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Alliances Caucasus Programme at a Glance

The Alliances programme, a market system development programme working in the livestock market system in Georgia, is a Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) project, implemented by Mercy Corps Georgia and run in accordance with the M4P (Making Markets Working for the Poor) Approach. The programme began in 2008 in Samstkhe Javakheti, Georgia. Alliances Kvemo Kartli was opened in 2011, with a second phase awarded to Samstkhe Javakheti. In 2014, the second phase of an expanded Kvemo Kartli was merged with a new branch of the programme in Ajara and a two-year monitoring and sustainability phase in Samstkhe Javakheti to form the Alliances Lesser Caucasus Programme (ALCP). From 2014 Alliances management, programming and operations were fully harmonized under the ALCP. The programme has achieved substantial scale and systemic change well beyond the initial designated programme areas and targets and has devoted itself to learning, excellence and participation in a global community of practice in Market Systems Development, including being twice successfully audited by the Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED) Standard for Results Measurement. It has furthered learning and practice in Women’s Economic Empowerment and harnessed market systems programming to generate significant impact in transversal themes with a 54% average of female usage and access across all interventions.

The ALCP a viable platform for Regional Development

The programme has extensive networks and works in partnership with all levels of the private sector, civil society and government. This background formed the basis for the four year Alliances Caucasus Programme (ALCP) 2017-2021, which utilizes the platform created by the ALCP to significantly contribute to the goal of the new South Caucasus Swiss Development Cooperation Strategy 2017-2020. This SDC strategy sees a strengthening of the regional approach in the South Caucasus through the promotion of areas of mutual and beneficial interest between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia including cross-border initiatives in trade and the extension of services and inputs through the lens of agriculture based economic development which is considered to offer substantial opportunities for regional development and the rural populations of the three countries.

The ALCP programme is facilitating interventions in the livestock and honey market systems to safeguard ongoing sustainable growth, and is promoting new growth that includes ensuring access for SME’s and livestock and honey producers to cross border and other export markets.  It also exploits available entry points for the transfer of inputs and services successfully developed in Georgia to Armenia and Azerbaijan to enhance cross border linkages. Entrepreneurialism and job creation especially for women, the access to finance and financial literacy that is required to make this happen for SME’s and start-ups as well as  increased income from sustainable supply opportunities and stable quality inputs increasing productivity are key indicators of impact.

Evidence and Impact from which to Build the Regional Programme - from 2008 to April, 2019

LATEST NEWS
Georgian Honey on the World Stage
12/09/2019
The 46thApimondia Congress 2019, the most significant event in beekeeping worldwide, took place from 9th of September to 12th of September, in Montreal, Canada. For the second time in Apimondia’s hundred years of history, Georgia was at this world forum, represented by the Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture (MEPA), the Georgian Beekeepers’ Union (GBU) and Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking company, exhibiting the different types of honey of its members and promoting Georgian honey and beekeeping. Apimondia promotes scientific, ecological, social and economic apicultural development in all countries and the cooperation of beekeepers' associations, scientific bodies and individuals involved in apiculture all over the world. This event is a unique opportunity for Georgia to promote itself as a honey producer and claim a place next to world leading honey producers. The recent placing of Georgia on the list of third countries for honey only further cements the credibility of Georgia as a viable producer country. Georgia has been extensively promoted internationally as the birthplace of winemaking. Apimondia provides the  opportunity to put energy into a new promotion of Georgia as the homeland of the oldest honey ever discovered, preserver of ancient beekeeping traditions as shown in the Jara movie and producer of a wide variety of artisanal natural honey and bee products fueled by the un-paralleled flora of Georgia’s uniquely bio diverse and unspoiled landscape. The Georgian Beekeepers Union (2018) as an umbrella association for advocating and representing beekeepers’ interests developed Honey promotion video, websites/catalogues of Jara Honey and Georgian Honey for further promotion of Georgian honey. The first participation at the congress was facilitated by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) project the Mercy Corps Georgia implemented Alliances Caucasus Programme (ALCP) in cooperation with the Ajarian Beekeeping Business Association (ABBA) operating under the Ajara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) in Istanbul, Turkey in 2017. Follow the links on the Apimondia Congress 2019: Interpressnews, Palitranews.ge
Expanding the Women’s Rooms Success to Armenia
25/07/2019
The Women’s Room in Alaverdi municipality, Armenia was officially opened on the 25th of July by the Governor of Lori Province, Andrey Ghukasyan, the Head of Alaverdi Municipality, Sasun Khemuchyan and the ALCP Team Leader, Helen Bradbury. The Head of the Department of Family, Women and Youth of the Ministry of Labour and Social Issues, the Head of the Municipality, the representative of Association of Lawyers, local businesswomen and other guests attended the opening ceremony. The Mayor of Keda Municipality of Ajara region and the Manager of Women’s Room in Keda were invited, representing one of the most successful Women’s Rooms in Georgia. Keda and Alaverdi Municipalities forged links when the representatives of Alaverdi Municipality were invited to the Women's Business Forum held in Batumi, Ajara in March, 2018.  “This service is very important for women and their families to improve their business skills. I would like to thank all of the initiators and supporters of the project and I am ready to discuss the opening of this service in other municipalities as well” - Andrey Ghukasyan, Governor of Lori Province. “The Idea of the opening of the Women’s Room in Alaverdi came when we visited the Women’s Room in Keda, Ajara region three years ago. The Alliances Caucasus Programme expressed their readiness to share their experience with us how to establish and operate the WR. This service will help women with accessing resources and training to get finances for their businesses. When we help women, we strengthen their families’ Sasun Khemuchyan, the Head of Alaverdi Municipality. Photo Source: Facebook page of Women's Room in Armenia
Facilitating Funds for Women
21/06/2019
All the managers of the municipal Women’s Rooms and representatives of the Governor’s office in Kakheti region attended a training on Business Plan Writing and Fundraising held by the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) with ALCP facilitation. For three days George Turkia and Nikoloz Abuashvili, full professors of GIPA, explained how to transform ideas into real plans and where to find the money for them. ‘This was the most interesting training I have ever had. A lot of women are coming to my room with business ideas but I cannot provide help because of lack of knowledge. Now I am full of enthusiasm and ready to help them. It is also important for me that helping women with starting businesses in rural areas will be supported by the local government through the Women’s Room. We will make it happen’ – Bela Marukashvili, the Women’s Room Manager in Akhmeta municipality. Background information: Twenty-eight municipalities of Ajara, Kvemo Kartli, Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kakheti have established free information-consultation spaces - Women’s Rooms to support women’s equal participation at local decision making fora and their economic empowerment. In 2016 the Women’s Rooms in Ajara pioneered to help rural women with applying to the government grant programmes and after a year the model was copied by Kvemo Kartli and Samtskhe-Javakheti as well. To date 88 women business start-ups have been funded through the Women’s Rooms in Georgia.
LATEST PUBLICATIONS
Forming partnerships with the Private Sector May 2019
Review of M&E Practices in Mercy Corps
MARKET SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT RESOURCE GUIDE