As 2020 draws to a close, the People in Need Georgia team are reflecting on the challenges and achievements of this unusual year. COVID-19 continues to be felt across the country, with thousands of families directly affected. We all have a responsibility to follow the public health recommendations, while recognising the serious impacts these measures have on so many households’ finances, education and access to support services.
I am proud that PIN has adapted its ongoing projects so successfully to the changing needs of the communities we work with, providing support to rural businesses to increase their resilience to shocks and stresses such as the pandemic. We have also launched a new five country project with the support of the European Union, the COVID-19 Solidarity Programme, which has enabled us to work in more regions of Georgia meeting emerging needs in digital education, legal assistance, support to women’s rights, and the needs of people with disabilities in cooperation with experienced local CSOs.
We have also launched two new projects exploring how the problems of unsafe credit, indebtedness and labour rights exploitation hold back development in Georgia, and where PIN can support meaningful change. At the same time, we have finalised our ambitious new Georgia Country Strategy 2021-2025 – you can read more in the next newsletter!
I would like to thank all of my colleagues for the great work they have done under such difficult conditions, and our donors and partners who make this possible, in particular, the Czech Development Agency and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union, USAID, SlovakAid, and UNDP.
I wish a joyful new year and a peaceful 2021 to all our readers and friends. Happy holidays!
Country Director, People in Need Georgia
HOW DOES PEOPLE IN NEED HELP IN THE GLOBAL FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19?
This year hasn’t been easy for anyone. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its global assault, People in Need is aiming at providing support to the most vulnerable communities beyond the health sector. From Syria, where we are delivering food and hygiene kits to refugees, to Myanmar, where we are providing water filters to internally displaced persons (IDPs). In Georgia, People in Need provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to people with disabilities residing in State Institutions and supports CSOs that focus on broadening access to social services and economic opportunities, watchdog programmes, and local independent journalism. Learn more about our efforts to keep the most vulnerable safe, HERE
ENSURING A DISABILITY-INCLUSIVE RESPONSE TO COVID-19
As Dion Battersby, Country Director of People in Need Georgia, says, “experience from Europe shows that residents of institutions are among the most affected by Covid-19, and highlights once again the importance of the ongoing deinstitutionalization process." Considering these circumstances, People in Need, with the financial contribution of Slovak Aid and the collaboration of ATIP Fund, donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Dzevri, Dusheti, and Martkopi Boarding Houses for people with disabilities, where the residents and staff are at high risk of transmission of COVID-19. The distribution of PPE has helped to ensure that no one is left behind in this pandemic as part of a more disability-inclusive national response to COVID-19.
NEW YEAR GIFT OF PIN AND CZDA TO THE MEDICAL STAFF
To honor the efforts of the medical staff involved in the fight against Covid-19, People in Need (PIN) together with the Czech Development Agency (CzDA), donated high quality Georgian honey produced by Georgian beekeepers to the medical staff of the clinic “LJ and Company”.
“Today marks an important day for us, as we’ve been given the opportunity to express our deep respect to the medical staff, standing on the frontline and fighting ardently for our lives for months already. We donated symbolic gifts - Georgian honey to the doctors of the clinic “LJ and Company” as a sign of our profound gratitude and respect for their exceptional work and superhuman efforts”, said Maka Tsertsvadze from People in Need (PIN).
For their part, the medical staff also expressed gratitude for awarded attention and respect, hoping that we will surely manage to beat the COVID-19 pandemic if we go hand in hand and maintain mutual respect.
The project “Promoting Sustainable Development of Beekeeping in Georgia” is being implemented by PIN with the support of the Czech Development Agency. It aims to enhance the quality and production of honey and other bee products in Georgia. Video report
The development of beekeeping in Georgia is supported by the Czech Development Agency.
STAY PROTECTED AGAINST COVID-19
AT ALL TIMES
Washing your hands regularly and wearing a facemask are the basic precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19. But do you know all of the essential tips to stay protected from COVID-19 in restaurants and hotels? The Aragvi Local Action Group has recently published 2 informative short videos that will help you learn about all of the necessary measures to stay safe in restaurants and hotels. When travel is permitted, enjoying the amazing opportunities for domestic tourism in Georgia is a great way to support economic recovery in rural areas.
STANDING TOGETHER AGAINST ALL FORMS OF GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
Violence against women and girls is one of the most crippling abuses of human rights in our society today. During COVID-19 lockdowns, reports showed a rise in domestic violence cases across the world. Now more than ever, it’s essential to advocate for women’s rights. On the account of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, People in Need and its partner organizations joined the 16 days of Activism Global Campaign against Gender-Based Violence. PIN Georgia led a social media campaign which consisted in engaging PIN colleagues as well as donors and partners to take a stance against violence towards women through a compilation of inspirational quotes. Learn more: HERE
A GOOD REASON TO CELEBRATE!
We can confirm that the first round of selected CSO’s of the COVID-19 Solidarity project was a total success! People in Need signed contribution agreements in Tbilisi with two CSOs are implementing initiatives to support vocational education and access to legal support. Six more CSOs have been selected and will bring about positive change in their target communities: from art therapy, individualized support to disabled communities in rural areas, access to social and health services for vulnerable groups in the mountainous villages, to support communities in carrying out social activities. Please see the link here to know more details. Stay tuned for the more positive news from this project.
HAND IN HAND FOR TSKALTUBO DEVELOPMENT
2020 was a difficult year for everyone, but despite the challenges together the Local Action Group still achieved:
A public health campaign to protect the Tskaltubo community from COVID-19
Supported 14 small businesses to expand and survive this difficult period, also 5 public and 1 community initiatives that will contribute to the local development of Tskaltubo
Won a grant to hold youth workshops
Co-created the first Tskaltubo Local Dedevelopment Strategy
Supported research on local assets and development potential, economic challenges, and the impacts of COVID-19. You can find the research HERE
In 2021 together we can do even more! Look out for the next grants competition launch in March, the General Assembly in March as well, and the start of media literacy workshops for young people already in January!!
STAY TUNED FOR MORE UPDATES AND POSITIVE DEVELOPMENTS FROM TSKALTUBO!
DECIDING AND GROWING TOGETHER
The Local Action Groups of Tskaltubo and Aragvi have been busy developing new Local Development Strategy documents in collaboration with all their LAG members. As a result, these two regions will focus from now on in pushing for a strong and diverse local economy, will improve social and community services in their regions and ensure positive environmental practices, among other goals. If you are interested in reading the Development Strategies in detail, please click on the links below: LAG Tskaltubo Local Development Strategy (LDS) LAG Aragvi Local Development Strategy (LDS)
MODERN ECO-FRIENDLY TECHNOLOGIES FOR PSHAV-KHEVSURETI
As you know, People in Need hand in hand with SlovakAidsupports the development of Pshav-Khevsureti. This time we provided tourism businesses with modern Eco Wastewater Treatment Systems. This eco-friendly technology completely cleans wastewater and protects the environment from pollution.
We hope that in the future, along with the development of tourism, many other facilities will be interested in these technologies and together we will protect and preserve our environment.
REDISCOVER YOUR ROOTS IN THE DREAMY MOUNTAINS OF GUDAMAKARI AND CHIRDILI
Meet Grisha Arabuli from Gudamakari and Luka Bekauri from Chirdili, these inspiring Georgian entrepreneurs have a similar business story. Both businessmen saw the opportunity to revitalize the hidden potential of Gudamakari and Chirdili and proceeded to invest in eco-tourism by renovating their family facilities as guesthouses. People in Need, in cooperation with CZDA, supported this initiative and provided all the necessary means to make this dream possible. If you want to know more about this great opportunity to reduce the depopulation of these magical mountainous lands, please make sure to watch the videos about Luka and Grisha’s stories.
CHECK OUT THE NEW SHINY LAG WEBSITES!
