In response to COVID-19 pandemic, EU-supported Local Action Group of Upper Svaneti (LAG) organized charity initiatives to help vulnerable groups residing in the municipality of Mestia. These initiatives aimed to help elderly and people with disabilities by providing food and other primary consumption products. Up to 120 families in all 17 communities of Mestia municipality received product baskets.
“Products were collected at the dedicated spots at the supermarkets in the town of Mestia. At the same time, LAG members encouraged donations through social media. “At the first stage, our LAG members, in partnership with local municipality and social service agency, worked on the databases of the people in need in our municipality. Local business representatives, such as market owners actively engaged in the initiative with slogan #Buy for those who can’t afford. Special points were dedicated at the food markets in Mestia town to collect food and primary consumption products,“ says Elene Ganaia, LAG coordinator.
In addition, the LAG youth members could raise funds with the help of “Stay Home” social media challenge. Social media users uploaded homemade videos, invited friends and transferred money to the LAG’s special account. The LAG has already collected up to 7000 GEL.
With this amount, from more than 180 contributors, the LAG members purchased food products and distributed to 120 beneficiaries in all 17 communities of Mestia municipality, including people with multiple children, families without breadwinner, sole breadwinner families, people under poverty line. Among them 50 are men, 70 women, and 82 are people with disabilities. LAG members plan to continue the campaign.
“We didn’t expect such an engagement and resonance. I would like to thank the LAG members and each person who contributed and made hundreds of people happy,” says Elene.
LAG board members are actively engaged in informational campaigns against the spread of the virus. Through the LAG Facebook page, they share personal experiences of dealing with the challenges caused by the epidemic and encourage locals to follow recommendations and stay home.
Upper Svaneti LAG is one of the twelve LAGs established with EU support in Georgia. The LAG was created within the EU-supported ENPARD III project “Implementing LEADER in Mestia municipality for better livelihoods in high mountainous regions of Georgia”. The project is implemented by Care Austria in partnership with PMC-Research Center. Based on the European LEADER approach, the project aims for the next four years, to improve diversification and competitiveness of the rural economy, supports the involvement of vulnerable groups, especially women and the youth, and the sustainable management of natural resources.
The EU is supporting agriculture and rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 179.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to provide economic opportunities in rural area and reduce poverty in Georgia. More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge.