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Projects

Return and (Re)-integration

Conflict, war, and natural disasters force countless people to leave their homes. When the conflict has ended, many refugees and displaced people would like to return, but due to political circumstances, this is not always possible. Once back home, many find that it is not easy to start over. In addition to loss of property and finances, many people are devastated by the loss of family members and friends or by the memories of violence and suffering. For a successful new start, returnees need more than a safe environment and a roof over their head.

Georgia has a sizable number of internally displaced populations (IDPs). In August 2008 more than 130,000 people had to flee their homes as a result of the conflict between Georgia and Russia. Ten months later over 17,000 internally displaced persons had not returned home, forced instead to make a living in one of the many temporary settlements and collective centers around Georgia. Thus, the total caseload of IDPs increased to 256,358 individuals (88,696 families) including those displaced during the earlier conflicts in 1990-91.The latter are often referred to as “old” IDPs which constitute the majority of the displaced population (235,659 IDPs, 81,517 families), while the share of the "new" caseload is relatively smaller, 17,297 IDPs (6,517 families).

Approach

For ASB, creation of employment opportunities is the cornerstone for the improvement of livelihood opportunities and the integration of internally displaced persons (IDPs). A priority programme approach of ASB in Georgia is to promote the idea of social entrepreneurship within communities. This is encouraged by giving support for the esablishment of local NGOs/initiative groups through capacity-building efforts that create sustainable organisational structures. In ASB’s approach, the concept of social enterprise is closely linked with social service delivery. It encompasses the following key components: a) the creation of employment/livelihood opportunities for representatives of IDP and host populations; b) the delivery of social services to representatives of these communities; c) the provision of long term financing of the service delivery by involving and cooperating with local, regional and/or national authorities. We aim to involve a range of actors such as representatives of local civil society, authorities and the local community, especially representatives of the socially vulnerable/marginalized groups (e.g. IDPs). While employment will improve some IDPs economic status, we believe that their active involvement in the process of both identifying social problems as well as potential ways for solving them, together with the local authorities and civil society, will increase their level of social integration.

Projects

In March of 2012, ASB together with domestic partner organization “Tankhmoba” (“Consent” – IDP women's association”) commenced the Project “Social enterprises: joint economic activity of IDPs and host communities in West Georgia, in particular; Zugdidi region, with the aim of their peacemaking consolidation”.

The federal Office of Foreign Affairs of Germany ensured financial support of the project within the scope of the Civic Conflict Resolution Program. The goal of the project was to establish social enterprises on the basis of local initiative groups, which would provide various types of services for community affected by conflict. By the end of 2012, five social enterprises were selected based on competition. The SEs provide the following types of services: home-care for elderly, nursery for infants, youth day-care center, prosthesis repairmen and technical repairmen services.

The second phase of the project started in March 2013. Newly established social enterprises quickly started serving their beneficiaries. In order to perform the activities in a better way, the Georgian Social Workers’ Association and thr Strategic Research and Development Centre of Georgia provided assistance to them through individual consultations.

Within the scope of the project, active cooperation between the local government of Zugdidi municipality as well as the Social Service Agency of the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia was carried out. On the first stage of the project Memorandum of Understanding was concluded, where the involved parties expressed their readiness to contribute to successful performance of activities. The memorandum was signed by “Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund”, IDP Women Association “Consent”, Zugdidi municipality City Council and Board.

The clause reflected in the annual Zugdidi municipality budget of the next year is an important success of the project. The aforementioned considers allocation of certain sum for social service.  Non-government organizations participating in the competition will have good opportunity to obtain funding from local government and continue social service of their beneficiaries. Thus, the project managed to ensure sustainability; this means that in the future people receiving social services will be able to use social service free of charge.