Do you often wonder about where to get the latest updates about the regions of Tskaltubo and Aragvi? Wonder no more! People in Need launched 2 Local Action Groups (LAG) websites to provide you with the most important news about the development of Tskaltubo and Aragvi municipalities. If you haven’t checked out their websites yet, what are you waiting for?
People in Need with the support of CZDA is implementing beekeeping project in Georgia. The aim of this project is to improve the production and value of high-quality honey and apiculture products in Georgia. As a part of the project, PIN and Union-Association “Agora” organized a Tea, Honey and Cheese Festival in Mtatsminda Park, Tbilisi, on 6th of September. The Festival successfully managed to spark interest in unique Georgian products supporting local small and medium business owners. Video report
DON'T LET 2020 GO WITHOUT PICKING UP A NEW PASSION
Ever wondered how beekeepers get to extract the honey from the hives without being harmed? Do you want to know more about the art of apiculture? If the answer is yes, you cannot miss these short Beekeeping tutorials!
HOME IS WHERE GEORGIA IS
Follow the stories of Giorgi and Irakli, two Georgians residing abroad who wanted the chance to come back to Georgia. Like many other migrants, Giorgi and Irakli participated in People in Need’s project with the French Office for Immigration and Integration focused on providing social reintegration assistance through employment and new business start-ups. Let Giorgi and Irakli tell you their story in these videos.
A CZECH SOLUTION TO THE HOUSEHOLD DEBT PROBLEM IN GEORGIA
Did you ever have to deal with debt? Would you like to know how to safely navigate this issue in Georgia? People in Need and GeoWel Research has recently launched a new exciting project looking at the challenges surrounding debt and unsafe credit practices in Georgia. This initiative aims at empowering community actors to directly support indebted households, increase national public awareness of the topic and provide evidence-based solutions and recommendations to improve the policy environment. To learn more about the project, read the article of Eva Fernández Martín (Project Manager, People in Need) about the challenges of the debt environment in Georgia. Read more
LET'S START SPEAKING ABOUT DEBT
People in Need and GeoWel Research held the first webinar of a series of 3 webinars aimed at sparking public national conversations about the debt crisis, an often-forgotten issue. During the webinar, GeoWel presented the first preliminary findings of its research about debt in Georgia and PIN Czech expert shared their best practices and success story tackling indebtedness in the Czech Republic. The webinar closed with an open discussion reflecting upon the challenges of debt in Georgia and new opportunities with the input of experts and stakeholders from diverse backgrounds, you can watch the recording here.
PROTECTING DEMOCRACY FROM DISINFORMATION
Democracy depends on the free flow of reliable and factually correct information. Based on this information, citizens make informed political decisions. What happens when this process is undermined? The rise of online disinformation has the potential to deteriorate the pillars of democracy. People in Need launched in 2020 a new anti-disinformation initiative in Georgia to counter this trend. The project is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, within the Transition Promotion Program and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The aim of this project is to enhance capacity of civil society and independent media in Imereti and Samegrelo regions of Georgia to promote media literacy education among youth, elderly and ethnic minority groups.
"Disinformation and fake news have become a big part of our daily news”, said Giorgi Jangiani, Consortium Manager, “it is important, to provide adequate access to digital media skills and tools for the population of Georgia.” Under the framework of the project “Strengthening Democracy through Media Literacy”, PIN held a dynamic and interactive workshop in Tbilisi destined to screen and test powerful documentaries to promote media literacy among youth in Georgia. The event brought together teachers, community service staff and representatives of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Tbilisi and the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia. The participants had the opportunity to embark on relevant joint discussions about how to best adapt the media literacy materials to the Georgian context.
SING ALONG TO THIS NEW CATCHY PIN SONG!
We apologize in advance in case our song manages to get stuck in your head for the rest of the day (or week!), we certainly have been experiencing the same issue. People in Need Philippines won PIN’s worldwide song contest with this beautiful song titled “PIN brings the light”. Share the love and check out their debut song accompanied by a fun video clip showcasing the beauty of Philippines. Hopefully, there will be more to come!