OCHA Georgia: IDP Bulletin Issue No. 2

News and Press Release
Originally published


January 2003

Programs for IDPs in Georgia:

  • Updates on the New Approach to IDP Assistance Initiative; Three Proposed Priority Studies/Reviews
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
  • Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
Hope Slipping for Georgia's IDPs by Refugees International
When Is a Refugee Not a Refugee?
Brief Summary of the Working Group III Meeting


  • Action by Churches Together (ACT) Appeal
Interesting Information:
  • InterAction Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation of Displaced Children
IDP Statistics
Useful Links

Programs for IDPs in Georgia:

Updates on the New Approach to IDP Assistance Initiative

During the October 2002 retreat of the Steering Committee of the New Approach (NA), the Government and donor members agreed that the NA had become misunderstood in the minds of many people, including some in Government and in the IDP community. This mistaken understanding was that the NA was primarily a major donor funding initiative for IDP assistance.

This is partly due to misunderstanding about the Georgia Self-Reliance Fund (GSRF) of the New Approach. The GSRF is only one part of the New Approach, and is of very modest size - US$1.25 million spread over several years. The GSRF focuses on developing models of assistance that could be replicated or built upon in future assistance efforts.

More fundamentally, it is important that there is a broader understanding of the two key aspects of the New Approach. The first is that the New Approach is a Government-led process, assisted by the donor members. Second, the New Approach involves a range of actions, which developing assistance models (such as GSRF) is just one. At the heart of the New Approach is the development and implementation by the Government of a comprehensive strategy, assisted by its donor partners, for addressing IDP needs and advocating for more appropriate policies.

In order to strengthen the New Approach work, and in particular, support the Government to better undertake the leading role, the NA donors created the NA Support Unit (SU) with staff jointly from OCHA and UNDP. The NA Support Unit will work under the direction of the Steering Committee (SC) and under the direct supervision of the Chair of SC. It will provide secretariat support to SC, coordinate needs assessment and research, develop proposed strategies and options for NA actions, develop/review and monitor GSRF projects, facilitate NA policy and advocacy efforts, and elaborate on NA public participation and awareness strategies.

In line with the creation of the SU, the Government identified several persons who could function as counterparts to the Support Unit. These persons, members of the Governmental Working Group, were designated by the State Chancellery, Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation of Georgia, Ministry of Justice of Georgia, and the Cabinet of Ministers of the Abkhaz Government in Exile. They, and the Support Unit, will work together to identify and obtain relevant information (including from within the Government), analyse and draw conclusions and recommendations from this information, and prepare and present the reports on the findings and recommendations.

The SU activities are more fully described in the next article 'Three Priority Studies/Reviews'.

Three Proposed Priority Studies/Reviews

As a result of the October 2002 New Approach Steering Committee retreat, it was agreed that the newly created NA SU would propose priority actions for the Unit and Government counterparts to facilitate needs assessment, applied research, and development of options for actions (by the Steering Committee and/or others). This work will also facilitate developing a common vision between the Government and donors regarding IDP needs, their situation, and possible actions to improve their situation in key areas.

The following three studies have been proposed to be undertaken over the next 3-4 months:

- Vulnerability of IDPs (to better target the work of the NA, both regarding exploring possible assistance models as well as in terms of advocacy for actions of others to address some of these needs);

- Rights of IDPs (to identify significant areas where IDPs do not enjoy the rights of Georgian citizenship, and to promote actions to alleviate these constraints);

- Economic self-reliance of IDPs (to have a clearer picture about the range of economic self-reliance activities that IDPs might be involved with, and in particular to identify those where specific actions (e.g., assistance programs, changes in Government policies and procedures, etc.) might be most effective).

For each study, the primary work will involve collecting, analyzing, and synthesizing available information within the Government and donor community; conducting interviews with key players from the Government, donor and NGO community to draw on their experience and knowledge relevant to these areas; undertaking field visits to have a clearer picture of IDPs' needs, studying the cases of violation of IDPs' rights in regions, as well as identifying the range of economic activities that might increase IDP self-reliance.

The study on rights of IDPs is being jointly undertaken by the SU and the Governmental Working Group. The study will include following themes: access to land, access to credit, political rights and determination of an IDP status. The report on each theme will encompass the officially existing documents on the subject, cases in practice vs special cases, awareness/opinions of IDPs regarding the given subject matter, "reality checks" in urban and rural areas, and statistics. The study will be completed by the end of February 2003.

As for the studies on the IDP vulnerability and economic self-reliance of IDPs, they will be conducted simultaneously by external consultants in cooperation with the Government counterparts.

We plan to include updates on and excerpts from all three studies in the next issues of the IDP Bulletin.

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation for the South Caucasus has been in the identification process of a 'transboundary' community development project covering four districts in Samegrelo and Abkhazia since November 2002. For this project, SDC set the following criteria to be fulfilled:

- The objective should concentrate on community development and income generation with an impact on the overall objective of the peaceful resolution of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. This is based on the assumption that a minimum of economic development and democratic structures on a community level increases the readiness of the partners to contribute to a peace agreement.

- There shall be a visible short to mid term impact. Emphasis should be given on the resolution of urgent community problems such as infrastructure (schools, etc.) or income generation (such as production and marketing of agricultural products, etc.).

