For a small, mountainous country, roughly the size of South Carolina, Georgia is extremely important to the South Caucus Region. Georgia has a language unique to its immediate region. It is a South Caucasion, or Kartvelian, language and one of the oldest living languages in the world.
After declaring itself the independent Republic of Georgia in 1918, it became one of the most prosperous nations in the Soviet Union for the majority of the 20th century. However, when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, so did Georgia’s wealth and prosperity. It is estimated that the economy shrunk nearly 70 percent between 1990 and 1994, as a result of political unrest and conflict between separatist groups within the country.
Though many of these conflicts still exist, Georgia is recognized as one of the world’s fastest-reforming economies. With 6.8 percent economic growth reported in 2011, Georgia is ranked as the world’s 16th “easiest place to do business” with other world powers like Japan, Sweden and Australia. Today, the largest share of Georgia's GDP is produced by agriculture (55 percent), followed by trade, manufacturing and transport.
Heifer's Work in Georgia:
Heifer began working in Georgia in 1999. This first effort was a small project in partnership with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Subsequently, in 2002, a number of projects were developed in partnership with local NGOs. These projects fell under the umbrella of Heifer’s South Caucuses regional program.
In 2007 Heifer made the decision to establish a separate country program in Georgia and Heifer International Georgia was legally registered in September 2007
Key Services Heifer Provides:
sustainable agricultural production: livestock breeding and management training using small alternative livestock; poultry raising; vegetable growing
Post-harvest management and processing: Processing milk from small-scale dairy farms
Market development: Supporting women-established poultry enterprises; value-added market chain development
Technology: Providing veterinary assistance and medicines; Austrian, Netherlands and Polish experts’ trainings and consultations
Nutrition: Promoting food security and self-reliance
See where Heifer is working around the world to end hunger.
Eka Surameli and her children were displaced from their Georgian village during the Russian-Georgian war. The conflict destroyed border villages and people's gardens and orchards. In 2011, the Rural Development for Future Georgia (RDFG) partnered with Heifer Georgia to improve the livelihoods and economic conditions of people in this region, including Eka. She attended trainings on agricultural technologies and drip irrigation systems, and received seedlings. Heifer is creating a better life for people and give them the most important thing-hope for a peaceful future.