Please check out the new WECF website on!

Stay here to browse our website archive (2004-2019).

WECF Deutschland

WECF France

WECF Nederland




Empowerment & Local Action (ELA) Georgia

Building the capacity of poor local communities in rural areas in Georgia


Countries: Georgia
Donors: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MinBuza), The Netherlands; Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), Germany
Partners: Society Development Centre of Akhaltsikhe, Georgian Environmental and Biological Monitoring Association, The Greens Movement of Georgia/FoE, Foundation Caucasus Environment, Paros, RDCA, SEMA, Georgia Greens
Issues: Energy & Climate, Water & Sanitation
Duration: 01/2008 - 12/2010

Church of Akhaltsikhe

For more information about the Empowerment & Local Action programme, click here.

Project Proposals

Organisation: Society Development Centre of Akhaltsikhe
City: Akhaltsikhe
Project title: The Sun is Our Best Friend

Issues & short description:

  • Energy: provide a school with warm water, energy education and awareness raising
  • Sanitation: implementation of sanitary facilities such as ecological sanitation toilets and hand washing facilities, capacity building, and awareness raising

In Akhaltsikhe, the NGO Development Centre of Akhaltsikhe has started the ELA project in three villages. Immediately, villagers became interested, and even the neighboring communities expressed their interest in participating in similar projects. This ELA project aims to popularize solar energy and ecological sanitation in the region.

The Development Centre of Akhaltsikhe is building in three villages two ecosan toilets, thus in total six toilets. Meetings with the local population have been held to discuss the need for ecological sanitation. The toilets are designed in a special 3-D computer program in cooperation with an engineer and the future users.

The use of solar energy is not known in the region, although the sun is very hot and energy is very expensive in Georgia. Especially in rural areas, people have difficulties paying their energy bill. Apart from that they have no access to hot water. Therefore, the NGO will promote the use of solar energy in their region. They will also provide a school with warm water provided by solar energy. Due to increased hygiene they will reduce the rate of infectious diseases of the pupils, and thereby the missing of school due to illness. The design of the solar installation has been discussed very thoroughly together with the local population, experts and other ELA partners. The installation has already started. In the villages volunteers are chosen and trained to ensure sustainability and local ownership of the project.

Organisation: Georgian Environmental and Biological Monitoring Association
City: Tbilisi
Project title: Sustainable Water Management and Sanitation in Khashuri, Gurjaani and Mtskheta Districts of Georgia: Communication and Empowerment for Local and National Action

Issues & short description:

  • Water: awareness raising and capacity building on water and hygiene, scientific research
  • Sanitation: implementation of sanitary facilities such as ecological sanitation toilets and hand washing facilities, capacity building, scientific research on ecological sanitation and awareness raising
  • Democracy strengthening: lobbying activities

Organisation: The Greens Movement of Georgia/FoE Georgia
City: Tbilisi
Project title: >Implementing new sustainable solutions to Sanitary-Prophylactic problems, ensuring access to safe water and supplying alternative energy resources in rural areas of Georgia.

Issues & short description:

  • Sanitation: awareness raising and implementation of sanitary facilities such as ecological sanitation toilets and hand washing facilities
  • Energy: awareness raising, implementing a solar device at monastery and biogas installations
  • Water: awareness raising and implementing simple water pumps for shallow groundwater levels

Greens implement new sustainable technologies to improve rural living conditions.The staff of Greens Movement of Georgia / FoE Georgia is spending a substantial deal of their time in their project villages in western Georgia. They conduct seminars on health, water, sanitation and alternative energy that last for three days for the local population. After it turned out that their drinking water from the shallow wells is heavily polluted with nitrate, the interest of the local population was awakened. They found up to 500 mg/l. The training for trainers on ecosan has already been started in the villages, and soon construction will start.

Energy is very expensive in Georgia. Therefore, alternative energy is also introduced in the villages. That includes biogas, solar energy and energy saving lamps. Two small scale demonstration biogas digesters will be installed. A practical booklet with precise instructions on how to construct different types of biogas digesters has already been published in Georgian language. A monastery will be supplied with a solar water heating system, as demonstration what possibilities sun heat can offer. All the 16 ecosan toilets will be supplied with simple warm water collectors for hand washing. Besides that, 11 shallow constructed wells will be installed. It is a very simple technology that people can build by themselves.

Awareness rising is an important aspect for all topics, on local, regional and national level. The need for lobbying on national level to address the local problems is recognized more and more. Greens Movement also coordinated the translating printing of WECF ecosan material into Georgian, from which all Georgian partners are benefiting.

Organisation: Foundation Caucasus Environment
City: Tbilisi
Project title: Ecosan and Hygienic Use of Wells in Djandara Village (Gardabani region)

Issues & short description:

  • Water: education and training on hygiene and water, water quality monitoring
  • Sanitation: implementation of sanitary facilities such as ecological sanitation toilets and hand washing facilities

Organisation: Paros
City: Ninotsminda
Project title: Healthy Environment for Healthy Life

Issues & short description:

  • Agriculture: agricultural development and extension services, organic fertilisation, sustainable local seed production
  • Sanitation: implementation of sanitary facilities such as ecological sanitation toilets and hand washing facilities, capacity building, and awareness raising

From Ecological Sanitation to Cheese making
Foundation Caucasus Environment is working in Jandara in the region Gardabani. The village has an Azeri population and the main occupation is agriculture. It is already known that the water quality is not very good. Among the local population, awareness has to be raised. Nitrate quick tests are conducted together with the local population, as well as several laboratory water tests. Caucasus Environment collected health data from the local hospital. It turned out that the project region has an over average infection rate. A women’s group has been established, they will support the project and promote ecosan, health and water safety in the village.

Ecological sanitation, water and health are very interesting, but the locals also needed some income generating activities. Following the example of WECF ELA partner PAROS, they decided to make yellow Dutch cheese. An experienced farmer from PAROS will conduct training in Jandara. The cheese can be made in the households, so big investments are not needed. Only the culture bacteria with which to start the cheese production need to be bought from the Netherlands or Germany.
Four or five ecosan toilets will be build, and the organization is preparing and selecting beneficiaries. A Matra Kap project is being applied for to translate more info materials into Azeri language and to expand activities.

Organisation: Speqtri
City: Sagaredjo
Project title: Ecological sanitation for rural areas in Georgia

Speqtri is situated in the village Ninotsminda, Sagaredjo district. In their village is water supply, but it is very irregular. They have water every second day. That is why most households have pit latrines outside. Speqtri considers Ecological Urine Diverting Dry toilets as the most viable option for the development of their village. They will build two demonstration toilets in their village, and train other villagers on principles, construction and maintenance.

For the project, initiative groups have been established, and information meetings conducted. The school teachers are also informed about the advantages of ecosan. The community will be mobilized around water and sanitation issues. They are also working on women’s rights, and have thorough knowledge and literature available. In their projects they educate and empower women.

Organisation: Rural Communities Development Agency (RCDA)
City: Tbilisi
Project title: “Support of rural people in selected communities to overcome poverty, and sustain livelihoods through building their skills and capacities in environmental sanitation and economic development by transfer of knowledge and affordable technologies”

Issues & short description:

  • Agriculture: integrated rural development, raising public awareness, improve agricultural skills and capacity building, mobilizing communities, transfer of knowledge on affordable, ‘do it yourself technologies’
  • Sanitation: implementation of sanitary facilities such as Ecosan toilets and hand washing facilities, capacity building, and awareness raising
  • Energy: implementation of biogas and briquetting, transfer of knowledge on affordable ‘do it yourself technologies’

Poverty reduction through building skills and capacities
The Demonstration, Training and Innovation Centre (DTIC), a Knowledge and Resource Center for communities, community leaders, local authorities, NGOs, CBOs, women initiative groups and other interested people has been organized in Misaktsieli, a village near Tbilisi. The centre demonstrates different alternative appropriate technologies for sustainable rural living reaching from bird houses to a solar dryer, to bricketing machines and alternative agriculture. Even a solid waste recycling unit is organized in the centre. The first ecosan toilet in Georgia has been build there, and the centre will be equipped with indoor ecosan toilets on the first floor. The grey water will be treated in constructed wetlands. RCDA applied for 25 toilets, but expects to build more because of the high interest in their target communities. The organization aims that at least one demonstration toilet in each region of Georgia will be in use at the end of the year.

The center can host up to 14 persons, and trainings for ELA partners, community members and WECF staff can be conducted in the centre.
In the centre a small ecosan production is organized, producing non-stop concrete urine diverting seats from the mould provided by WECF, the seats to be used by all Georgian partners. The production is providing employment for one of the community members.

