Ms Nataša Uršič
T: +386 1 479 65 71
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia became independent states undergoing to this day the transition for a former socialist system to a market economy. Most of the population is still struggling with severe poverty and high unemployment and vulnerable groups such as disabled, women and children are among the most severely affected. Due to diverse languages and ethnic allegiances, peaceful co-existence among the peoples of the region is frequently hampered by distrust and deep-seated prejudices.
Georgia is undergoing a political, social and economic change. Major aspects of this situation are deteriorating agricultural infrastructure, poverty – an estimated 60 percent of the population lives below the poverty line – and large-scale migration. Additionally, Georgia is affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) as a result of complex and interlocking past and recent armed conflicts over the breakaway areas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. More than 4 sq. kilometers of land is still contaminated by mines and ERW (territories controlled by Georgian central government) where over 344,000 people live. According to unofficial statistics, there are approximately 240,000 disabled persons (PWDs) in Georgia out of which more than 800 have been identified as mine and ERW victims. PWDs are unemployed, lacking personal realization and the possibility of enjoying all rights.
What we do
ITF is present in Georgia from 2004 especially in capacity building and trainings. With the help of Georgian authorities, ITF organized a regional workshop “Mine action as confidence building measure”, which was held in Tbilisi, Georgia in October 2005. Mine clearance experts attended different trainings which were organized regionally for Caucasus region, such as two Middle management training courses (MMTC) in Tbilisi, Georgia (2004–2005 and in 2009).
In October 2008, ITF signed a 2-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on humanitarian mine action assistance with the Ministry of Defence of Georgia which covers national capacity building activities and mine victim assistance. Potentially, the cooperation can be extended to other services in the field of mine action.
In 2009, ITF started with the project “National capacity building” and within the programme different activities were carried out such as: a working visit to Southeast Europe for Georgian representatives, a regional workshop “Disability and Mine Victim Assistance”, a basic demining course for Georgian representatives, a workshop “Evaluating Mine Action”, a General mine action assessment together with NPA, a Middle management training course and Quality Assurance and Quality Control course.
As part of the initiative to build a comprehensive Mine Victim Assistance programme, ITF started with two-and-a half year long pilot project “Socio-Economic Reintegration Programme for Mine Victims in Georgia” in December 2010. The programme strived to enable mine victims and their families, as a vulnerable and marginalized groups, to earn their livelihoods, to improve their standard of living and become participatory members of their communities. Due to success of the pilot phase a three year regional project “Socio-economic reintegration of mine victims in South Caucasus-Phase II” started in November 2012 and was finished in October 2015. The project was supported by Austrian Development Agency and South Korea.
In the frame of the project in total 682 mine victims outreached in Georgia and 532 registered in the project database. 27 persons referred to the vocational skills development at the training providing institutions and/or employers (on-the-job trainings). 190 trained in business skills. 30 persons are self-employed in the funded businesses. 33 loans were issued to 28 persons (5 took loan twice), (11Mine victims and 17 family members). A strong cooperation and dialogue was developed with national disability NGOs and further strengthening of cooperation with governmental stakeholders has been in place. The local implementing partner IOM Georgia office was actively involved in the process of developing the new 2013–2016 Action Plan of the Government of Georgia on Ensuring Equal Possibilities for PWDs, specifically contributing to the work of the Employment and Vocational Education Working groups of the AP.