Samtskhe-Javakheti. Over 100 representatives of public, private and civil society organizations attended the conference, which summarized the results of the EU-supported two-year ENPARD project “Strengthening Rural Development models in Georgia”.
The project, implemented by Mercy Corps, People in Need and CARE Austria, in partnership with the European LEADER Association for Rural Development (ELARD), ran since 2017 and aimed at promoting a community-driven rural development approach in Borjomi, Lagodekhi and Kazbegi municipalities. Through sharing the best European practices in rural development, the project has contributed to the implementation of the EU’s LEADER approach in the three municipalities, where it has helped establish Local Action Groups (LAGs), elaborate Local Development Strategies and provided EU grants to over 200 development initiatives. As a result, throughout the project implementation, more than 600 permanent job opportunities were created in all three municipalities.
Since 2015, in the framework of the EU ENPARD programme in Georgia, eight Local Actions Groups have been created (in Borjomi, Lagodekhi, Kazbebgi, Dedoplistskaro, Tetritskaro, Akhalkalaki, Keda and Khulo municipalities), which, in collaboration with the EU partner organizations, are successfully implementing rural development projects. Up to 400 initiatives have already been funded by EU through their direct involvement country-wide. These initiatives are boosting production and services in the areas of agriculture, tourism, social and rural infrastructure and environment. They have already provided better employment to over 1000 rural households and benefited more than 10,000 people across the country. Currently, the EU’s LEADER methodology is being introduced and Local Action Groups established in four additional municipalities (Akhmeta, Tsalka, Tskaltubo and Mestia).