On 11-12 October, Carl Hartzell, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia travelled to Kakheti to highlight the EU’s support to the region. He visited various sites in Kvareli, Telavi and Pankisi valley, and met with diverse groups of people. The visit focused on energy efficiency, support for businesses, and outreach to Georgia’s youth.
As a first stop, Ambassador Hartzell visited Kvareli Lake Resort, which has been renovated and refurnished according to EU standards in energy efficiency, health and safety within the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line. The Resort spreads over 300 hectares of natural landscape in Kvareli. The support of the European Union and EBRD helped the company gain full compliance with Georgian regulation and with the applicable EU Directives.
The visit continued with EuroClub Kvareli, where Ambassador Hartzell opened the Club’s second anniversary event. EuroClub Kvareli was established within the EU’s Young European Ambassadors initiative in November 2019. Its main goal is to promote education and development among young people in Kvareli, and to provide access to non-formal education. Over the past two years, EuroClub Kvareli reached 1200 people through 100 activities, like film clubs, English lessons and other events.
On the same day, Ambassador Hartzell visited two other companies, which had received support through the EU4Business EBRD Credit Line. The winery and distillery Askaneli Brothers exports products internationally, including to EU countries like Lithuania, Estonia, Germany, and Poland, making full use of the DCFTA. Thanks to the EU’s and EBRD’s support, the company invested in state-of-the-art production facilities and equipment, improved food safety management, as well as energy efficiency, waste management and health safety, making both products and the workplace safer for people.
The first day concluded in the Holiday Inn in Telavi, which has been made more energy efficient through the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line. Besides a substantial loan, the company also received technical support from a team of international experts, helping the hotel upgrade its business practices as well as energy use.
In the morning of the second day, Ambassador Carl Hartzell visited Ikalto village in Telavi municipality and officially opened a local Kindergarten, which has been renovated and thermo-rehabilitated within an EU-funded project, implemented by Energy Efficiency Centre Georgia. Thanks to biomass energy technology created from vineyard waste products, the kindergarten will now be fully heated in winter, while also saving 60% of electricity costs. The opening event took take place within the EU’s ongoing campaign on energy efficiency “Doing More with Less”.
Ambassador Hartzell then visited the Learning and Employment Support Center in Telavi, observed entrepreneurial skills training and met with local youth. The Center is part of the EU’s Skills4Jobs programme and run by the Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia (CSRDG) in partnership with the Young Pedagogues’ Union and Georgian Civil Development Association. Through the project, young people in Kakheti, Guria and Kvemo Kartli can increase their potential through formal and informal education. Up until now, 6 Learning and Employment Support Centres have been established in Georgia, including the one in Telavi. To date, over 1,000 job seekers have received support.
The visit continued in Pankisi valley, where the Ambassador opened a workshop for teachers on media literacy, organised and conducted by the Communications Commission with support from the European Union. Part of the audience were teachers from Pankisi, who had travelled to Brussels on a study trip a few years ago. The workshop is part of a longer training programme, designed to help teachers fight disinformation and teach students how to read and evaluate media.
Finally, Ambassador Hartzell met with the Women’s Council of Pankisi and the Local Action Group Akhmeta (LAG), which has been established within the EU’s ENPARD programme. The Women’s Council includes 15 local women of Pankisi Gorge and assists local women in resolving disputes, provides them with access to legal and social aid, and works on women’s rights. Over the past three years, the Akhmeta LAG has helped the Pankisi community through a variety of local development initiatives, including direct support to the Women’s Council.
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