Georgia: Project Visits
CARE’s work in Georgia focuses on achieving long-term impact by decreasing rural poverty and overcoming social injustice emphasizing youth and women’s empowerment.
CARE began working in Georgia in 1991, becoming one of the first INGOs to launch operations in the South Caucasus including, Azerbaijan and Armenia. The South Caucasus represents a unique conglomeration of geographical entities (countries as well as unrecognized republics), which has struggled to find peaceful co-existence since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Working in this challenging context, CARE International in the Caucasus (CIC) has come to believe that a successful and sustainable development model hinges on fostering local social entrepreneurism - whether economic, social, or political - that seeks to address an unjust societal equilibrium which causes exclusion, marginalization, and suffering.
CIC’s initiatives in the region focus on achieving its long-term impact goal: to decrease rural poverty, vulnerability and social injustice in the South Caucasus and to improve conditions for sustainable development, thereby contributing to stability and peace in the region. To fulfill this goal, CIC works with rural households with income below the poverty line or at risk of falling into this category. Within this population, CIC focuses on socially and economically marginalized people cut off from markets and services, people affected by or vulnerable to political instability, young people, and women.
Building Bridges in the South Caucasus- Supported by the Bezos Family Foundation
Building Bridges aims to strengthen the ability of youth living along divided conflict lines in the South Caucasus to play a future role in peacebuilding and cross-border cooperation in the region. The main objectives are to enhance the understanding between youth communities in all countries of South Caucasus, develop active citizens and community members who can embrace differences and focus on cooperation.
Youth in the target areas, despite their differences and in some cases hostile attitudes resulting from regional insecurity and ethnic conflict, experience many common problems including lack of access to education and jobs, and limited involvement of youth in community life. Bringing youth out of isolated environments will enhance their rehabilitation and build local capacities that can contribute to development of civil society, improving democracy and establishing peace.
Project activities include creating and supporting youth clubs to build mutual understanding and trust in communities; building capacity of youth by providing trainings on conflict management and understanding of regional history; and giving young people an opportunity to receive small-scale grants to initiate local peacebuilding initiatives and interact with others.
Increasing Quality Work Opportunities for Women with Disabilities in Georgia
This project is providing opportunities for women with special needs to be active in their communities and become role models for other women with disabilities. Women with disabilities are one of the most disadvantaged groups in rural areas of Georgia. These women suffer from stereotypes and isolation, poverty, lack of access to quality education and healthcare, unemployment, and limited social services. They are often bound to the home resulting in limited social interaction. Years of neglect have eroded their self-confidence and motivation to participate in social events.
Through participation in this social enterprise, women with disabilities create a sustainable income and improve their livelihoods. The project features a range of trainings aimed at improving knowledge and awareness of women's rights, as well as business planning and technical skills. Providing employment opportunities and economic empowerment and social inclusion for women with disabilities is enhanced via the formation of a community of women with shared experiences. As part of the project, women manage a co-op producing and selling an array of goods that include decorative household items and jewelry.
Participatory Rural Development in Lagodekhi
This project aims to stimulate rural development in Georgia by increasing citizen participation and promoting a bottom up decision-making approach. Through the Lagodekhi Local Action Group, managed by community members and leaders, local needs and priorities are identified with a focus on social and economic development. This strategy is guided by rigorous research and large scale consultations with local communities, civil society, business sector and local authorities, and is approved by the Local Action Group. Representatives from all 67 villages that make up Lagodehki participate in this process.
Based on the priorities approved by the group, commercial and social projects have been selected for support after a rigorous competition and training program. The final projects were selected by a commission comprising of independent experts and the Local Action Group board. Those who had their project ideas selected were provided with tailor-made trainings on business planning and proposal writing, and receive ongoing technical support to ensure a successful and sustainable outcome.
Projects currently being supported include strawberry production, rose/flower growing, fish farming and wine making. Each project has a workforce made up of no less than 50% women.