Community Based Organizations and Their Role in Rural Development
Samkhretis Karibche, 16.06.2016
Tako Peikrishvili, Akhaltsikhe
Original version in Georgian:
Community Based Organizations (CBOs) have been actively operating in 33 communities of Samtskhe-Javakheti region along the BTC pipeline. The core objective of CBOs is to take a leadership role in the development of communities and improvement of their living conditions.
Community Development Initiative (CDI) was launched with BP funding in 2003 in Kvemo Kartli and Samtskhe-Javakheti regions in communities along the Baku-Tbilisi Ceyhan and South Caucasus Pipelines (BTC/SCP). Regional Development Association (RDA) has successfully been implementing the Initiative in the Samtskhe-Javakhketi region for already six years.
The Program in 33 communities of Adigeni, Akhaltsikhe and Borjomi municipalities has several directions, one of which is rehabilitation of existing infrastructure. To ensure successful implementation of the project, community based organizations (CBOs) were created within a 4-kilometer corridor of the pipeline. To obtain matching grants, CBOs, together with population, select priority projects and fill in applications. Local community is also engaged in implementation of the selected projects, either through labor or cash contribution. RDA team also participates in the process – quality and schedule of works are monitored on spot. CBOs are regularly trained to ensure adherence to quality and safety measures during implementation of these and other projects.
Vale CBO “Tuberi 2008”
Competitions announced within the frames of Community Development Initiative (CDI) facilitated establishment of the community based organization “Tuberi 2008”. An existing CBO was passive and Vale lacked the capacity for appropriate participation in the competitions.
At the meeting called, local community first elected 5 CBO members, following to which also elected a chairman from them, Gedevan Gozalishvili. The Chairman himself believes that for community infrastructure development it is crucial that a CBO is active: “CBO existed in Vale before this; however the very fact of it being passive became the reason for establishment of a new CBO, which would engage in the process of solution of community problems”.
The first project funded shortly after formation of the CBO was rehabilitation of irrigation channel. The priority was identified and selected at the community meeting and later CBO members worked on the development of the idea.
“Very soon afterwards we received a matching grant for the irrigation channel rehabilitation project. This was an important issue as the irrigation water was not only of an economic but of a historic significance. 300 years ago, ancestors of Vale inhabitants pulled water from 8-kilometer distanced mountains on the adjacent territory of the village Orali. It was all manual labor. However, with the time the channel was heavily depreciated and there was a danger of losing it for good if no rehabilitation works would be carried out” – explains CBO Chairman, Gedevan Gozalishvili.
According to him, rehabilitation works on the irrigation channel were properly carried out with the assistance of the CDI engineer, as a result of which Vale community has been receiving water from this irrigation channel without any problems.
Following the first successful project, four more projects led by the CBO were funded. In 2011 the road to Alpine pastures was rehabilitated and a 15-meter long cattle watering trough was installed; drinking water system headworks was also fixed.
In 2015, by the decision of a general meeting and the community initiative, the decision was made to rehabilitate depreciated driveways to arable plots.
“The road section was so badly damaged that the population found it very difficult to reach their own plots during spring and autumn period. Reinforced concrete layer was made on the depreciated section of this road”, - says Chairman of “Tuberi 2008”.
After establishment of the CBO, solution of infrastructure related problems has gradually started and living conditions of the population have significantly improved.
Ude CBO “Ude”
CBO in the village Ude of Adigeni municipality was formed after the village had been added to the CDI target villages in 2013. The program covered new villages after SCP extension. Five members were named by the population at the community meeting and a chairwoman, Natia Maisuradze, was elected from them.
CBO has been active in the village since its establishment and obtained funding for implementation of several projects.
With CBO effort, within the frames of the CDI, water filter was installed in the village Ude in 2013, for which the CBO received the funding up to 8000 GEL. During the following two years, based on the community request, the CBO worked on the cattle watering trough projects. After the funding had been obtained, 26 troughs were installed, two of them – at the largest summer pastures.
“When cattle were out to pastures, they had no access to water; therefore often the population would deliberately damage the pipes going through the pastures to allow the cattle drink water. Now we have arranged the ponds on the pastures as well and the village population is happy”, - says Natia Maisuradze.
Ude CBO got funding for 2016 too. This time, CBO members named arrangement of the children’s playground as a priority.
“We cooperate with local self-governance. They have to fence the territory, and we will install the playground equipment. The project has already won in the competition and is awaiting the funding in the nearest period”, - notes the CBO Chairwoman.
Tsinubani CBO “Tsinubani”
Tsinubani CBO has already successfully completed two projects through matching grants. The CBO itself was established in 2013.
Tsinubani inhabitant, Oganes Balasanian, says that creation of the CBO made a significant impact on the implementation of infrastructure projects in their village.
“In the first year, we rehabilitated the floor of the ritual house, which cost around 5000 GEL. The following year a larger project was funded, worth around 14000 GEL, which were used for pulling water from the mountains. The villagers themselves were involved in works. This program does the work for us and we should also help with making our contribution into this common business”, - says Oganes, Balasanian, inhabitant of the village Tsinubani of Tskaltbila sakrebulo/village council.
According to him, the factor of the local population being actively involved in the works forced them to care more about the village property. He assesses the work of the CBO as effective and with actual results, and says that with RDA support, the village solved the potable water problem.
Regional Development Association and Community Development Initiative
Community Development Initiative (CDI) Program is initiated and funded by BP and its partners in Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC), South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) and South Caucasus Pipeline Extension (SCPX) companies.
Regional Development Association (RDA) has been implementing CDI since 2011 in 28 communities of Samtskhe-Javakheti region; in 2013, 5 more communities were added. Currently RDA is implementing projects in 4 villages of Adigeni, 8 villages of Borjomi and 21 villages of Akhlatsikhe.
Within the frames of the Program activities, renovation-rehabilitation of existing infrastructure are being implemented. The works are carried out with the leadership of CBOs. The Association announces grant competition once a year, in spring.
“In our area of coverage, CBOs are in all villages. In spring and autumn community meetings are held, where all problematic issues that the villagers want to be solved are discussed. This year we received total of 20 applications from 33 communities. Ten communities were able to win and receive funding”, - says Zura Ioanidze, RDA Community Development Officer.
For the CBO submitted project to be considered, the signatures of 60% of the village population need to be attached to the documentation.
RDA representatives continue cooperation with CBO members throughout the year and monitor the projects during the start, implementation and completion stages.
“The objective of our Program is supporting organizational and institutional development of CBOs, increased community engagement and gradual solution of socio-economic problems. Important is that the community itself selects the priority and the implementer, the rest will be ensured through our support” – says Levan Gogichadze, the Program Monitoring and Evaluation Manager.
The Program also implements other activities in the above communities, including support to start-up businesses, creation of input producer demonstration farms etc.