- The project should involve one or more communities from the Zugdidi, Gali, Ochamchira and Tkvarcheli districts, although not limited to only these districts. Ideally, the involvement of all districts at the same time and on the same level should be anticipated. To the degree possible, links between those communities shall be encouraged and promoted.

- Partners shall be an NGO or a consortium of NGOs with proven professional experience in the region. Beneficiaries of the project are the selected communities. The selected communities should actively participate in the identification as well as implementation of the activities.

- Maximum duration of the project is three years. An extension is not excluded but not foreseen. The financial envelope is US$330,000 that can be split between several projects.

The final decision on project proposal(s) will be made in the end of March/beginning of April after a thorough review process is completed.

SDC funds three other projects that target the displaced population include. The first project is the Support of IDPs from Abkhazia Located in Collective Centers in Western Georgia, implemented by International Rescue Committee (IRC) from 1 July 2002 - 30 April 2003. The project constructs 19 houses for 19 families currently residing in three kindergartens in the Samegrelo region. The project implementation will rehabilitate the vacated kindergartens and restore them to their original use.

IRC also implements Shelter, Water, and Sanitation for Internally Displaced People in Samegrelo. Its timeframe is 1 December 2002 - 31 May 2003. The project supports integration and accommodation of IDPs in Anaklia and ensures availability of clean water and sanitary conditions for IDPs in the village Ingiri in Samegrelo. The project will include following components:

- Construction of permanent, adequate housing for 26 IDP families (118 individuals) in Anaklia;

- Creation of a self-identified and implemented community development project serving 26 integrated IDP families and 644 local Anaklia residents;

- Provision of potable water and sanitation facilities for 367 local and IDP families (1,884 individuals) living in the village Ingiri.

The third project - Rehabilitation of Living Space in Abkhazia is implemented by Première Urgence from 30 September 2002 - 1 October 2003. The project improves living conditions of the most vulnerable (handicapped, elderly, etc.) by rehabilitating their living spaces. The rehabilitation shall be carried out by local NGOs, ad hoc interest groups, etc., that will be supported in their implementation. Thus, the project will develop local capacities in implementing similar programs for future.

The information was kindly provided by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Coordination Office for the South Caucasus

Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)

The need for upgrading and training on what is seen as "modern/new technology" within the field of education is great and virtually unmet in Georgia. Teachers are underpaid or not paid, the schools are in very bad conditions, and school materials are scarce and of bad quality. Teachers are not motivated. This is true for the Georgian education system as a whole, but even more so for the so-called displaced schools and teachers. Here problems are even more acute, as the overwhelming majority of both teachers and pupils have experienced severe traumas from war and displacement.

To address the need for additional teachers' training, innovative methods, improved capacities and skills of teachers, and the creation of a learner-centered environment in schools, NRC launched a project - 'Education/Teachers' Training in IDP/Mixed Communities' in January 2002. NRC created and trained 32 teachers (among them, 18 displaced teachers, 9 teachers from Abkhazia and 5 local teachers). These teachers formed five mobile teams of trainers, and they held 52 two-day trainings for IDP schoolteachers in 2002. These activities covered more than 800 schoolteachers in different regions of Georgia: Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Senaki, Zugdidi, Poti, Batumi and Abkhazia.

The training included the following topics:

  • Educational psychology with an emphasis on interactive methods
  • Creative teaching with a focus on "drama in education"
  • Human rights education based on books developed by NRC
  • HIV/AIDS awareness and gender questions (including trafficking)
Another NRC project - 'Human Rights Education in Georgia: Development of Textbooks', envisaged developing and publishing a package of books on Human Rights for the 8th grade in secondary schools. The package consisted of an auxiliary textbook for children "The Road to the Rights", a teacher's guide and a booklet for parents.

This textbook was the first textbook for Georgian pupils in Human Rights; all previously published materials in Human Rights Education (HRE) were only teachers' guides. Taking into account this fact, NRC proposed the project in question to address this gap.

Within the project framework, 120,000 textbooks, 120,000 booklets for parents and 40,000 teacher's cuides were printed in Georgian; 7,000 textbooks, 7,000 booklets for parents and 300 teacher's guides were printed in Russian.

It was the first package for the three target groups altogether: pupils, teachers and parents. Teachers and education experts have found it very useful for schools, and recommendations to prepare such packages for other subjects were made.

The project was financially supported by three donors: the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the Norwegian Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF), and implemented by the Norwegian Refugee Council Georgia Country Office (NRC) in cooperation with the Georgian Ministry of Education (MoE) in 2001-2002.

The package was developed by a group of authors, representing two local NGOs: Centre for Civic and Ecological Education (GAIA) and Georgian Centre for Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT).

The information was kindly provided by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Georgia Country Office

(pdf* format - 209 KB)

Produced by OCHA-Georgia.

For more information, please contact Coordination Assistant

Ms. Tamuna Tsivtsivadze
Tel/Fax: 99532-959516; Tel: 99532-943163; e-mail:

Contributions are welcome to OCHA-Georgia Office at UN House, 9 Eristavi St., Tbilisi 380079, Georgia

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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