08.12.2011 08:51
Category: News News

Alternative livelihoods for forest dependent populations

Furnace and raw material for charcoal production. Photo by M.Kavtarishvili
G.Zuliashvili's work on wood. Photo by M.Kavtarishvili
Business Consultant Tekturmanidze meets woodcarver Zuliashvili in Sagarejo. Photo by M.Kavtarishvili

Pilot projects on the establishment of the Wood Art Workshop and Training Centre as well as on Charcoal Production will benefit local population in Sagarejo district, Georgia.

The project on the Wood Art Workshop and Training Centre is a great opportunity for local people to learn how to make wooden souvenirs and generate income for their families. Mr. Giorgi Zuliashvili from Manavi village is involved in one of IUCN’s pilot projects. A self-educated wood carver, he has organized a workshop for his fellow villagers. He specializes in making original tables, chairs, religious icons and other wood products with extensive ornamentation. Among his best and highest valued works is a large table and chair complex with carved animal figures. The big root of a walnut tree was used to create this piece of work.

Through the project, implemented by the Georgian based business consultancy firm TBSC Consulting, Zuliashvili’s workshop was extended to other villagers. TBSC is supporting the project beneficiaries to find markets to sell the product. Intensive training was provided to interested people on small business management, accounting and marketing. Besides, Mr. Zuliashvili will teach local schoolchildren woodcarving. An agreement was achieved with Sagarejo municipality to open a weekend school in Sagarejo district. The municipality will provide Mr. Giorgi Zuliashvili with a teaching room and monthly salary.
The new Wood Art Workshop and Training Centre will support the Manavi population to learn create wooden souvenirs and make alternative livelihood. It will also educate and involve local children in forest issues. “The project gave me the possibility to expand my workshop. It is very important for me. I will continue my work with high motivation. I am happy to see the interest of my neighbors and that my experience is helping them to create additional income for their families”, Mr. Zuliashvili said.

Another example of the small pilot projects from the same municipality is the Charcoal Production project in the village Kochbani. Mr. Gela Maghaltadze, an experienced charcoal producer settled in the village several decades ago and started producing charcoal. Prior to this, he condutcted research on charcoal production technology, bought drawings of charcoal furnaces from Russia and built the furnaces himself. After gathering all the required legal documents, necessary to operate a charcoal production plant he became a licensed producer of charcoal in Georgia.

The product proved to be successful and Mr. Maghaltadze periodically increased the production to meet the growing demand. However, the production capacity was limited due to problems related to operating only one furnace and obtaining the raw materials. In the framework of the project the production capacity has been expanded and many villagers have received business-related training. This allowed other villagers to get involved in the charcoal production business. TBSC consulting will continue monitor and support the projects till the end of the year and ensure that they are running properly.

For more information on the projects please, contact Irakli Tekturmanidze from TBSC Consulting: Irakli@tbsc.ge

For more information on ENPI FLEG Program in Georgia please contact Ekaterine Otarashvili: ekaterine.otarashvili@iucn.org