The British Government's Know How Fund (KHF) is financing a two-year project entitled "Family Allotments for the Urban Poor." The project started in June 1999, in Rustavi and in the Tbilisi district of Varketili. The project is managed for the KHF by "Elkana," a local NGO engaged in organic farming activities. Two local community-based organisations (CBOs), "Arishi" and "Varketili" work with Elkana on project implementation. The project's objective is to demonstrate the value of kitchen gardens as a means of improving food security for needy families. As such, it offers a new model of social care to local municipalities.
The project is implemented as follows. A group of municipality-owned land plots are made available to vulnerable families for temporary use. Specifically, in Rustavi the Mayor's office has made available 3.5 hectares of land for temporary use by 102 families, approximately 300m2 per family. In the case of Varketili, the Samgori Governor's office contributed 3.5 hectares of land to 100 families, again 300m2 per family. In both areas the government is able to make the plots available by covering the leasing costs normally associated with rental of municipal land.
The plots that have been donated were previously used as garbage and litter sites. Arishi and Varketili mobilised the beneficiary families to clear the land and create healthy environments. In Rustavi, additional improvements have also been made. The Rustavi plot has been cleaned, ploughed, and fenced. An irrigation system with a pump on the bank of the river Mtkvari has also been installed. Electrical lines have been run to the pump, and guard booths have been put in place. The World Food Programme (WFP) assisted in the activities by including families that provided labour in its food-for-work programme. Each family received flour, sugar and oil according to the number of days they worked.
In addition to the physical improvements organic fertiliser has been applied to the plot. Onion and garlic was planted in the autumn. Seeds were supplied by Elkana. Spring seeds have already been purchased and distributed. It is anticipated that the beneficiary families will grow up to 30 different vegetable and orchard crops. In mid February, the beneficiaries planted strawberry seeds. The KHF hopes that harvest will satisfy not only the demands of the families but will also give the beneficiaries an opportunity to stock supplies for the winter and to share their food with others.
Work on the Varketili site began in November, because of difficulties related to the transfer of the land. The families, however, have already cleared the plot, and it has been levelled, ploughed, and fenced. WFP plans to involve the beneficiary families in food-for-work projects for the installation of electricity, and irrigation systems. It is expected that spring sowing will start on time.
It is anticipated that as a result of the project the food security of beneficiary families will improve. Participation of unemployed, single persons, and pensioners is expected to help their psychological rehabilitation. Overall, the project's activities will contribute to the formation of communities that are able to solve social and economic problems. The project also envisages capacity building of NGOs, the CBOs, and the beneficiaries. Through participation, consultations and seminars, the NGOs and the CBOs will gain experience in the principles of organisational management, cooperation with governmental structures, and community mobilisation. The beneficiaries will be provided with agricultural training by Elkana. The training will teach the participants how to obtain better harvests.
It is hoped that successful implementation of the project will lead local authorities to adopt and use this model, together with central authorities, thus helping vulnerable families to help themselves.
USAID and the International Federation Assist IDPs
On 24 February 2000, an agreement between the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (the International Federation) was finalised at the Public Defender's Office of Georgia. USAID will provide USD 1.2 million to the International Federation which will permit strong assistance to the internally displaced in Georgia to continue throughout the year 2000.
Funding under this agreement will support the following three activities which will be implemented by the International Federation through the Georgian Red Cross Society: the community development programme; the rehabilitation of IDP centres; and a vital survey of IDP conditions in Georgia.
The community development programme which started in 1999, will be continued in 2000, to encourage self-respect and self-support through community activities, vocational skills, training remunerated employment, household food production and community organisation among IDPs in 30 of the larger collective centres (20 supported under the 1999 community development programme and 10 new collective centres throughout Georgia excluding Abkhazia). It is anticipated that around 45,000 persons will be assisted within this project.
The rehabilitation of 40 IDP centres is planned in 2000, improving the lives of 10,000 persons. The project will concentrate on buildings requiring urgent repair. The project beneficiaries will participate in the construction work which is anticipated to double the project's impact. The programme also includes maintenance and supervision of rehabilitation after work is completed.
USAID support will also enable the implementation of a vital survey of IDP conditions in Georgia today.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) has funded the project "NGO English School" organised by the Abkhazia-based NGO: "Rehabilitation Centre." It is a follow-up project to the UNV-supported "Winter School" programme. The "NGO English School" project was conceived as a way to increase English-speaking representation from Abkhazia's non-governmental sector at international/regional conferences and workshops, and to allow them greater access to English-language materials related to the non-governmental sector. The project will be implemented in Sukhumi.
From 19 to 29 February, Counterpart International delivered medical equipment and supplies to the Tbilisi TB centre, Mtskheta regional hospital, Kutaisi Disabled Rehabilitation centre, Kutaisi hospital #1, and the Tbilisi Institute of Surgery.
Multi-sectoral Assistance to Vulnerable Population
From 19 to 29 February, Counterpart International delivered individual food packages and shoes to World War II veterans residing in Tbilisi's Isani and Saburtalo districts, and to vulnerable persons in Tbilisi's Mtatsminda and Didube districts. Clothing was donated to the Kutiri mental hospital. Zugdidi's administration received chairs, paper and books for kindergartens. A children boarding school in Kharagauli was assisted with furniture, mattresses and clothing.
On 23 February 2000, International Relief and Development (IRD) hosted an information sharing meeting for international and local NGOs. The meeting was sponsored by IRD and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). During the meeting, organisations decided to create working groups that will meet on a monthly basis, while the general meetings will be held every two to three months. Co-ordinators were identified for three working groups: Education - Cultural Education Centre (CEC); Medical - IRD; and Community Development - the International Federation. In order to participate in one of these working groups, please contact the relevant agency. Minutes from the meeting will be available from IRD or OCHA.
The Georgian National Food Security Policy Framework, elaborated with the assistance of the European Community Food Security Programme in Georgia and the European Food Security Network (RESAL), was approved by Presidential order #26 on 28 January 2000. As such, the Policy Framework shall now be called "Main Orientations of the Georgian National Food Security Programme." The document explains the principal strategies which the government of Georgia is committed to implement, in order to achieve food security in the country. The document includes policies in various sectors including macroeconomics, land ownership, land use, credit, finances, and consumer protection.
Within the next three months a detailed plan of action (defining short, medium and long term objectives, required resources, implementing bodies and funding) is to be elaborated and presented to a government session for approval.
OCHA would like to announce that in the interest of facilitating coordination, it will now include an announcement in the last Information Bulletin of each month listing meetings on humanitarian and transitional issues to be held in the upcoming month by OCHA. Other agencies that wish to list meetings should contact Ms. Nino Zhvania, Information Officer, OCHA.
OCHA planned meetings in March:
Tuesday, 7 March - Information meeting on vulnerability studies, Tbilisi; Participation is open to agencies presently engaged in vulnerability studies. For more information please contact Mr. Brian Patrick Keane, Head of Office, OCHA;
Friday, 17 March - OCHA Community Development Seminar, Tbilisi. Participation is open to agencies working on community development programmes. For additional information please contact Ms. Sara Logan, Field Advisor, OCHA.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributions are welcome and should reach OCHA, 9 Eristavi St., Tbilisi by 12.00hrs. on 9th, 19th, and 29th of each month.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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