Georgia + 1 more

OCHA Situation Report for Georgia Nov 1999

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New Approach to IDP Assistance
The government of Georgia, and the United Nations is launching a New Approach to IDP Assistance. The New Approach recognises the inviolable right of all refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to return to their homes in a secure and dignified manner and without preconditions. Absent such an environment, the New Approach also recognises the inviolable right of all IDPs to be treated equally and in the same manner as all Georgian citizens. Categorisation as an IDP need not result in social, political and economic marginalisation, as is now often the case.

More specifically, the New Approach will favour work within several key sectors: accommodation, income generation, and access to social services. Work and investment in these sectors is expected to substantially enhance the longer term self-sustainability of IDPs and better prepare them for their return. Activity in the accommodation and income generation sectors can also be expected to generate positive effects for the overall economy in the form of new capital and employment opportunities.

It is realised however, that at present, information regarding these key areas is incomplete and in need of collation and cross-sectoral analysis. Additionally, a more up-to-date socio-economic profile of IDPs is considered necessary, along with a more thorough analysis of how legal issues impact on IDPs. The first phase of New Approach activity, therefore, shall be an assessment, designed to organise and elaborate on the existing information. The assessment shall also consider how community development approaches may be best adopted in any potential interventions.

For more information regarding the New Approach please contact, Mr. Brian Patrick Keane, Head of Office, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Assistance to Persons Displaced by the Fighting in the North Caucasus

According to local authorities approximately 4,000 persons have crossed into Georgia from the Russian Federation in the period 15 September to 10 November, following the resumption of armed conflict in the North Caucasus. People are primarily crossing on foot through a high mountain pass into the village of Shatili and then continuing onward into the Akhmeta district of Kakheti. There have also been reports of some persons crossing at Larsi into the Tianeti district.

The migrants have been separated into three general categories; 1) Ethnic Chechens who were born in Georgia, possess Georgian citizenship, but have been living in Chechnya to take advantage of business opportunity (economic migrants). Due to recent events, they have returned to Georgia, where many have friends and family. 2) Ethnic Chechens who were born in Georgia, possessed Soviet propiskas for Chechnya, and registered as citizens of the Russian Federation after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, or still posses Soviet identification cards that indicate Russian citizenship. 3) Chechens, Russians, Ingush, Azeris who have no prior links with Georgia. A number of the people in categories one and two are Kists, a
Chechen-Ingushetian ethnic group that has historically inhabited the Pankisivalley. Kist is the Georgian word for this group, and they refer to themselves as Vainakh.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement continue humanitarian assistance to displaced persons.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is distributing essential drugs to ambulatory clinics in Duisi and Jakolo, as well as 7 MT of winter clothing and 3,200 blankets. Georgian Red Cross staff have been seconded to the Akhmeta area to assist with distribution. In the next 2-4 weeks, they may provide displaced persons with hygiene parcels if required. The organisation anticipates conducting an updated assessment addressing clothing, blankets, and hygiene and heating needs in addition to other sectors.

On 5 November, UNHCR distributed stoves, stove pipes, kitchen sets, mattresses, plastic sheets, soap, sanitary napkins, and tool kits.

Information Sharing Meeting on Community Development Held

On 19 November 1999, OCHA hosted a half-day workshop on community development initiatives in Georgia. The workshop was a follow-up to the one-day workshop organised by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (the Federation) on 16 September, and a planning meeting for organisations working in community development held by OCHA on 5 October. The workshop was attended by representatives from donor agencies, international organisations, and international and local NGOs.

Each organisation that is currently implementing community development programmes provided a ten-minute presentation on their projects. Each presentation was designed to touch upon the themes outlined at the Federation workshop; coordination, what kind of issues community development projects address, target populations (i.e. IDPs, general population), kinds of inputs provided, the potential for tension among communities and beneficiaries, means of including community input in the design and implementation of programmes, means of gathering and incorporating community input and feedback; indicators of success, the level of IDP participation in community meetings, and methods used by different agencies to access IDP populations.

