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EU, FAO and MRA join Forces to Support IDPs' Livelihoods

EU, FAO and MRA join Forces to Support IDPs’ Livelihoods

Tamaz Beruashvili, 68, and his wife Nanuli, 62, have built their life from scratch three times. They are from Tskhinvali where they got married, made a home and began their life together full of hope.

In 1992, they had to flee during the civil war. They left their house behind in Tskhinvali, resettling in the nearby village of Eredvi. During the Russian-Georgian war of 2008, the family had to evacuate for a second time, fleeing their burning village and abandoning their home once more.

Tamaz and Nanuli are now living in the Karaleti IDP settlement next to Gori, re-starting their life again. Much like the other 263,598 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) living in Georgia, they struggle daily to satisfy their basic needs and to establish a home and decent livelihood.

Following the conflict in 2008 the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), with funding and support from the European Union (EU), has been providing livelihoods support and socio-economic empowerment of IDPs through the co-funding of economic. Up to now, the European Union, through the EU/FAO cooperation alone, has invested more than 5,000,000 Euros in IDP livelihoods. More than 3,500 IDP households were given assistance in initiating and expanding their agricultural productions, establishing irrigation systems, buying livestock and mechanization, starting orchards and even building farms and fishponds.

The final phase of the EU/FAO programme was launched in 2016. The Equal Access of IDPs to Economic Opportunities project targets the most vulnerable groups of IDPs: single parents with minors, households with the members with disabilities, and youth and elderly led households.

Five hundred and fifty-five applications from the most vulnerable IDPs have been received by the project and at this time some up to 200 applications have already been approved for support. Investments in mechanization, orchards and vineyards, beehives and livestock are just a few of the initiatives for the most vulnerable IDP population. The project uses Social Mobilization in cooperation with UN Women and offers cost-shared investment support for individual and group rural economic activities, funding of up to 2,500 GEL per household for investments in agriculture, food production and income generation.

Applications from the vulnerable groups of the IDPs for the grants will be accepted for four more months. Next phase of the Call for the Applications will be launched in the near future.

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Tamaz and Nanuli Beruashvili now live together with their children and grandchildren in one of the 177 IDP communities in Georgia. The Georgian government gave the family a dwelling and a small plot of land nearby. Caring for a son with severe physical disability made life very challenging for the family. However, Tamaz and Nanuli never gave up. They seized the opportunity and in autumn 2016 they applied for co-funding to buy a small, rotocultivator. It already stands in their backyard and Tamaz is proud to displays it and all its features. He hopes to grow more vegetables this year to improve the family’s food supply and gain income from the sale of the surplus.

“We used to farm in Eredvi village and here in Karaleti we are trying to start cultivating land once again. It is hard to do it without equipment,” said Tamaz. “Now we’ve got this machine from the European Union and I’m looking forward to the approaching spring season. As soon as the land is dry, I’ll be riding my new tractor to plough my land. Now I won’t have to bother my neighbours asking to help me. Now we can do it ourselves. This is wonderful! “

23Irma Gherkenashvili, 47, the Beruashvili’s neighbour in Karaleti, is also an IPD from the Tskhinvali region. She has the first category of group disability. She applied for a vineyard pavilion which her family will erect in their back yard.

“All the materials were just delivered. We’ll start building the pavilion in three days. I can already see the grapes thriving in my yard,” Gerkhenashvili said. “We have already planted the vines last year, and we have great plans for this vineyard. We will make wine, we will have grapes juice and we will have grapes in autumn,” she added.

The EU-FAO initiative is being implemented through the IDP Livelihoods Agency of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees in Georgia.

For more information please visit: Equal Access of IDPs to Economic Opportunities