On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women Ambassador Kelly helped launch the new USAID-funded Reduction of Domestic Violence in Georgia activity, a program that builds Georgia's capacity to fight domestic violence.
On Friday, 20 November 2015, the state-funded Legal Aid Service will celebrate its 10 years in operation. An official event in the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia will bring together top Georgian officials, lawyers and judges as well as representatives of embassies and international organizations in Georgia.
Meliton Benidze, Director of the Legal Aid Service, will address the guests with an account of the 10-year achievements in the area of free legal aid for the vulnerable. The day will also see the awards of the Legal Aid Service’s longest serving attorneys and staff members.
The legal aid reform in Georgia was launched in 2005 when the newly established Legal Aid Service replaced an inefficient system of treasury attorneys. The first legal aid bureaus in Tbilisi and Zestaphoni were established as a pilot project and attracted qualified lawyers selected in a contest. Since then, the Legal Aid Service has expanded to 18 offices across Georgia providing free legal assistance to more than 75 thousand people.
The Legal Aid Service now operates as an independent entity accountable to the Parliament of Georgia. Its independence and transparency is safeguarded by the Legal Aid Council. The Legal Aid Service provides legal assistance on criminal as well as civil and administrative cases.
A number of international and civil society organizations, including for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), European Union, USAID, Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) and Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF), have been supporting the establishment, rapid roll-out and development of the Legal Aid Service throughout the years. Their assistance is ongoing with the training programmes for attorneys and staff, and support in opening new legal aid sites in different regions of Georgia.
USAID Promotes Economic Development in Communities Along the Administrative Boundary Line with Georgia's Occupied Territory of South Ossetia
On Friday, September 25, 2015, Deputy Chief of Mission Nicholas R. Berliner will meet with representatives of the Shida Kartli Administration and visit communities along the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) with Georgia's occupied territory of South Ossetia. During the visit, Nicholas R. Berliner will meet with Georgian families who have benefited from the USAID-funded New Economic Opportunities (NEO) project and interact with farmers and community representatives.
In 2015 the NEO project supported 135 farmers from 31 ABL villages, creating an estimated 950 seasonal jobs for vulnerable populations. This assistance entails expanding open-field and greenhouse production of vegetables, herbs, and raspberries using modern production techniques. For the last three years the NEO project also supported 35 small-scale infrastructure projects in communities along the ABL, benefiting almost 4,000 households.
The NEO project is funded by the U.S. Government, through USAID, to help Georgians access economic markets, attract investment, and identify and implement economically beneficial infrastructure projects. In total, the project will benefit at least 70,000 rural and vulnerable households in 10 municipalities: Dusheti, Kazbegi, Kareli, Gori, Khashuri, Oni, Tsageri, Lentekhi, Zugdidi, and Tsalenjikha. The project fosters sustainable poverty reduction, improved living standards for vulnerable populations, including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and increased local government participation in addressing community needs.
Georgian Parliament to host Open Government Partnership’s Legislative Openness Working Group Conference
The OGP LOWG is to be held on September 14-15. The two-day forum “Openness Obligation: the Parliamentary Action Plans, Standards and Tools” aims at consideration of the progress by the WG in terms of legislative openness, including development of Open Parliament action plans and Open Parliamentary Data International norms and standards establishment aspects.
The conference will be attended by the legislative and executive representatives of various countries, civil society leaders, including the high rank Parliamentary Delegations from Georgia, Albania, Armenia, Croatia, Brazil, Latvia, Lithuania, Jordan, Malta, Montenegro, Serbia and Ukraine, and participated by up to 70 foreign delegates from up to 20 countries.
The bilateral meetings of the guest delegations are scheduled within the conference. The conference is co-organized by the LOWG. The two-day working meeting is being held within GLOW and is the conclusive event. It is the one-week call on to the civil society and the Parliaments to facilitate to the legislative openness.
The conference is supported by the USAID, GIZ, KohoVolit, EU, UNDP, TI, IDFI and US Embassy.