EaPTC Armenia – Georgia Awarded Grant Projects

Sustainable Forest and Energy Solutions through Cross-border cooperation (SuFESC)

Sustainable Forest and Energy Solutions SuFESC [English subtitles]

Do you know how to measure heat loss from your house? 

July 8, 2016

When international organisation supports projects of transboundary cooperation, it helps not only the cooperation itself but the improvement of the situation in these particular regions since very often bordering area means region remote from the country centre.

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Sustainable Forest and Energy Solutions through Cross-border cooperation

March 22, 2016

Society Development Center of Akhaltsikhe (SDCA), a non-government organisation based in Akhaltsikhe, has received 91,395 Euro from the European Union to implement its 18 months-long project - Sustainable Forest and Energy Solutions through Cross-border Cooperation (SuFESC) - under the Eastern Partnership Territorial Cooperation Support Programme (EaTCP). 

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Title of the action:Sustainable Forest and Energy Solutions through Cross-border cooperation (SuFESC)
Location(s) of the action:Georgia: Samckhe-Djavakheti region, Akhaltsikhe district, Republic of Armenia Lore region, Stepanavan district
Total duration18 months
EU financing91,395 EURO
Name of the applicantNGO Society Development Center of Akhaltsikhe (SDCA), Georgia
Co-applicant 1Eco Club Lore, Armenia
Co-applicant 2Ecological Farmers’ Association of Georgia “SEMA”, Georgia

Applicant’s contact details

Postal address:Orbeliani Str. 66, Akhaltsikhe, 0800, Georgia
Telephone number:(+995) 365 22 30 92; (+995) 593272866
Contact person for this action:Nugzar Tateshvili
Contact person’s email:nugzar55@gmail.com                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

 Summary of the action

Objectives of the action

Strenthen cross-border cooperation and capacity building among rural communities and CSOs in Lore and Samtskhe-Javakheti regions for their sustainable development through promoting their awareness and skills on forest and climate-friendly technologies, including:

  • Improving the living conditions in 4 rural communities through capacity building in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, increasing comfort and reducing costs for the households;
  • Joint monitoring of forests around the 4 target communities and combating deforestation through awareness raising and proposing technologies that reduce the amount of firewood needed by local households;
  • Enhancing economic development through supporting the upscaling of RE and EE technologies by locally trained masters in the target regions with a focus on tourism, thus generating income and saving energy costs.
Target group(s)
  • The 3 (co-) applicants (SDCA, Lore and SEMA) improve the
  • quality of implementation and capacities;
  • Rural inhabitants of 4 target communities are and another 20 multiplier communities. Of them, 1200 people will receive consultations;
  • Local authorities, 2 Regional authorities, 2 forest agencies;
  • 40 multiplier youth that participates in the summer schools;
  • Family run tourist enterprises - a solar collector pays back within one or two seasons for a tourist enterprise.
Final beneficiaries
  • 160 trained masters/activists from the 4 target communities, 50% youth (under 30), 40% women,
  • 40 multiplier youth (under 30, 50% women),
  • 300 inhabitants of 20 further communities
Estimated results
  • Increased cooperation between 4 rural communities, 2 regions and 3 CSOs results in better mutual understanding and practical solutions to joint problems;
  • Akhaltsikhe and Lori regions have access to 160 certified skilled masters, 12 families use solar collectors, 12 houses are insulated and 16 families use solar food dryers, to improve living conditions and save energy (30 – 50% energy saving), and generate income;
  • 4 target communities are aware of the importance of proper forest management, and take concrete steps to improve the condition of their surrounding forests;
  • The action is being upscaled and replicated through consultations, business development and 40 multipliers.
Main activities
  • Activities to ensure a proper implementation and knowledge exchange;
  • Capacity building programme;
  • Activities to ensure the sustainability of the action; support for upscaling through specific consultations, awareness raising campaign and cooperation with the authorities.