After the presentations, agencies engaged in a plenary session to further examine common issues important to their programmes and chart future directions for coordination. In order to ensure that community based organisations in the regions are able to participate in discussions on community development, it was decided to hold regional information sharing meetings on community development on a regular basis. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) agreed to host the meeting in Kutaisi, Counterpart International, which is to be the rotating chair for the next NGO coordination meeting in Zugdidi, will ensure time is devoted to community development. OCHA will hold meetings in Gori and Tskhinvali.

It was also decided that OCHA would hold a series of issue oriented seminars each focusing on different themes important to community development, such as: social services, education, health; government; civil society; and micro-enterprise. For each meeting a panel of experts on the theme will be invited to provide presentations and answer questions. The first such meeting will be held in late January in Tbilisi.

During the meeting OCHA distributed a matrix of current and forthcoming community development projects in Georgia compiled on the basis of questionnaires filled in by organisations previous to the meeting. For additional information and copies of the matrix please contact Ms. Sarah Logan, Field Adviser, at OCHA, UN House, Tbilisi.

Convention on the Rights of the Child Celebrated in Tbilisi

On 13 November, more than 100 children from shelters in Tbilisi for street children, and from an orphanage for disabled children were treated like VIPs. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with a group of local and international companies, including Swissair, Sheraton, British Petroleum, and Cinema 21 organised a day of activities for these children to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Convention on the Ri ghts of the Child.

The children attended a cartoon show at the central cinema. After the show they were hosted at the Metechi Sheraton Hotel, where a special reception was organised for them and finally, a scenic 50-minute tour was provided over the Caucasus Mountains in a Swissair plane. The children were extremely happy, as this was the first chance for them to fly. The children were accompanied by their favourite puppet chaperones who entertained the kids during the flight and arranged a special show for them in the Sheraton. Children from different schools in Georgia who demonstrated a good knowledge of the Convention also joined their peers from the shelters. 10 children who were essay winners in a competition sponsored by UNICEF had a chance to participate in all the activities planned for this day. The subject of the essays was the Convention on the Rights of the Child and children's vision of their rights.

Women-leaders from the Caucasus Work Together

The Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe (IDEE), funded by the United States Information Agency (USIA), is organising a series of workshops entitled: "Working together - Networking Women in the Caucasus." IDEE's partner NGO in Georgia is the IDP Women Association. The project is also supported by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in Georgia.
The project has selected twenty-four qualified women from Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia who work on women's issues or in civic, ethnic-minority or issue-based groups, to participate in three intensive three-day workshops in Georgia. The selection of participants was made by country organisers and American partners on the basis of application forms. Trainers and leaders are invited from different countries of Eastern Europe and from the USA. The main themes of the workshops are: means of establishing and strengthening NGOs; developing strategies and implementing projects; using modern technology to interact with and assist organisations with similar interests.

The first workshop was held from 28 to 30 September, in Likani, focusing on the fundamentals of organisation building and identification of priorities and missions.

The second workshop was conducted from 26 to 28 November. It touched upon advocacy issues and ways of presenting information to the public. Participants agreed on creating working groups on different topics, such as: "A Caucasus without IDPs and refugees," "The Participation of civic populations in democracy building in Kvemo Kartli," "Reconciliation seminars for women - informal leaders," and "the 21st century AGA (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan): women-leaders for women's rights." The joint work will be co-ordinated by country leaders. The IDP Women Association will be responsible in Georgia, Pen Centre - in Armenia, and the Society for Protection of Women's Rights on Honour of Dilyara Alieva will co-ordinate in Azerbaijan.

It is expected that the third and final workshop will be conducted in early 2000, to raise awareness on networking, collaborative action, and the use of information and communications technology.

SECTORS

Capacity Building

The Ministry of Education, with the support of UNICEF conducted basic and advance courses in capacity building seminars for social work organisations from 18 to 22 October and from 1 to 5 November. The training courses aim to facilitate the government programme on assisting children in need. UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry of Education held an eight-day train the trainer seminar for a core group of 20 people including education officers, psychologists, care-givers and official representatives from teachers' training institute. After completion of the course the members of the core group are expected to train a new group of professionals by disseminating information gained during the course. The trained professionals will then be capable of rendering assistance to street children, disabled children, children from institutions, delinquent children and schoolchildren with behavioural problems.

