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On the 4th August 2020 the EU-supported Akhmeta Local Action Group launched the first phase of its sub-grant competition to fund projects that will support local development in the municipality. Action Against Hunger, in partnership with Kakheti Regional Development Foundation (KRDF) is supporting Akhmeta LAG under the EU-supported ENPARD project “Promoting inclusive and participatory local development in Akhmeta Municipality”.

Held at the Akhmeta Municipal House of Culture, the event was live-streamed on both the Akhmeta LAG and KRDF Facebook pages allowing those unable to attend in-person to follow the occasion in real-time. Strict COVID-19 pandemic sanitary and physical distancing protocols were followed by those attending the event in person.

Opening speeches were delivered by Marcella Maxfield, Action Against Hunger South Caucasus Regional Director, and Georges Dehoux, Attaché, Programme Officer Agriculture, Fisheries & Food Safety of the European Union to Georgia speaking via pre-recorded video message.

Mr Dehoux emphasized the commitment of the EU to supporting rural communities in Georgia: “I urge you to own this strategy, read it, understand it and contribute to it. Make the most out of these grants. It’s a good opportunity to show solidarity with the most marginalised members of your community, especially in these difficult COVID times. Make sure everybody benefits and I look forward to seeing the results of the implementation of the strategy and of the grants. The EU will be there to support what you’re doing.”

Additional speakers included Ioseb Karumashvili, Mayor of Akhmeta Municipality, Lado Kakhoidze, mayoral representative in Tusheti, and two Akhmeta LAG Executive Board members, Ani Imedashvili and Shirena Chapurishvili who presented the priorities and actions identified in the Local Development Strategy to assist the development of communities and businesses and to mitigate the social and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as specifics of the sub-grant competition.

The event was attended by representatives of the implementing partners, members of the regional and local government, LAG members and the general public. Also present were youth community members who have recently received training on social media tools and who have been pivotal in establishing the Akhmeta LAG Facebook group and who will be responsible for its maintenance. It is the young people who represent the future of their community and who therefore have a vested interest in the success of this project.

The sub-grant competition is the culmination of more than a year’s worth of hard work and preparation which involved training workshops, the establishment of the LAG, the election of the Executive Board and, perhaps, most challenging of all, finding ways to keep the process moving forward in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. It was here that the commitment of the LAG was impressively demonstrated with members attending online trainings on Project Cycle Management and numerous online coordination meetings to build the Local Development Strategy (LDS) that this sub-grant competition will help to support.

If you are interested in learning more about the work of the LAG, please visit www.akhmetalag.ge and you can also follow on Facebook at Akhmeta LAG.

The project was launched in December 2018 with the support of the European Union within the framework of the ENPARD programme. The overall objective of the action is to improve the socio-economic integration of disadvantaged rural communities in Georgia and contribute to poverty reduction. The specific objective of the action is to support an inclusive and community-led approach to rural development to improve the quality of life and economic conditions in Akhmeta Municipality.

The European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) is recognised as one of the most successful agriculture and rural development initiatives funded by the European Union in Georgia. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 179.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in the country. More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge

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