Newspaper “Samkhretis Karibche”
Article by Tamar Uchidze, August edition – 30/07/14
What projects are implemented through assistance of BP in Samtskhe-Javakheti villages
Rehabilitation of village infrastructure, arrangement of on-farm demonstration, creation of rural cooperatives and small business star-ups.
BP launched Community Development Initiative in five more Samtkhe-Javakheti in 2013 2013.
Regional Development Association (RDA) has started implementation of the Community Development Initiative program within the framework of South Caucasus Gas Pipeline Expansion (CDI SCPX) project since June 2013. The program is initiated and funded by BP and its partners. CDI SCPX project on the West route of the pipeline envisages assistance to communities located within the 5km radius around gas pressure stations installed by BP. As a result, five more villages were integrated into CDI target area of 28 villages in Samtskhe-Javakheti. These villages are: Ude, Tsarbastumani, Abatkhevi, Tsinubani and Julga.
A 3-5 member Community Based Organizations (CBO) have been created in every village. A head and members of the CBOs are selected by locals themselves. CBOs and rural population choose priority projects together and affirm their choice by written consent. For these projects to be implemented, they need to be signed by at least 60% of the concerned population.
About 90 households live in Julga and there are about 25-30 children in the village. These kids have no access to any recreational area. Locals hope that such projects will help stop migration of youth to cities.
“Children will have possibility to get entertained. We are thankful to BP for doing such good job” - says Armen Papikyan, Head of Julga CBO.
The children's playground constructed in Julga will be arranged on 300 m2 area. Construction already started and should finish in a fortnight - according to Vakhtang Khitarishvili, engineer of RDA.
“The area will be fenced and playground equipment installed. Green plantings will be arranged throughout” – Mr Khitarishvili explained.
Julga community restored village irrigation system with the help of this program last year. About 2 km of pipes were replaced between collecting basin and the village, eliminating irrigation problem for locals completely.
“Before, the system had high leakage and only little water reached our plots. With this new system we saved 40 minutes, we use maximum water flow possible” – says Oganes Papikyan, resident of the village Julga.
For the population of village Tsinubani, Akhaltsikhe municipality, the priority was to enhance potable water flow rate. Up to 90 households live in the village. Potable water is the problem for years. According to locals, potable water was running before, but it was not sufficient. With assistance of BP, the debit of potable water increased.
“There is an eight-kilometer section of the water system that supplies two villages -Tsinubani and Abatkhevi. Now we are rehabilitating three headwork buildings that will be connected to this section. The old route was not running with full capacity. Now, the water flow rate will increase
from headwork and the villages will be supplied”- says Oganes Balasanyan, local resident, and adds that works will be completed in about 15 days.
Within the framework of CDI, a Ceremony Hall is being reconstructed in village Abatkhevi, Akhaltsikhe municipality. According to Nerses Gogoryan, Chairman of local CBO, roof was changed last year within this program. Now locals plan to replace doors and windows of the building and make tile flooring in the kitchen.
“Before, the roof leaked during rain and now this problem is solved” – says Nerses Gogoryan.
Small businesses development within the framework of BP
Tinatin Obolasvili, resident of village Ude, Adigeni municipality, found application of Regional Development Association on the wall, which stated that BP would assist applicants to start-up small businesses.
“So I applied, representatives of RDA came, observed my activities on site. Then I prepared business plan, won in the competition and as a result was financed with 1950 GEL. My contribution was 2500 GEL. Finally, I arranged greenhouse and now collect harvest thrice times annually ” – says Tiantin Obolashvili.
First harvest received by Tinatin Obolashvili was radish, close to Easter in spring, which was sold in Abastumani and Akhaltsikhe. Second harvest is being collected now.
Tinatin planted cucumbers and tomatoes at the same time, but as tomato ripens a bit later, she sells just cucumbers yet. The third harvest of the year will be greens grown in fall.
“Apart from the fact that buyers come to place, we sell-out production in other villages also, mostly in resort Abastumani, where there is a touristic season and many visitors stay there. We also sell to Akhaltsikhe and distribute in markets there. About 30-50 kg of cucumbers sell per day, there is also good demand on domestic tomato,” – says Tinatin Obolashvili, whose family’s income depends on this business: “we have neither pensions nor job, so we fully depend on this business. Thanks to BP, for giving us possibility to start our own business.”
Like Tinatin Obolashvili, Lazare Narimanishvili, who owns small bakery in his own yard, read the application posted in the village: “I became interested, wrote business plan, the representatives of RDA came, checked and financed my business, although there was our participation also.”
With the assistance of BP, Narimanisvili family managed to acquire bakery and dough kneading equipment. With their funds, they built the construction. Now they bake 150 ordinary and 400 Georgian Lavashi bread and distribute to markets in the villages of Ude and Arali.
“150 units of bread and up to 400 Lavashi is sold-out daily. We supply markets in villages Ude and Arali with our bread. Basically family members are involved in the
business, however we have hired assistant baker,” – says Lazare Narimanishvili and adds, that it is possible to make and sell vast varieties of baked goods with this equipment, which they plan to do in the future.