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The winners of the first round of EU-funded rural development grant competition announced in Akhalkalaki Municipality

The winners of the first round of EU-funded rural development grant competition announced in Akhalkalaki Municipality

17 rural development initiatives from economic, environmental, social, women and youth areas were selected for funding as a result of the first round of the grant competition under the EU-funded ENPARD project in Akhalkalaki. The main goal of the rural development grant competition is to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life in Akhalkalaki municipality, in accordance with the priorities and objectives stated in the Akhalkalaki Local Development Strategy (LDS) 2018-2020, elaborated by Akhalkalaki Local Action Group (LAG) with EU support.
The LDS includes following four priorities directions: Extend local income and promote the sustainable development of the local economy; Improve social integration with a major focus on education, culture, youth and gender equality; Extend local tourism potential and support the conservation and appreciation of the local cultural heritage; Improve ecological environment and introduce environmentally friendly practices in the municipality.
During the first grant competition, which was conducted in three stages, in total 126 expression of interests were received. After revision of the proposals 54 moved to the second stage. On the final third stage, which also included a technical evaluation, only 17 winner candidates were announced. The rural development initiatives were selected for EU funding from the following areas:
  1.   Economic initiatives – 12 projects;
  2.   Environmental initiatives – 2 projects;
  3.   Social initiatives – 5 projects;
  4.   Women initiatives – 5 projects;
  5.   Youth initiatives – 5 projects.
Expression of interests were reviewed based on the grant manual guidelines elaborated by the Akhalkalaki LAG. The winner project proposals are fully in line with the priorities of the Akhakalaki LDS. Please see the approved list of winners here.
The announcement of the first grant competition was preceded by an extensive informational campaign. Meetings were held with the local stakeholders in the villages and community centers. Besides, an informational brochures were printed and distributed among the interested parties. Also, the web page of the LAG was functional and updated information was available online at https://akhalkalakilag.ge/. In addition to the informational sessions, open door meetings and trainings for business plan development were held for interested applicants in Akhalkalaki.
It has to be noted that while the contracting process of the approved grants is in progress within the first round of the grant competition, the LAG has already announced the first phase of the second round of the grant competition in Akhalkalaki municipality.
Department of Rural Development and Vocational Education (DRDVE) of Georgian Institute of Public GIPA in partnership with Mercy Corps, Elva Community Engagement and West Cork Development Partnership is implementing the project “Promoting a New Rural Development Approach in Akhalkalaki”. The project is financed by the European Union within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) in Georgia.
The EU is supporting agriculture and rural development in Georgia through the ENPARD programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 179.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty. The first phase of ENPARD in Georgia focused on developing the potential of agriculture. The second and the third phase focuses on creating economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities. More information on ENPARD is available at www.enpard.ge.