RCDA is mobilizing and empowering the population in six communities. Project support groups are established. A sanitation strategy is developed in each community, implying the promotion of ecosan, clean and safe water supply, and the management of solid waste on local level. Where appropriate, income generating activities for women are organized.

Organisation: Ecological Agriculture Association (SEMA)
City: Tbilisi
Project title: Support of rural communities in Mtskheta Mtianeti, Shida Kartli and Kvemo Kartli regions in increase of incomes through building skills and capacities in conducting organic agriculture and environmentally safe off-farm activities

Issues & short description:

  • Agriculture: rural development, agricultural extension services, demonstration fields
  • Energy: implementation of biogas installations
  • Sanitation: Implementation of sanitary facilities such as ecological sanitation toilets and hand washing facilities

Sema empowers rural communities to convert to organic agriculture and improve their livelihoods
The goal of the project is to empower key target groups of 120 rural households in 4 rural communities in ShidaKartli and Mtskheta- Mtianeti regions to play an effective and stimulating role in their development process by carrying out practical replicable improvement projects in the areas of sanitation, energy and agriculture, which have a direct benefit for the economic and health situation, and strengthen the participation of women in the development process.

Sema has organized three demonstration fields showing improved, environmental friendly new agricultural technologies. The fields are managed by the farmers who own the land. Farmers are trained on these new technologies in the field. Sema is convinced, that farmers learn most effectively, when they see with their own eyes the benefits of new methodologies, in stead of hearing it in a seminar. During the planting season, Sema staff spent all their days on the field to work with the farmers.

Closely connected to organic agriculture is ecological sanitation, of which they plan to build 10 toilets. To meet the energy needs of the rural population, to make us of the cow dung optimal and to produce a good soil conditioner, two 6m3 biogas digesters will be installed in rural villages.
The rural population is trained in all the issues mentioned above. It turns out, that especially women are interested and participate most active. The people are organized in project committees and women’s groups.

Related News

Resource centre for Water, Sanitation and Renewable Energy opened in Western Georgia by RCDA
Regional resource centre for Water, Sanitation and Renewable Energy was festively opened in Khamiskuri, Khobi district on 26th November 2010 by RCDA and local and regional authorities with participation of WECF, Greens Movement and other WECF partners
18.01.2011 | Anna Samwel

WECF training in Georgia for participants from Azerbaijan: ‘Introduction to alternative technologies for sustainable rural development’
Training: ‘Introduction to alternative technologies for sustainable rural development’ organized for Azeri participants at the Demonstration Center Misaktsieli, Georgia
10.05.2010 | Anna Samwel

WECF Georgian Partner Greens organises rally on World Water Day
“Greens Movement of Georgia” and “Water Global Partnership – Georgia” jointly held rally on March 20-21 to clear the Alazani riverside of rubbish
23.03.2010 | WECF Partner Press Release

First Indoor UDD Toilet Georgia opened in school for socially vulnerable children by WECF partner RCDA
The first indoor Urine Diverting Dry School in Georgia was opened on 18 December 2009 by WECF partner Rural Community Development Agency (RCDA) in the frame of the ELA project
16.01.2010 | Anna Samwel

Knowledge Exchange on Sustainable Sanitation in western Georgia
41 participants from 9 EECCA Countries , the Netherlands, and Germany gathered in Khoni in Western Georgia
20.11.2009 | Gero Fedtke

Climate Week in Georgia
From October 24-31 it was Climate Week in Georgia – The first large scale and coordinated Climate Campaign in this Caucasian country organised by WECF partner the Greens Movement of Georgia
01.11.2009 | Anna Samwel

Solar collector manuals developed by RCDA and WECF
"How to construct a solar collector" and "Solar energy applications in Rural Areas"
09.10.2009 | Regina Drexel

WECF-Training: Construction of solar collectors, Georgia, 10-13 May 09
Cold winters are very common in almost the whole EECCA region, but sun radiation is high and often there is a lot of sun in winter time as well, that can be used by solar collectors. For that reason, WECF and its partners are working on a more advanced but still affordable self-made solar collector
06.07.2009 | Regina Drexel

Conference on Safe Water and Ecological Sanitation: Perspectives for Georgia
On World toilet day, 19 November, WECF partner organization Georgian Ecological and Biological Monitoring Organization (GEBMA) organized a high level conference on Sanitation and Water
14.12.2008 | Anna Samwel