UNICEF together with the Thomson Foundation, a UK-based journalist training school that provides practical intensive media training in developing countries and emerging democracies, and Inter-news Georgia has started a workshop for TV journalists based on the Thomson Foundation training Kit "Women and Children in Vision". The training is taking place in Kutaisi and will last from 10 till 22 November. Twelve journalists and cameramen from Tbilisi-based TV stations as well as from other regions of Georgia will benefit from the training, which is designed to assist journalists in the development of reporting skills, with the ultimate aim of creating a global network of informed national level journalists.

From 2 to 4 November, the United Methodists Committee on Relief (UMCOR) conducted capacity building workshops. The workshops were carried out within the framework of UMCOR's Youth House project which receives funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The Youth House Project Director conducted the capacity building workshops with project staff and 10 additional local NGO participants in Sukhumi. The topics included organisational structuring, board development and project planning and development. UMCOR plans to continue this series of training after the new year, which will include management and financial systems development, proposal writing, public relations, fundraising, strategic planning and human resource management. Subsequently, it is anticipated that a similar series of training is anticipated to be conducted in Tbilisi.

The Horizonti Foundation, funded by USAID, has published a manual entitled "The Government and the Third Sector," and a book on management titled "Towards Organisational Management." The first book is designed to familiarise local NGOs with existing models of interaction between government and the non-governmental sector in the world's developed countries. The second book makes available the knowledge accumulated by Horizonti Foundation (formerly the Initiative for Social Action and Renewal (ISAR)) employees over the past five years regarding the establishment and development of the third sector. It is expected that the book will foster the advancement of knowledge about the structure of NGOs, strategic planning, project writing, financial management, identifying local sources of financing, and interaction between NGOs and the mass-media.

For additional information please contact the Horizonti Foundation. Tel.: (995 32) 29 29 55.

The local NGO "Sapekhurebi" (Stages) funded by the World Vision International established a wood carving workshop in Martkhopi for the residents of the Martkhopi orphanage. The project aims to provide children with professional skills by teaching them wood carving and elementary carpentry for free.

Food

The Khoni House of Mercy, supported by Counterpart International and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) provides 130 vulnerable orphans and elderly persons with a daily free meal.

Health

From 9 to 19 November, Counterpart International delivered medical equipment and medical supplies to the Saberio ambulance station. The Gori city hospital received medical bedside tables and electro-surgical knives. The Kodori Gorge hospital was also assisted with syringes, needles, and medicines. From 19 to 29 November, Counterpart International delivered a vehicle and various medical supplies to the Ozurgeti children's hospital. The Tbilisi Medical-Diagnostic Centre named after A. A. Athens was also assisted with medicines.

Human Rights

The local NGO "Human Rights in Georgia" and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (Great Britain) established a human rights information and documentation centre. The centre will be accessible for all NGOs working on human rights issues, as well as students, teachers, lawyers and other interested individuals. The centre plans to have free hotline onsultations on legal and human rights issues. For additional information please contact the centre at: (995 32) 22 52 00.

The Association of the Disabled of Zugdidi, funded by UNV, began implementation of a project "Let us Know our Rights." The project aims to provide socially vulnerable disabled persons, both IDPs and locals residing in the Zugdidi district, with information about the rights of the disabled foreseen in the legislation of Georgia. The project also envisages creating a hotline for free legal consultations, and publishing booklets for the disabled regarding their rights and privileges.

Multi-sectoral Assistance to Vulnerable Children

On 29 November, a one-month weekend school for IDP orphans was opened in Zugdidi. The school offers extra-curricular studies to children. The project is funded by the Zugdidi-based NGO "International Association for Children's Assistance and Development."

Psychological Rehabilitation

The local NGO "Empatia," funded by UNV, is implementing a project "Psychological Rehabilitation for Prisoners" for 30 women prisoners in the Tbilisi prison for women. The project envisages rehabilitation of women prisoners, reconstruction of their value system, and personal development. The project is also designed to develop a new model of the psychological attitude towards prisoners in society.

