CARE is a leading international humanitarian organization, which was founded in 1945 and works in 95 countries of the world to fight poverty, with special focus on women and girls. CARE started working in South Caucasus from 1988. Since 2004, CARE operates development programs to fight poverty and social injustice through developing social entrepreneurship and linking population to the provate sector, using a bottom-up (supporting smallholder farmers, creating market linkages) and top down (financial brokerage, large companies) approaches. Rural development in South Caucasus is one of the main priorities for CARE International in the Caucasus.
CARE International in the Caucasus believes that a that a successful and sustainable model hinges on fostering local social entrepreneurism which generates ideas-whether economic, social or political that seek to address social injustice, that causes exclusion, marginalization and suffering. CARE social enterprise model was developed through the research on social injustice in South Caucasus and relies on the ability of people to improve their situation and their community.
The Cooperative Fund
Cooperative development in Georgia started through the project: "Cooperation for rural prosperity in Georgia". The The Cooperative Fund was created in 2017 by CARE, on the basis of the agricultural cooperatives, supported under the ENPARD cooperatives project. It assists agricultural cooperatives in Georgia to develop their businesses, through increasing their access to financial and technical resources. In today’s competitive environment, it is quite challenging for agricultural cooperatives to build sustainable businesses. One of the major problems is the limited access to financial resources. The main aim of The Cooperative Fund is to help smallholder farmers’ cooperatives access financial means, reduce the cooperatives’ dependence on external sources over time, and support the cooperatives to become self-reliant, more sustainable in the long-term. The Cooperative fund is a not-for-profit entity, with high social responsibility, that provides low interest loans and tailored payment schedules to its member agricultural cooperatives, both for actives and working capital. The fund also offers technical assistance and capacity building. Different from the typical financial institutions, the fund is focused on financial well-being of its member cooperatives. The uniqueness of the model is that, the each dollar contributed to the fund’s budget is not used only once, but constantly revolves, reaches its members and is used multiple times for the development of the cooperatives.
Social Enterprise project for women with special needs
CARE believes, that people have ideas and potential to change their lives and of other people, but lack skills and resources to do so. For this, CARE supported development of social enterprises in three municipalities of Georgia: Samtredia, Senaki, Abasha. Social enteprises employing or led by women with special needs, enables them to have a stable income and improve their living conditions.
To participate in the project, women had to attend the trainings, aimed to imrpove their knowledge on their rights, also technical and business skills. The project not only creates employment opportunities for women, but also works for their social integration. Social enterprises are not only the way to gain income but it gives women opportunity to take part in social life, communicate with others and for a community.
Women's Economic Empowerment through Social Mobilization and Capacity Building
From May 1, 2019, to enchance women's economic empowerment Kakheti Regional Development Foundation (KARDF), TASO Foundation (TF) and CARE International in the Caucasus (CARE) started implementing the 26-months project - "Women's Economic Empowerment through Social Mobilization and Capacity Building". The project is supported by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equility and the Empowerments of Women (UN Women) within the framework of the regional project "Women's Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus".
The project is implemented in 9 municipalities of Kakheti, Kvemo Kartli and Samtskhe-Javakheti regions. It aims to provide financial support for women's economic and social initiatives. It supports to activate and strengthen women.