The Local Action Group (LAG) of Mestia, supported by the EU under the ENPARD programme, announces the results of the first grant competition in the municipality. Total of 50 winning projects were selected for EU funding from 223 applications received. The successful projects selected through the competition cover all 17 communities of Mestia municipality. Among them are community initiatives for infrastructure rehabilitation, commercial (business) initiatives, covering various sectors, non-commercial initiatives for social support and community development.
The main aim of the grant competition is to support the local population of Upper Svaneti in establishment and expansion of environmentally sustainable social, community and business initiatives, that are in line with the local development strategy of Upper Svaneti (LDS).
The first grant competition included two stages. At the first stage, the applicants presented a project idea, while for the second stage, they submitted a full proposal. Out of the 223 project ideas, received at the first stage, 125 applications were selected. The grant competition was preceded by the proactive informational campaign by the project team and Upper Svaneti Local Action Group (LAG). The information about the competition was also available through the media.
The applicants selected for the second stage of the competition attended intensive training series in writing business proposals and budgeting. The training helped the participants get qualified sectoral expertise and ensure the high quality of their applications. As a result, 50 the most successful full proposals were selected, which were scored the highest against the grant competition criteria. The rest of the participants received comprehensive feedback and recommendations on how to improve their applications for future consideration. 41% of the full proposals were submitted by women.
The successful projects selected through the competition cover all 17 communities of Mestia municipality. Among them are community initiatives for infrastructure rehabilitation, commercial (business) initiatives, covering various sectors, non-commercial initiatives for social support and community development. The majority of the selected applications are business initiatives. It needs to be noted that as a first result of the grant competition, 38 new business operators have already been registered in Mestia municipality.
Among the selected initiatives, 82% of projects will facilitate the increase in employment opportunities or improving employment conditions. 35% of the projects will improve access of different population groups to the needed social services. 62% of the initiatives target the most vulnerable groups of the Mestia population. Among them, the majority of initiatives are directed towards women and youth empowerment. The rest of the projects also target the people from the most remote communities, IDPs, elderly and the persons with disabilities.
As for the sectors, the majority of the selected projects (30%) improve community infrastructure. This is followed by the tourism sector (24%), which includes tourism infrastructure, as well as services. The large part of the projects (18%) are connected with agriculture production. 12% of the initiatives will improve education, sport and health sector. The rest of the projects (8%-8%) equally cover the non-agricultural sector and environmental protection issues.
It should be mentioned that support to the community infrastructure projects became possible through a co-financing scheme with Mestia municipality. As one of the outcomes of the memorandum between CARE Austria, LAG and Mestia municipality, under the grant competition and village support program, 11 common community projects were initiated. Among them are rehabilitation of sport stadiums in 5 different communities, rehabilitation of social service and cultural centers, rain drainage system and road rehabilitation. The tripartite memorandum guarantees strong and effective cooperation in implementation and monitoring of co-financed community initiatives.
The members of the local action group of Upper Svaneti actively participate in selection and promotion of the initiatives under the grant competition. Along with the project team, LAG members were engaged in field monitoring and selection process of the grantees. LAG members will continue their support to the projects and introduce the project results to the wider audience.
The project, “Implementing LEADER in Mestia municipality for better livelihoods in high mountainous regions of Georgia”, under the EU-funded ENPARD program, is run in the municipality of Mestia by CARE Austria in partnership with PMC-Research Center. Based on the European LEADER approach, the project aims 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 234.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to provide economic opportunities in rural areas and reduce poverty in Georgia. More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge