Wednesday, 20 January 2021

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Georgia: Microloans offer new starts in war-torn regions

Georgia MicroloansDali Chilachava and her family fled their home village in Abkhazia, Georgia, after separatist conflict broke out in the region in 1993. For 12 years they endured extreme poverty, until a microfinance programme helped them to start a small business growing and selling lilies.

In regions of Georgia that were devastated by the 2008 conflict with Russia over South Ossetia, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - with funding from the European Union (EU) - has teamed up with seven local microfinance institutions to assist displaced persons, women entrepreneurs, small-scale farmers, and other socially and economically vulnerable communities in starting small businesses and rebuilding their lives.

From July 2009 to June 2010 the programme issued more than 3,000 microloans to people living in the three regions of Georgia hit hardest by the 2008 armed conflict: Shida Kartli, Samegrelo and Mtskheta-Mtianeti.

Beneficiaries of the programme received loans of anywhere from US$400 to US$3,000 to start micro businesses, mainly in the agriculture, trade and service industries. Altogether, the microloans totaled some $2.6 million.

For three-quarters of the recipients, these loans were the first they had ever received, as well as their first opportunity to succeed professionally and improve their lives.

More than half of the microloans went to women and some 70% went to small-scale farmers, a tenth of whom were internally displaced persons; individuals who were uprooted during the war and have been unable to return to their home villages.

With a loan of $400 from the EU/UNDP programme, Chilachava and her husband increased their production of lilies in their greenhouse. The small family business now has a strong client base, shipping flowers in cigarette boxes to customers throughout Georgia. They are thinking of applying for another loan to buy more land and build a cooling facility to store their flowers.

“We started four years ago with one little stem, and now you can see the result,” Chilachava said. “It is good to know you have a guaranteed income and your work pays off.”

Original article and photo by UNDP

3 Questions to Thomas Ravn-Pedersen, head of the “World´s Best News “ campaign in Denmark.

mall Miracles:

  • Africa – There are 450 million mobile phone users in Africa today. They have created growth and made Sudanese Mo Ibrahim a multimillionaire and local hero: He gives a yearly award to the most democratic African leader who gives up power voluntarily.

  • Burkina Faso - 900,000 people in the countryside of Burkina Faso are now drinking clean water.
  • Global - Developing countries debt has been decreased to a quarter in only ten years.

  • Guatemala - 96 % of Guatemalans now have clean drinking water after the civil war ended in 1996.

  • Bolivia - 5 million Indians now have a certificate pointing to ownership of their own land and Indians have now strengthened their political influence and rights after centuries of repression.

  • Botswana – The economy has grown by an average of 9 % every year, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Botswana has invested its income from mineral trading wisely and is recognized as the least corrupt country in Africa today.

  • Ghana – The number of children suffering from malnutrition has decreased from 32 % in 1992 to 9 % today. After pursuing an effective healthcare policy, agricultural reforms and strong international cooperation, the country is now self-sufficient in food production.
  • Rwanda - Rwanda and Angola have more women in their parliament than anywhere else in the world, currently 56 %.

  • Tanzania - 96 % of all children now go to school compared with only 50% in 1990.

  • Vietnam – The number of poor people in Vietnam has fallen from 58 % in 1990 to 15 % in 2008.

  • Bangladesh - Although Bangladesh has huge healthcare problems because of poverty and climate change, investments in healthcare clinics have resulted in child mortality rates being halved since 1990.