22 February 2021. Keda, Adjara – 170 local development initiatives were supported and over 500 new jobs created through the EU-supported Local Action Groups (LAGs) established in Keda and Khulo municipalities in Adjara. The ENPARD’s rural development projects, implemented by the Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN) in Keda and Caritas Czech Republic in Khulo since 2017, helped mobilize local communities and initiate various social and economic actions to improve lives in rural Adjara.
The results and achievements of the four-year work of “Keda Leader” and “ENPARD Khulo” projects were summarised at a joint closure event organized in the municipality of Keda. The event was officially opened by Mr. Giorgi Surmanidze, Minister of Agriculture of Adjara AR, Ms. Ketevan Khutsishvili, Project Officer of Rural Development Programme, Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, Mr. Levan Gorgiladze, the Mayor of Keda Municipality, Ms. Nana Janashia, Executive Director of Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN) and Mr. Jan Blinka, Head of Mission of Caritas Czech Republic in Georgia. The speakers introduced key highlights of the EU-supported rural development projects in Adjara, role of the Local Action Groups (LAGs) in community mobilisation and empowerment, implementation of successful local development initiatives and future plans.
“I’m happy to be in Adjara and have this wonderful opportunity to see the results of the four-year work of Keda and Khulo Local Action Groups. We have supported these LAGs to work closely with the government, civil society and private sectors, define local needs and engage communities in development actions. The greatest achievement for us is to see many successful local initiatives, but most importantly, increased confidence of rural population in better future. We believe that the local communities will build on this and continue cooperation for stronger and more sustainable local development,” stated Ketevan Khutsishvili, Project Officer of Rural Development Programme, Delegation of the European Union to Georgia.
“The Keda LEADER project has been successful in promoting inclusive rural growth and improving the well-being of rural communities via the implementation of innovative approaches that generate diverse employment opportunities, promote climate smart practices, develop integrated natural resource management, and protect the environment. Over 90 local businesses and entrepreneurs have been supported in Keda that are already operating successfully. We are glad to have supported environmentally friendly and climate resilient actions and initiatives such as youth empowerment, eco-tourism, green energy, and agro-tourism,“ – said Nana Janashia, CENN Executive Director.
"ENPARD Khulo project brought significant improvement in business environment, employment, and overall quality of live in Khulo municipality. Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic, our project contributed to the development of over 60 businesses initiatives creating more than 300 jobs, as well as mobilized and empowered hundreds of local citizens, including youth, women and persons with disabilities. It has been a great pleasure to experience such positive development!" – stated Jan Blinka, Head of Mission, Caritas Czech Republic in Georgia.
Key achievements of the projects are the establishment of Local Action Groups (LAGs) in Keda and Khulo municipalities. The LAGs have mobilized local communities, brought together civil society, private and public sector representatives and designed local development strategies to meet the local priorities and needs. The EU supported total of 170 development initiatives (97 in Keda and 73 initiatives in Khulo) and helped create over 500 new jobs through the LAGs in both municipalities. These initiatives promote local entrepreneurship and diversification of economic and social activities in various areas, including agriculture, tourism, infrastructure development, education, environment, municipal services, etc.
After the event, the guest visited several EU-supported rural development initiatives in Keda municipality – family hotel and winery of Chateau Iveri, and a public school in the town of Keda, where the representatives of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Adjara Autonomous Republic, CENN, Democratic Institute and Keda LAG signed the Memorandum of Understanding to support the improvement of energy supply through energy efficiency technologies in 66 public schools of Keda municipality. The school is also a grant winner of the Keda LEADER project, as part of which a modern study space was set up within the school. The space was equipped with modern technologies and furniture and aims to create a shared space for pupils where they can develop various skills.
The project “Optimising the Potential of Local Assets for Rural Development of Keda Municipality” (Keda Leader), is implemented with the financial support of the EU by CENN in partnership with the Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia (CSRDG), Institute of Democracy (IoD) and the Austrian Institute for Regional Studies and Spatial Planning (ÖIR).
The Project “Promotion of Rural Development and Diversification in Khulo Municipality” (ENPARD Khulo) is implemented with the financial support of the EU by Caritas Czech Republic in partnership with Croatian non-governmental organization HMRR and PMC Research Center.