Roles and participation and attitudes of actors and stakeholders

SDCA as applicant and LoreEcoClub as co-applicant will implement the project in parallel in their regions, each working in 2 principle target villages and spreading their work through multipliers to 10 additional villages each. They will cooperate on thematic and management topics and share information on progress and content. They have basically the same implementation roles in their countries. They have broad expertise in community mobilisation, participatory processes and complementary technical implementation skills. They have designed the action jointly based on the needs of the local communities and their own capacity building needs, thus their attitudes towards the action are very positive.

SEMA, with its science-based expertise on agro-ecological and geological properties, problems and solution on Samtskhe-Javakheti and Lori regions functions as a resource partner. SEMA will conduct a part of the training sessions on forestry, the summer school and will be advising the partners on upcoming issues. At the same time, SEMA has access to Georgian national authorities in case issues are coming up that should be solved on a national level. In the case of Armenia, LoreEcoClub has sufficient ties themselves to access national level. SEMA was involved from the beginning in designing the action and is well informed about the degradation of the environmental and socio-economic surrounding Akhaltsikhe and Stepanavan. SEMA is glad to be able to contribute to an improvement of the situation though supporting the action.

A WECF consultant is hired to ensure proper communication and reporting to the donor, as the applicants have a language barrier. She will support in setting up a reporting and monitoring system for the partners. She will mediate in case of misunderstandings of conflicts between the (co-) applicants. She is cooperating since 2007 with all 3 (co-) applicants and knows their capacities and potentials well, and is experienced in project management. Her attitude is very positive towards the action, as the action will build the capacity further of the (co-) applicants and is based on the needs of the local communities and environment. She has been consulted in designing the action and is also well informed about the problems and possible solution in the area. She is particularly glad about the cross-border cooperation component of the action, knowing the potentials of all organisations and the mutual benefits they will experience for themselves and the communities of cooperation.

Sustainability of the action

Technical impact: Direct: 40 households in Akhaltsikhe and Lore regions are demonstrating affordable, durable and easy to maintain technology for solar warm water, solar food drying and insulation, adapted to local conditions, open to local visitors as live ‘advertisements’ of the benefits of RE and EE. 160 certified constructors, use/maintenance specialists become a technical resource base in their countries. Multipliers inform at least another 20 communities. 50 ha of forest is monitored by trained and certified eco-activists and protected from logging.

Economic impact: Business and employment opportunities for 160 trained and certified constructors/ maintenance operators, to start construction of devices or marketing of dried fruits. Reduction in heating costs of (30-50%) and hence a higher disposable income in the 40 households of target groups with demonstration objects. As off spin of the project, it is expected that more households (at least 10 within the project period, and much more beyond) will implement the technologies and save costs in the long run. Families that have a lot of fruits, that usually spoil in peak seasons due to a lack of storing or conserving facilities, will benefit by acquiring a solar food dryer. The device pays back in less than a season and brings profit and improved food security immediately.

Social impact: The project aims to foster and strengthen regional cooperation, knowledge exchange, including and sharing of best practices, particularly those that can be replicated or scaled up with the focus on the forestry and energy sectors, monitor performance and public participation. The 200 people in 40 households and 160 trained people will take control of their own energy needs assessment and forest management, installing appropriate RE and EE systems and monitoring the results. They have improved the quality of life (monitoring indicators include improved availability of warm water as to amount and time, indoor comfort per degrees increase in temperature), and user satisfaction (ease of use, social acceptability, perceptions of improved health and hygiene. Expected gender impacts (measured separately) are a decrease in women’s work burden (working hours saved through availability of hot water, time spent on fuel gathering), more practical participation and decision making of women (nr. female trainees, participants etc)

Policy impact: The action does not directly address national policy, but can contribute by sharing its best practices to a better legislation. It will link with national initiatives such as NAMAs in Georgia and the Covenant of Mayors in both countries, and provide best practice examples. The increased ability and awareness will allow local replication. This will create ownership for the Post2015 sustainable Development Agenda and create the shift into global sustainability as such.

The cooperation with the various heterogeneous stakeholders (local CSOs, authorities, experienced NGOs, citizen, forestry agency, etc.) will pave the way to a sustainable Development: environmental (forest saving, saving energy, energy efficiency), social (increasing ownership for policy processes and public participation) and economic (sustainable economy with small business in EE and RE- sector).

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