ACF South Caucasus Bulletin 
Issue VII 






Spring 2012  

ACF organizes Go‐and‐See visits to Georgia for  potential Meskhetians  repatriates 
ACF is an international   organization  t h a t  uniquely  bridges  emer‐ gency  relief  and  longer‐ term  development.  Our  solutions  to  global  hun‐ ger  are  needs‐based,  context‐specific,  custom‐ ised  through  direct  com‐ munity  participation  and  distinguished  by  these  defining characteristics:  • Comprehensive  approach  • Lasting solutions  • Community‐centred  • Independent and  impartial  • Full accountability  and transparency  • Efficient and cost‐ effective 

In October and November 2012, within the framework of its programme ““Supporting the repatriation of persons deported from Georgia in the 1940s and their descendants”, ACF organised 2 Goand-See visits to Georgia for potential Meskhetian repatriates living in Azerbaijan. All 17 participants in these visits have received the repatriate status document and the visits allow them to make an informed decision regarding future return to Georgia.

with local Meskhetian families who were able to share information on the present situation in Georgia, regarding living conditions and opportunities.

Action Against Hunger— Spain  Caracas 6, Floor 1,  28010 Madrid  (+34 91) 391 5300  www.accioncontraelham      South Caucasus  Coordi‐ nation Office  Head of Mission:   Celine Carre  30 Makashvili Street,  Tbilisi  (+995 32)  988238    Field offices:    Tbilisi (East Georgia)  Zugdidi (West Georgia)  Sukhumi and Gali  (Abkhazia)    In Armenia: Sisian     In Azerbaijan: Baku  

Finally the participants visited Akhaltsikhe and Adigeni Municipalities in Samstkhe-Javakheti and visited their villages of origin. In the village of Smada one of the participants located his home where he lived before being exiled in 1944 and talked with the family who are now living there. The During each visit the participants experience was very emotional and were able to visit regions in Geor- he told to the ACF representatives gia where other Meskhetian fami- his story: lies are residing, discuss repatriation issues with national and re- Personal Account of Meybiyev gional government officials and Dilavar from Smada village of Saatli region in Azerbaijan (people meet with Meskhetian organiza- gave the names of their old villages in tions working in Georgia. An ad- Georgia to the locations they settled in ditional benefit of these visits was Azerbaijan) Dilavar was 11 years old in 1944 when that, on their return, participants he was deported from Georgia along were requested to inform other with his mother, brother and sister. His applicants of their experience and father and his 4 brothers were away at the information that they have re- the war at the time and never returned. The family were resettled in Kyrceived. This process builds upon gyzstan and life was extremely difficult existing informational services that but they survived due to hard work. are being implemented within the The first time Dilavar re-visited his village in Georgia was in 1978, having framework of the programme. obtained, with great difficulty, the per-

regions). He found his home in which a Georgian family now live. The owner welcomed Dilavar and invited him in, and Dilavar stayed a few days visiting the neighbouring forests and villages. No more Meskhetians lived in the area. The Georgian host offered to share his land plot and to build a new house there for Dilavar and his 5 sons, but Dilavar refused the offer, saying that he will get a new land plot for himself. In the late 80’s Dilavar and his family moved to Azerbaijan. The second time he came to Smada village to visit his house was in 2000. His Georgian host from the previous visit had died but his son also welcomed Dilavar. The “Go and See” visit was the third time that Dilavar has seen his old home and village. During the time he was there he filled plastic bottles with water from the local spring in the village and the Georgian family living in his old home again welcomed him, and helped him to pick apples from the orchard – the water and apples were to be taken back for family members and villagers in Azerbaijan.

ACF intends to run a further 6 “Go and See” visits from Azerbaijan in the coming months as well as 1 visit from Turkey and 1 from Kyrmission pass to enter the Akhaltsikhe The European Centre for Minority zone (during the Soviet times it was gyzstan. It is planned that 90 peoIssues (ECMI) is working in part- forbidden to visit the bordering ple will attend these visits. nership with ACF on this programme and facilitated a meeting in Tbilisi for the participants,   Meybiyev Dilavar from Smada village   which was attended by government representatives from the MRA, the Ministry of Justice and the National Security Council. The groups also met with Meskhetian organizations that are working in Georgia to hear their perspective on the repatriation process. Later in the visit the groups travelled to the villages of Ianeti in Samtredia Municipality and Tsitelubani in Gori Municipality to meet


