New program provides financial and technical support to women in the Marneuli and Lagodekhi Municipalities
The Rural Development Agency is launching a new program, providing financial and technical support to women, who are willing to set up a greenhouse in the Marneuli and Lagodekhi Municipalities.
According to the administration of the Rural Development Agency, the program aims to integrate economically inactive women from Marneuli and Lagodekhi municipalities and help them to become full-fledged members of society, improve their socio-economic status and stimulate women's involvement in agricultural activities.
The pilot program was developed within the framework of the UN Women project " Women’s Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus". The Swiss and Austrian Development and Cooperation Agencies funded the project.
The total budget of the program amounts to USD 300,000, out of which USD 240,000 is donor financial resources, and USD 60,000 – is the participation of the Rural Development Agency.
According to the program, female beneficiaries will have the opportunity to set up a greenhouse on a small plot of land and produce agricultural products throughout the year for further sale.
The financing of the Agency shall be not more than 90%, not more than GEL 25,000 per beneficiary for setting up a greenhouse. Under the program, the plot of at least 200 square meters will be financed for the arrangement/building of a greenhouse.
The potential beneficiary can be an adult woman, not more than 60 years old, who owns or co-owns a plot of land not exceeding 5,000 square meters.
Within the program, technical assistance will be provided to the beneficiaries - a theoretical course on greenhouse management and maintenance of specific crops, also practical training for specific crops.
The priority will be given to those women who have the status of socially vulnerable or have a minor child(ren)while reviewing applications of the potential beneficiaries.
Armenia-Azerbaijan: EU calls for immediate cessation of hostilities along Line of Contact
The European Union has called for an immediate cessation of the hostilities which have broken out between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces around the Lachin corridor and other places along the Line of Contact. “Regrettably, these clashes already led to loss of life and injuries,” said a statement issued on 3 August.
“It is essential to de-escalate, fully respect the ceasefire and return to the negotiating table to seek negotiated solutions,” the statement added.
“The European Union remains committed to help overcome tensions and continue its engagement towards sustainable peace and stability in the South Caucasus,” it concluded.
Find out more
EU faces a difficult choice – where the pendulum will swing?
European Commission is drawing closer to presenting its opinion on candidate status to Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova – members of the Association Trio. Meanwhile, questions and suggestions are mounting how to proceed in this way to find a “golden mean” amidst the war in Ukraine and highly unpredictable geostrategic context.
The stakes are high and considering all circumstances the European Union (EU) faces a difficult but historical decision. While, it is premature to talk in which direction the scales will swing, it’s evident that either negative or some intermediary decision about on any of the applicant state, will significantly affect their geopolitical future in the short and mid-term perspective. What about Georgia – the sole strategic ally of the West in the South Caucasus, the situation with regard to the status, still remains unclear. While we watch Ukraine as arena of a brutal geopolitical competition between the West and Russia on the European theater, Georgia remains another arena of geopolitical rivalry between Russia and the West. The absence of war nowadays, doesn’t mean it will not be unleashed tomorrow, if Russia finds Georgia alienated by the West. Thus, it's safe to say that EU candidate status for Georgia is highly likely to strengthen the EU foothold in the region and have a far-reaching influence on the other states of the region.
Before the pendant conclusion of the European Commission about candidate status for Georgia some opinions are present both in Georgia and outside calling the EU on either refraining from granting the status to Georgia, or suggesting something transitional. These suggestions are largely generated by ongoing domestic political infighting in the country.
The benefits from granting candidate status to Georgia, which considerably outstrips other members of the Association Trio by the pace of fulfillment of the components of the EU Association Agreement appeared to be far more tangible, than conditional gains in case of refusal.
Let's put the questions specifically and directly. Whether it’s a prudent step to hold Georgia back from the candidate status, as some groups argue, and detach it somehow from the Association Trio in this truly extraordinary situation?