The EU is supporting agriculture and rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 234.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to provide economic opportunities in rural area and reduce poverty in Georgia. More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge and www.eu4Georgia.ge. More information on Keda LAG is available at www.kedalag.ge and Khulo LAG at www.khulolag.ge
3-4 February 2021 - With the support of the EU, Keda and Khulo LAGs held Upper Adjara Business Forum “Invest in Mountainous Ajara”. The event was organised in the framework of the EU-funded ENPARD projects “Keda LEADER” and “ENPARD Khulo” by the implementing organisations CENN and Caritas Czech Republic.
The Business Forum aimed to help local entrepreneurs expand business networks, support economic diversification and stimulate investments and innovations in Mountainous Adjara. The event focused on two main themes - Agriculture and Tourism – and entailed panel discussions and business to business (B2B) meetings.
During the forum, the participants had an opportunity to meet innovative and successful businesses in the tourism and agriculture sectors in Upper Ajara. The economic potential, opportunities, and challenges were also discussed during the event.
“Ajara is one of the target regions of the EU’s rural development programme. We work together with the government of Ajara, partners and local civil society organizations to create new economic opportunities, increase employment and promote economic diversification in rural areas. More importantly, the aim is to make these new opportunities sustainable that will continue to function beyond the EU funded programmes” – stated Ketevan Khutsishvili.
“The Keda LEADER project has been successful in promoting inclusive rural growth and improving the well-being of rural communities via the implementation of innovative approaches, which generated diverse employment opportunities. The aim of the business forum is to to stimulate investments and business partnerships, which will contribute to strengthening the local economic activities.” – Nana Janashia, CENN Executive Director.
The event was attended by local entrepreneurs, leading businesses in both sectors, international organisations and representatives of the government. A facilitated networking also took place within the forum, where companies and the audience members had an opportunity to register for the evening networking session and present their work to the ENPARD beneficiries. Several companies registered such as TBC and Georgian Travel Guide and presented new opportunities to the beneficiaries.
Due to the restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the event took place online via “Invest in Mountainous Ajara” zoom platform and Keda LAG facebook.
The project, Keda Leader, is implemented with the financial support from the EU by CENN in partnership with the Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia (CSRDG), Institute of Democracy (IoD) and the Austrian Institute for Regional Studies and Spatial Planning (ÖIR).
Starting from June 2017, Caritas Czech Republic in Georgia (CCRG) with the support EU, in partnership with Croatian Rural Development Network (HMRR) and PMC Research Center, is implementing project “Rural Development and Diversification in Khulo Municipality” in Khulo municipality.
The EU is supporting agriculture and rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 179.5 million (2013-2022). The main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in Georgia. More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge
Keda LAG, is starting a new project: Connectivity and Mobility for Fostering Rural Resilience.
The project is financed by the EU ENPARD III programme and supported by UNDP’s initiative Smart Villages.
The covid-19 pandemic has posed serious threats and challenges to the business sector, particularly small and medium sized businesses in the tourism and agriculture sectors.
In response to the setbacks created by the global pandemic, Keda LAG developed an innovative project which aims to strengthen local businesses by supporting them in networking, connectivity, and in marketing local products and services both within and outside of the municipality.
As part of the project, an interactive bilingual online platform will be established that includes detailed information regarding local businesses in the tourism, agriculture, and non-agriculture sectors. Various service providers will also appear on the portal. Each business will have a profile with a detailed description of the products and services they offer to customers.
The platform will connect local businesses and facilitate their networking capabilities, allowing for the mutual strengthening and marketing of their products/services outside the municipality.
The platform will also incorporate a News Section concerning new opportunities in different sectors and prodive updates on new regulations, including those related to COVID-19.
An important aspect of the project will be the strengthening the digital and business skills of the local businesses in terms of the following topics: operating online platforms, online services, modern smart technologies, and online marketing. In addition, business skills trainings will include topics that help to build participants’ understand of management and economics in order to ensure the effective operation of their businesses.
The project will work to brand local services and products for a broader market and to make them more attractive for consumers. Furthermore, in order to support the marketing of the tourism potential of the municipality, there are plans to install an interactive display in two significant villages of the municipality – Makhuntseti, a popular tourist destination, and Vaio, which is part of the Georgian wine route. The interactive displays will be synchronized with the online platform.
Keda LAG was founded in 2017 with the support of EU ENPARD program and CENN. The organization is a local non-profit (non-commercial) legal entity and is composed of representatives from the private, public, and civic sectors. Keda LAG aims to support rural development and implements the following activities: identifying socio-economic development strategy for the community, developing and implementing, and supporting local projects in all sectors through grants.