Rehabilitation

IRC community participation and construction programme teams have completed rehabilitation of the Abegati bridge within the framework of the Abegati community bridge project.

Shelter

Within the framework of the USAID funded Winter Heating Assistance Programme (GWHAP) 126,000 vulnerable families Georgia-wide, excluding Abkhazia and South Ossetia, will receive electricity free of charge in the coming winter. The programme is implemented by the Counterpart International.

From 9 to 19 November, Counterpart International distributed clothing to ethnic Greeks residing in Rustavi, Tsintskharo, Chiatura, Gardabani, Tbilisi, and Iraga, as well as to 78 vulnerable persons in Kutaisi. IDPs in Tskhvarichamia were assisted with blankets and clothing. Children at the Dusheti boarding school received blankets, clothing, books and stoves. From19 to 29 November, Counterpart International distributed clothing, boots and sleeping bags to socially vulnerable persons and people working at the electric-power station in Tkhibuli. Clothing and shoes were also delivered to 65 IDP families residing in Signagi. The Ozurgeti kindergarten was assisted with chairs, paper, books and pens.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Save the Children Federation, Inc. (SC) is re-soliciting applications from qualified US organisations wishing to access USAID funding for a small and medium enterprise (SME) income generation project in Western Georgia, specifically Samegrelo, Imereti, and Guria regions. Proposed projects will assist vulnerable communities affected by the conflict in Abkhazia and contribute to USAID's Strategic Objective 3.1: to reduce human suffering in targeted communities.

Through the Georgia Assistance Initiative (GAI) Programme, SC will serve as an umbrella agency to respond, in a timely and cost-effective manner, to the most crucial and evolving needs of communities affected by the conflict in Abkhazia.

As of 10:00 a.m. Tbilisi time, this solicitation can be downloaded at: http://irakli.tripod.com/index.html or at the following site by 6:00 p.m. US Eastern Standard Time: http://www.savethechildren.org

The Tbilisi Youth House announces the 1st Annual Art Exhibition and Theatrical Extravaganza for Friday, 10 December, at 7:00 PM. The event is designed to celebrate the transition of the Millenniums with a dramatic performance, art exhibition and reception/dance. It seeks to raise resources to impact the lives of local and IDP vulnerable youth in Georgia. The event will take place at the Tbilisi Theatre for Youth, 99/1, Agmashenebeli Ave. Tickets are available at the Tbilisi Youth House, 15,
Poti St. or can be requested by phone at: (995 32) 35-14-46; (899) 55-32-41; (899) 56-76-22.

The Disabled Persons Assisting Union is a local non-governmental organisation registered in 1997. The organisation provides disabled persons and their families with medicines, and helps them to receive free medical service.

Currently the organisation is working on designing a project aimed at enhancing employment opportunities for disabled persons. The organisation is interested in cooperation with all interested organisations.

Address: 142a, Tsereteli Ave. Tbilisi. Tel.: (995 32) 94 02 36/39; 94 29 94.

Independent Society "Human Rights in Georgia" within the framework of its project "Human Rights - Information Network" is designing web pages for NGOs working in the field of Human Rights. Interested organisations may contact the Society at:

E-mail: ishrg@caucasus.net ishrg@altern.org ucha@altern.org Page at the internet: http://www.fly.to/ishrg

Tel.: (995 32) 33 10 04; 22 52 00; 899 50 80 36.

Produced by OCHA Georgia. For more information, please contact Ms. Nino Zhvania, Information Officer.
Tel/fax : 995-32-959516; Tel: 995-32-943163; e-mail: unocha@unocha.org.ge

Please note that the office has additional new Tel/Fax: (7517) 122 20 03, which can be used to call or send faxes from abroad only. Old Tel/Fax numbers are still operational Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Georgia Field Coordination Unit UN House, 9 Eristavi Street, Tbilisi, Georgia Tel/Fax: 995-32-943163 / 995-32 959516 / 7517-122-2002

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.