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