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Nino Gamisonia: “Georgians are feeling the impact of climate change”

Interview with Nino Gamisonia of Rural Communities Development Agency

04.12.2014 |WICF

Nino Gamisonia (second from the right) at the UNFCCC

Nino Gamisonia (36) is from Tbilisi, Georgia and works for the organisation Rural Communities Development Agency (RCDA). She attended the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference Of the Parties (COP) 19 in Warsaw last year and is now present for the Women and Gender Constituency in Lima Peru at the COP20.

Claire Greensfelder, senior addvisor on Climate and Energy for WECF, interviewed her on climate change in Georgia and her involvement with RCDA.

How did you become involved with RCDA?
“I graduated from the University in Applied Math and Computer Sciences and then I realised that I did not wanted to be a programmer or mathematician. So I never actually worked in the field that I studied for. My father is the founder and director of RCDA that focuses on agriculture and economy.  It was founded in 1997, but back then I did not work there.  I was a student at the time and after graduating I worked in different places. But one day I just decided; why not join RCDA and work there? In 2006 I started to work there. I went to Sweden to take a training course on ecological alternatives related to sanitation. There is a huge problem in Georgia as there are no sewage systems in our rural areas.  This creates big environmental and health issues. People mostly use pit latrines and the water is contaminated.”

What do the Georgian people know about climate change?
“The Georgian people do not know much about climate change. However, they are feeling the impacts: droughts, landslides from deforestation, very harsh winters that are very cold and freezing. And then this past summer it was so cold!  Also, the farming of different crops has changed.  The seasons of production have changed and diseases they did not have before are showing up.

The awareness about climate change is not that big in Georgia. We need to help raise the awareness and get more people engaged in the solutions.  We do try to introduce new technologies.   We explain how we are all connected to climate change.  We are working to explain how renewable energy can be used for the environment. We have a lot of people using our Centre to demonstrate new technologies. Schoolchildren, local residents, teenagers, they all come to our Centre in Misaktsieli, at least 400 or 500 persons a year come, perhaps even more. We also have a Facebook page and we have a web page.  Every week I get at least one call asking about the urine-diverting toilet, about building one at a house in the village.  It is really important how local people are trying to find solutions for themselves in the rural villages and we work to support them.”

Read the full interview here.

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