What will the EU gain and what will it lose if decides to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova, and say "NO" to Georgia, or give it something different? Hardly this “cold shower” from the EU would contribute to political stability in Georgia, which is apparently important for the EU in this turbulent geopolitical environment. Georgia’s opposition groups and their supporters are highly likely to use this “NO” to embark on mass anti-governmental protests and Georgia is expected to plunge into another cycle of confrontation, turbulence, and uncertainty, with the ensuing consequences. It’s hard to imagine that the EU would be satisfied with such state of affairs in its key partner in the region.
Refusal to grant Georgia candidate status under any plausible pretext, can significantly increase not only Euro-skepticism but outright anti-Western sentiments in a sizeable part of Georgian society, providing anti-Western forces with an excellent opportunity to increase their influence and strengthen their stance. Nowadays, they are quite industrious in creating an anti-European atmosphere in society. Will the EU be satisfied with this perspective?
Pinning hope that the refusal to give a candidate’s status will force Georgia’s ruling party to become more malleable to the EU demands looks unconvinced. Quite the contrary, the care for its own political future, will make the current government far more dutybound to implement the EU-recommended reforms. The idea cultivated by some Georgian and foreign pundits and politicians that Georgia will better meet EU standards under the new government after the pre-term elections, looks rather emotional than well-calculated. If consider the balance of political powers in Georgia, as well as composition of the current political landscape, this scenario looks unrealistic.
And, last but not least,the status of the candidate for EU membership is not an act of mercy for Georgia. It will give the country a strong and unequivocal signal from the EU to take the road to justice, peace and security, or be faced, even more than before, with tension and confrontation that would not be in the interests of any party. It’s time for making extraordinary but geopolitically far-sighted decisions.
Zaal Anjaparidze, political analyst, Tbilisi, Georgia
Switzerland launches Cooperation Programme for the South Caucasus 2022-2025
On 19 May 2022, H.E. Heidi Grau, Ambassador of Switzerland to Georgia, and Danielle Meuwly, Regional Director of Cooperation, presented a new Swiss Cooperation Programme for the South Caucasus 2022-2025. The Programme is a flagship document which defines the key priority areas of Swiss engagement for the period of 2022-2025. The event brought together the representatives of the Government, international and national partners and implementing agencies.
Switzerland, through its Cooperation Office in the South Caucasus with the regional office in Tbilisi, will implement the regional Cooperation Programme in the course of four years, 2022-2025. The focus of the Swiss engagement will be on four key areas: 1) promoting civic engagement and cooperation in the region, 2) strengthening democracy and public institutions, 3) improving economic development and creation of decent jobs, and 4) strengthening climate resilience and sustainable resource management. Gender equality and good governance will be considered in all relevant projects.
Switzerland is currently supporting more than 20 projects most of which kicked off within the framework of the previous Swiss Cooperation Strategy 2017-2021. At the end of 2021, as a result of Swiss-funded projects, more than 150’000 beneficiaries received additional incomes from agriculture, which amounted to about USD 34 million. Digital infrastructure was created in 63 municipalities, making digital public services available for about 1.5 million residents. Important analytical work on gender impact assessments and gender pay gap was undertaken to promote gender equality, for example.
The new Cooperation Programme 2022-2025 will build on past achievements and continue to make an effective contribution to the country's development pathways by initiating new projects in priority areas. In Georgia, Switzerland will continue strengthening the country’s economy by providing support to the agriculture sector, focusing on rural SMEs, women’s economic development in rural areas and vocational education and training related to agriculture. Governance, including migration, and local economic development will remain key areas of Swiss intervention. The Programme will also continue to pursue better climate adaptation and natural resource management focusing on forestry. Apart from these thematic focuses, Switzerland will further engage in conflict prevention, peace promotion, and strengthen human rights. It will also finance small initiatives by local NGOs on topics such as gender equality, environment and climate change, inclusiveness and digitalization. Moreover, Switzerland will support the local Georgian art scene by financing cultural projects, as part of a regional art and culture program. The overall budget for Georgia amounts to CHF 34 million.
Swiss engagement in the South Caucasus dates back to 1988 and has expanded ever since through strong bilateral interventions in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The regional Cooperation Office in Tbilisi was opened in 1996. The overall Swiss investment in development cooperation in the region has so far amounted to CHF 200 million.
Embassy of Switzerland in Georgia
Public attitudes toward LGBTQI people in Georgia are changing, yet the protection and realization of their rights remain a challenge
The United Nations and the Government of Sweden unveil research on human rights, legal protection and public attitudes toward the LGBTQI community in Georgia
TBILISI. 6 May 2022 – The LGBTQI people remain one of the least protected and most marginalized social groups in Georgia. They face discrimination and violence, while the protection and realization of their rights remain a challenge. Yet, recent research reveals that negative public attitudes toward the LGBTQI community have been decreasing in the last five years.
A series of studies were conducted by Georgia’s Public Defender’s Office and the non-governmental organization ‘Women’s Initiatives Support Group’ (WISG) with assistance from the Government of Sweden and the United Nations through its three agencies – UN Women, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The research reviews international standards in protecting LGBTQI rights and Georgia’s commitments in this area. It analyses the legal environment and widespread practices and examines public attitudes toward LGBTQI people in Georgia. The research also includes recommendations for specific state agencies.
The research findings point out positive changes in public attitudes in the last five years. Since 2016, the number of respondents who think that the LGBTQI community is interested in propaganda, and not in achieving equality, has decreased by 20.6 percent (55.9 percent in 2021 compared to almost 78 percent in 2016). The number of people with an extremely negative attitude toward the LGBTQI community and its human rights defenders dropped by around 20 percent and now hovers around 56 percent.
However, the research also captures the negative perception of the LGBTQI community in Georgia’s society. 48.2 percent of the respondents believe that LGBTQI people are fighting for privileges. 39.5 percent are convinced that the rights of the LGBTQI community are fully protected. At the same time, 38.6 percent note inadequate state response to the acts of violence and discrimination faced by the LGBTQI people.
The research was conducted under the UN Joint Programme for Gender Equality, a Sweden-funded initiative implemented by UN Women, UNDP and UNFPA. Its reports are available on the UNDP website
Visa joins Grace Hopper Award Program in Georgia and Champions Woman in the information and communication technology (ICT) industry
Tbilisi, April 13, 2022 - Visa became a part of the Grace Hopper Award Program in Georgia, founded by the USAID Economic Security Program in Georgia, in partnership with TBC Bank and UN Women.
Engaging as a supporter organization in the Grace Hopper Award Program is another step forward for Visa in its efforts of supporting women, innovations and also, contributing to development of an equal society. Empowering women in the information and communication technology (ICT) industry is especially important in terms of breaking stereotypes and overcoming challenges that women are facing nowadays. Visa believes that development of the ICT industry in Georgia itself is one of the most important driving forces in the modern economic advancement, as innovative technologies play a crucial role in the reality of rapidly growing demand on digitalization.
“One of our top priorities is to spotlight and address women who face challenges and ensure they get the support needed, thus we are committed to provide equal opportunities for everyone based on professional competencies and leadership skills. Within the program we support ICT Champion category, and I believe that the winner we choose will receive our strong support, special prize and become a member of our big network.” – noted Diana Kiguradze, Visa Regional Manager for Caucasus region.
Bearing the name of a prominent American computer scientist and computer programming pioneer Grace Hopper, whose legacy continues to inspire many, this program recognizes the contribution of women that lead to positive changes in the information and communication technology (ICT) industry. The program is supported by Gender Equality Council of the Parliament of Georgia, UGT and Majorel Georgia.
To apply for the nominations and fill out the application, please visit www.ictwomen.ge Applications will be accepted from April 8 to May 8, the finalists will be revealed on May 30, and an award ceremony will be held on June 10.
About Visa Inc.
Visa (NYSE: V) is a world leader in digital payments, facilitating transactions between consumers, merchants, financial institutions and government entities across more than 200 countries and territories each year. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, convenient, reliable and secure payments network, enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. We believe that economies that include everyone everywhere, uplift everyone everywhere and see access as foundational to the future of money movement. Learn more at Visa.com.ge