     ACF South Caucasus Bulletin 
Issue VII 






Spring 2012  

Working with Communities in Georgia’s Highlands
News in brief:     Natalia Duguy left the  mission and her role as  Regional Director       Joiners:     Celine Carre joined the  ACF team as the new  Regional Director       Amiran Vacheishvili   joined as Base Adminis‐ trator for the East Geor‐ gia base       Nino Kvinikadze joined  the East Georgia Base as   Administration Assistant       Irma Kortua  joined the  TA Project as  Deputy  Program Coord inator    Medea Gugeshashvili  joined the Repatriation  Programme as Deputy  Program Coordinator       Gocha Beridze joined the  East Georgia team as   Driver for the NSA  project       Zurab Iakobashvili joined  as Head of Project for  the EU NSA project       

           Public water point in Vestomta   

Throughout the summer of 2011 the ACF technical team was working up in Tusheti, constructing and rehabilitating water systems in eight mountain villages. The water systems were rehabilitated under the EU-funded programme, "Delivering protected area capacity and engaging traditional pastoral communities to conserve Georgia's unique and internationally important biodiversity in the Republic of Georgia, Kakheti region", that is being implemented by Fauna and Flora International and NACRES. Construction work in the mountain communities in Tusheti is never an easy venture, with the terrain and weather throwing up constant challenges and

calling for a high degree of patience and adaptability. The plan had been to start in early June, but with the road only opening up for heavy vehicles at the end of that month, it meant that the team and local villagers only had a three-month window to complete all the works, before the snows arrived again and road closed for winter. Before work could begin though, there was the small matter of transporting building materials and pipes from Tbilisi and Telavi up the recently opened road and over the 3,000 metre Abano pass to Omalo. Residue snow, rock-falls, hair-pin bends and mountain streams flowing across the road, meant this was

                                                                  Connected water pipeline in Chesho ready for  laying underground 

left to the services of a professional haulage company with experience of the terrain. After three separate 10-hour trips, all the materials were finally delivered and stored in Omalo and the outlying villages. A local engineer and a group of technicians were recruited to perform the work and were supported in their efforts by villagers from each of the communities where the water supplies were being rehabilitated. In most case the rehabilitation works were composed of performing head works to capture the mountain springs and laying new pipes underground to bring the water down to the villages. Technically this wasn’t so difficult, but with limited vehicular access to the site of the springs, materials often had to be transported on horseback and technical monitoring often called for tough mountain walks for the ACF engineers. With the summer months of July, August and September dry and devoid of any weather constraints the construction work continued unimpeded, only stopping on the odd day to allow for the festival celebrations for which the Tusheti region and Tush people are well known. By the end of September though, all works had been completed and the communal water points in the eight villages were once again connected to a constant water supply. On the 3rd October, just as ACF was preparing to deliver the small visibility plaques, that had been designed to publicize the project, the snow fell again and the region was once again closed to visitors. These plaques will now have to be delivered in June 2012.


     ACF South Caucasus Bulletin 
Issue VII 






Spring  2012  

Trainees from Gali attend training at RCDA 
  More Joiners:   
Beso Chikvatia  joined  the SIDA project as a  mobilizer in Gali       Merab Arkania joined  the Gali team as a Driver  for the UNHCR project        Nino Ketsbaia joined the  Gali team as Head of  Project for the UNHCR  project       Tea Chilachava joined  the Gali team as  Mobilizer for the UNHCR  Project  

In August 2011, 7 trainees and staff from ACF carpentry vocational training centres (VTCs) in Gali district attended a 5-day training at the Rural Communities Development Agency (RCDA) in the village of Misaktsieli, Metskheta-Mtianeti region. The participants were engaged in the UNHCR supported project Vocational Training, Small Business start-up opportunities and promotion of Small-Holders' Association in Abkhazia, Samegrelo and Imereti 2011. The project aimed to support vulnerable households through livelihood opportunities. Four carpentry VTCs were established in Abkhazia in 2009 where the instructors teach the skills necessary for

VTC Members Receiving Training


producing furniture, doors and windows, and other products in high demand. Last summer ACF started discussions with the VTC staff to identify ways they could diversify their output and launch new products onto the local market. The joinery centre in Atara, Ochamchira district opted to visit a new furniture factory to learn how to produce office furniture. The VTC in Gup, Tkvarcheli district, expanded its premises and launched auto-repair services. The VTC staff in Nabakevi and Dikhazurga expressed interest in learning how to make environmentally-friendly sustainable technologies, which are new to the area. During their training the participants attended theoretical sessions on renewable energy and ecosanitation. This was followed up by practical sessions where the group constructed two different types of solar fruit dryer and a household solar water heater. In addition, they learnt how to build urine separating compost toilets. All the participants praised the training they received at RCDA and have started to employ their new skills back home. After graduating from the VTC, four trainees successfully applied for business start up grants to continue producing solar equipment in Abkhazia and are taking orders from across the district and the staff of Nabakevi VTC is proud to be selling the first eco-toilets in the district.

ACF South Caucasus Donors and Partners:

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