With nearly half the population living in rural areas, and with significant agricultural, tourism and economic potential, rural development is vitally important for Georgia’s sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
The EU has been assisting Georgia since 2013 with the ENPARD programme in developing this potential. This includes support to the Government to promote better policy and help modernize the sector, and working with partners to support and raise skills in the regions. However, effective local development also requires local engagement.
That is why for the last years, the EU has been working with partners and supporting bottom-up, community based approaches to rural development in Georgia. Based on EU best practices, these approaches bring local citizens, civil society organizations and municipalities together to develop solutions for their regions in the form of Local Action Groups (LAGs). To date, LAGs have been established in 12 municipalities throughout Georgia, and have already identified and funded over 500 local initiatives that have helped diversify local economies, provided better employment to more than 1000 rural households, and improved living conditions of over 10 000 rural population.
“I am a strong believer in Local Action Groups and in the benefits of a bottom-up approach in rural areas. The LAGs in Georgia unleash the talent and entrepreneurship from local people who are best suited to assess the local needs and opportunities. The greatest achievement of our work is to see the motivation, interest and enthusiasm of people who take local development into their own hands. We will continue to build on this. Our goal is to help Georgia’s rural communities to make the best of the local economy, stay and prosper in their own villages without having to think about migrating somewhere for better livelihood” – stated Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia.
This week, the EU is launching an information campaign to raise awareness about these local community initiatives. Over the course of the next two weeks, we will bring you the success stories of LAGs established with EU support in different parts of Georgia, as well as rural people who benefited from LAG actions. We will show you how local communities are taking a wider perspective, where they are seeking economic upturn not only in agriculture, but also through entrepreneurship, tourism, services and other locally driven initiatives.
For more information on EU support to rural development and LAGs, including interview with EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell, fact sheet and 7 success stories visit our Campaign page. You can follow the campaign onFacebook.
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