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Internally Displaced Families in Georgia Have a Chance at New Livelihoods

Some 700 vulnerable internally displaced persons in Georgia could soon be earning income by growing fruit, raising rabbits, breeding cattle, beekeeping, horticulture and other agricultural activities.

Financed by the European Union, the income diversification initiative is implemented by FAO and the Livelihoods Agency of Georgia’s Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees in Georgia. The Ministry will receive a grant of up to US$ 810 000 to carry out the programme.

Vulnerable categories of people are targeted for income diversification grants, including: impoverished single parents with underage children, households with members with disabilities, households headed by youth, and elderly-headed households with minors.

At least 700 beneficiaries will be funded, with individual grants worth 2 500 GEL (about US$ 1 000). Group applications for grants of 5 000 GEL (about US$ 2 000) are also possible. Groups of three or more internally displaced persons may apply for these larger grants, if at least two of them fall within the target group. Beneficiaries are expected to invest some of their own funds in addition to the grants they receive.

With an estimated 250 000 to 300 000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), Georgia has one of the highest incidences of internal displacement relative to the overall population. Poverty and unemployment are widespread among the internally displaced, more than half of whom are women.

First Deputy Minister Grigol Giorgadze recently issued a statement stressing the project’s twin aims: improving incomes for the internally displaced, and improving agricultural production and food security.

Applications for the grants were accepted during September for the second of six application cycles.

“FAO is honoured that our long partnership with the MRA has resulted in direct cooperation through an Operational partnership,” said Mamuka Meskhi, Assistant FAO Representative in Georgia. “This signifies the readiness of the government to take over the IDP Livelihoods support provision.”