Mercy Corps has been awarded a $13.5 million grant through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to improve social services and strengthen local communities in eastern Georgia.
Georgia, bounded by the Black Sea, the Russian Federation, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey, was one of the first republics of the Soviet Union to declare independence in May 1991. Years of armed conflict and civil strife have resulted in large sections of the population living in poverty. Women, children and the elderly have been the most affected by the deterioration in social services.
The "East Georgia Community Mobilization Initiative," a four-year program beginning in October, will focus on vulnerable communities in six regions of eastern Georgia including South Ossetia. Mercy Corps will also collaborate closely with the USAID implementing organization in western Georgia working on similar objectives.
The Initiative is designed to:
- Assist communities to identify ways in which they can improve social services and create economic opportunities
- Meet community needs in the areas of health, education, micro-enterprise development and social policy reform
- Promote inter-ethnic cooperation among communities
- Provide training and funding to strengthen local communities and organizations
"This initiative is impact-oriented and serves hurting families and underdeveloped communities," states Neal Keny-Guyer, CEO of Mercy Corps. "We are committed to long-term solutions that tackle problems at the root and build strong, local capacity."
Mercy Corps leads the collaborative efforts with partners, Horizonti and Management Systems International, Inc. Horizonti is an Georgian organization supporting civil society development and policy reform in Georgia. Management Systems International, Inc. is an international development consulting firm based in Washington, DC.