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Distribution of grants on former convicts now underway

By Etuna Tsotniashvili
Tuesday, March 6
Non-governmental organization CiDA, with support of the European Union and in partnership with the Georgian Farmers Association and DVV International is implementing a Training and Employment Support Initiative in Criminal Justice Sector (TESI) project. The project aims at providing professional training, employment, development of economic opportunities and reintegration of convicts, ex-convicts, diverted persons, as well as persons with a conditional sentence and their families. Together with the educational activities, the project actively assists the people in conflict with the law to establish themselves at the labour market and show off their skills and ability in small business development. To reach the defined goals, CiDA cooperates with the state agencies working in the field of judiciary, including the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Correction, etc.

At this stage in partnership with the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, CiDA carries out a project Development and Support ex-prisoners Economic Opportunities. Within the project, business initiatives of the beneficiaries, engaged in rehabilitation and resocialization program at the Crime Prevention Centre’s, have been financed in the fields of agriculture, service, construction and tourism. It is noteworthy that 161 former convicts took part in the contest of business ideas on the initial stage, 83 of which have been offered to participate in the two-day trainings on writing business plans. Finally, as a result of the special commission’s estimations, only 43 beneficiaries moved on the next stage to receive the funding for their business plans.

Grants distribution among the winning beneficiaries started on February 6 and up to now 37 of them have been provided with various technical staff necessary for their businesses in Tbilisi, Adjara, Imereti, Guria, Samegrelo, Kakheti, Shida Kartli and Kvemo Kartli. The amount of grants per person ranges between GEL 3000-5000.

“There are three villages close to one another with some 1,000 families in Zemo Keda only. The local shops are almost out of bread. There is only one bakery nearby and it hardly ever works. If the weather is fine we will finish our bakery by the end of March. Afterwards we plan to provide the local shops with bread. At first we will be baking only bread, but later we will move to different pastry. This will be a great support for our family,” one of the beneficiaries living in the Dedoplistskaro Municipality says.

According to the project manager Nino Demetrashvili, the business grants help the project beneficiaries engage, empower and develop their economic opportunities that will further contribute to preventing repeated crimes. Demetrashvili says the project provides the beneficiaries with the materials necessary for their business, not money, therefore it will contribute to ensuring more sustainability and development of their businesses.

People in conflict with the law are highly interested in running small businesses as it is considered to be an effective way of self-employment. 70 more grants are scheduled to be distributed during the project and the contest of business ideas will be announced in spring.