Women’s Empowerment Principles inspire community development

Date: Thursday, August 27, 2020

A medical dispensary in Guliani Village. Photo: Taso Foundation
A medical dispensary in Guliani village. Photo: Taso Foundation

For many years the population of Chochkhati community (Guria region) in Lanchkhuti municipality had to travel to Lanchkhuti in order to receive medical services. Public transport from the village runs to town only twice a day, so the local residents had many challenges.

The situation changed this summer, however. Now in Guliani, one of the villages of Chochkhati community, a room built for a medical dispensary two years ago has actually been put into operation. A family doctor comes and receives patients from all nine of the community’s villages.

“We can get a consultation every Thursday now. So there is no need to travel to town, nor do we have to stand in long queues. If a doctor considers it necessary to direct us to some other doctor, we get an appointment card or referral for advice. We can even receive vaccinations at the clinic,” explains Julietta Tsikoridze, the head of the self-help group “Women for the Future” and a major proponent of the cause of opening the outpatient clinic.

However, the activism of women involved in social mobilization was preceded by an interesting initiative - a collaboration between two of UN Women’s partners, the Taso Foundation and Crystal, a financial inclusion organization. Crystal is a signatory to the Women’s Empowerment Principles, the sixth of which - the promotion of equality through community initiatives and advocacy - inspired an exciting initiative. The company made a financial donation to the beneficiary communities of the Taso Foundation for the implementation of social projects, and the Foundation used this sum to hold an ideas contest called “Social Activism of Women and Girls”.

On the whole, 28 applicants participated in the contest. One of the three winning ideas was the opening of a polyclinic in Chochkhati, for which the self-help group purchased all the necessary inventory and furniture with the money donated by Crystal.

According to Maia Kobalia, the head of Crystal’s Environmental and Social Division, the greatest motivation for this initiative was a desire to change the lives of the people living in this region for the better, adding: “Our decision to choose the Taso Foundation was conditioned by the fact that this organization has done a lot in order to support women living in rural areas, to elevate their quality of life, to develop social activism and to promote women’s legal conditions, since one of the strategic objectives of Crystal is the economic empowerment and encouragement of women living in villages.”

It is noteworthy that in addition to the outpatient clinic, joint efforts between Crystal and the local self-help groups have made it possible to provide 25 families with drinking water in the high mountainous village of Zubi (Tsageri municipality), as well as finance the library of Papileti village (Oni municipality) so it could acquire all the necessary inventory. The library will be opened in the very near future.

The cooperation between Crystal and the Taso Foundation and the initiatives implemented within its framework are part of the UN Women project “A Joint Action for Women’s Economic Empowerment in Georgia”, which is implemented with the financial support of the Government of Norway.