Wishes fulfilled with new knowledge


Naili Menteshashvili. Photo: Gvantsa Chagunava
Naili Menteshashvili. Photo: Gvantsa Chagunava

“In the morning when I get up, the first thing I do is go to the greenhouse. This place is an important part of my daily life and a great source of therapy,” says 35-year-old Naili Menteshashvili, a young entrepreneur from the village of Georgiashvili in the Tetritskaro region. “I wanted to start growing herbs years ago with my husband, but unfortunately he died in an accident. Still, I managed to fulfil my dream alone, and it eased the pain caused by the loss of my beloved husband.”

Left alone with three children after the death of her husband, neighbours helped Naili to get out of this difficult situation: they told her that a new initiative for the empowerment of women was starting in the village, and after many requests, she agreed to attend at least one meeting. “That’s when I heard about the project between UN Women and the Kakheti Regional Development Foundation for the first time,” recalls Naili. “This opportunity had a great impact on me. I was actively involved in the initiative, and I felt a new, completely different strength.”

In Tetritskaro Municipality (Kvemo Kartli region), UN Women and the Kakheti Regional Development Foundation started the implementation of the project “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus” in 2019. An important part of the project is community mobilization, focusing on the empowerment of local women by sharing new, valuable knowledge and supporting them with small grants. Naili became one of the active participants of this project. Along with her involvement in community mobilization, she underwent trainings in business management, project writing and cost estimation, and later she received financing, purchased the necessary equipment, built a greenhouse and started growing and selling herbs.

In addition to the fact that she, a single mother, has a constant source of income, now, together with her fellow villagers, Naili actively participates in solving the problems of the community and, in cooperation with the local self-government, tries to change the reality for the better. “No one believed that we women would revive the village routine. We too have changed ourselves. For example, I have only a secondary education and haven’t studied since I was 18 years old, but through this project, I gained new knowledge: in addition to how to run a business, I learned about women’s rights, employment rights and the Labour Code,” says Naili, who plans to study horticulture and further develop her business activities in the future.

A total of 64 women are involved in social mobilization in Tetritskaro. Within the framework of the project, 24 women received funding and started their own businesses.

The UN Women project “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus” is implemented by the Kakheti Regional Development Foundation, the TASO Foundation and CARE International in the Caucasus, with the financial support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC).