III Regional Meeting on Promoting Responsible Mining in Caucasus


On 1-2 February 2017, CENN organized III regional meeting within the framework of the project Promoting Environmental and Social Accountability in the Mining Sector in the Caucasus. The meeting was attended by the partner organizations from Armenia and Azerbaijan, Local Working Groups (LWGs) from mining affected regions from Lori region (Armenia), Ganja-Gazakh Economic region (Azerbaijan) and Imereti, Kakheti, Tkibuli, Kvemo Kartli and Shida Kartli (Georgia).     The purpose of the meeting was to present the activities implemented within the project and develop action plans for each target country. Furthermore, the main problems caused by irresponsible mining activities at the local level were presented during the meeting.     The aim of the project is to reduce poverty, enhance environmental education and awareness, enhance environmental and social security related to mining activities and foster sustainable rural development.     The project is being implemented with the financial support of the German fund, Bread for the World.  

Bulachauri Green Center Hosted Green Ideas Workshop


On February 6-7 young and creative minds gathered at the Bulachauri Green Centre and worked together with CENN mentors. As an active supporter of the youth initiatives, CENN hosted a two-day workshop aiming to generate new ideas and initiatives and support youth activism in the regions of Georgia.   The first day of the event was dedicated to the generation of new ideas from young participants; best ideas were selected and supported by mentors during the second day of the workshop. Two teams have already started idea implementation activities. Among them are Telavi Flea Market community and green YouTube channel Greenvironment.   As a continuation of successful two-day workshop, CENN team will help young innovators in the implementation of their initiatives on the return to their home regions.   Please see a short coverage on what took place during the event.      

Changer – Workshop on Green Ideas


As an active supporter of the youth initiatives, CENN will host a two-day workshop aiming at generating new ideas and initiatives and supporting youth activism in the regions of Georgia. On February 6-7 young and creative minds will gather at the Bulachauri Green Centre and work together with CENN mentors.   The first day of the event aims at generation of new ideas from young participants, best ideas will be selected and supported by mentors during the second day of the workshop. CENN team will help young innovators in the implementation of their initiatives on the return to their home regions.   February 6 – “Inspiration” Day   Kick Off Session 10:00   Opening info Session   Inspirational interruption   First Session on Idea Generation   Inspirational interruption     BREAK 13:00 – 14:00   Second Session on Idea Screening   Inspirational interruption   Third Session on Idea Validation   Closing of the Day One – Assignment for day 2   Movie & Popcorn night 20:00 February 7 – “Make it Work” Day     Presentation of Ideas   Feedbacks on Ideas   Planning of Implementation   BREAK 14:00-15:00   Planning of Implementation   Inspirational interruption   BREAK 16:00-17:00   Presentation of finalised projects   CLOSING   Movie & Popcorn night 20:00  

Green Technology & Innovation Day at TechPark


  On November 29 CENN hosted Green Technology and Innovation Day at TechPark Georgia. The event aimed at raising awareness of environmental issues throughout Georgia and introducing green technologies and innovative approaches to the audience.   At CENN we believe that using modern technologies both in Georgia and worldwide will make it easier to spread information about environmental challenges and increase community participation in bringing about lasting positive change. During the event, CENN unveiled the first ever environmental knowledge portal for the South Caucasus, a mobile application — GreenWatch and an educational e-game, Sort and Recycle.   The Caucasus Environmental Knowledge Portal (environment.cenn.org) is a platform that provides updated information to stakeholders on all kinds of environmental issues. The platform encourages public participation in environmental decision-making by providing readily accessible and relevant information to arouse public interest in environmental issues.  The portal makes scientific and policy-based information and popular articles available for anyone interested in the environment, both children and adults, concerned stakeholders and people already involved in environmental activities. The Platform was created by CENN with financial support from our donors.   The mobile app GreenWatch is another innovative tool created by CENN, which allows us to care for nature together. The app lets users highlight specific threats to the environment by sending information to CENN and other relevant actors, using easy taps and gestures. Taking advantage of faster, more modern means of communication, the app will bridge the gap between the public and government, helping them to work together to take care of the environment. The app was created in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resource Protection of Georgia and Tbilisi Municipality City Hall, with financial support from CENN’s donors.   An educational e-game Sort and Recycle was created for the purpose of raising public awareness on waste separation and recycling, targeting children aged 6 and above. The goal of the game is to help the younger generation understand that not all waste is garbage, that it’s possible to produce useful items by sorting waste and further recycling and that by recycling waste, we care for the environment since we save natural resources. The game, conceived of and supported by CENN, was developed by GeoLab, in the framework of the USAID-funded program “Waste Management Technologies in Regions”.

Ecomigrant Women in Disveli Start Cheese Production


Every morning has started differently for three women in Disveli village, Bolnisi Municipality, since April 2016. At 9 am sharp they start their daily job at a small cheese enterprise located in the village to produce Sulguni, butter, and a ricotta-like dairy product from local cattle milk. The morning starts by getting fresh milk from various farms, which is later put into a pasteuriser. After cooling down, it undergoes a ripening process, which takes at least 30-40 minutes. When the cheese is ready, it is simultaneously boiled and stretched and later kneaded into a round-shaped Sulguni.   Disveli is a village of ecomigrants from Adjara who were resettled due to a landslide that destroyed their homes in Khulo Municipality. Building the cheese cooperative in Disveli is the result of a partnership between CENN and Rural Economic Development Program (RED) for the Southern Regions of Georgia – a joint Danish-Swiss project that aims to contribute to the economic growth of the agriculture sector and reduction of poverty in Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli regions. CENN’s involvement in the establishment of the women cooperative and enterprise was possible in the framework of the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) funded the project, Empowered Rural Women for Sustainable Agriculture in the South Caucasus, which is implemented in a partnership with Hilfswerk Austria International and Green Lane Agricultural Assistance NGO in Armenia.   The project aims to reduce poverty in the transboundary region of Armenia and Georgia via contributing to the empowerment of women and to increase their awareness of the importance of sustainable agriculture in the South Caucasus. Consequently, one of the cooperative’s principles was gender equality, meaning that at least half of its members should be female. This empowers rural women, ensures their income, and generally improves the living conditions of the vulnerable rural population. In addition, the cooperative also assumes social responsibility for its community and invests part of the cooperative’s income into a community fund that targets its development projects.   Meri Makharadze, the Chairwomen of the cooperative, explains that the existence of such cooperatives and enterprises in the village is necessary as the village will have some novelty and innovation. ‘A person can learn a lot of things as the project brought so many international experts, who taught us the production of various cheese types with different technologies’ she continued.   Another woman involved in the cooperative and cheese production is Zaira Shainidze, who has much more experience in cheese production than others. She has worked for at least 5 years in different companies and factories. Zaira notes that she has never worked in any enterprise with such technologically advanced equipment.   ‘Working is much easier, than with the traditional Adjaran method, which involves bigger bowls and bare hands’ she continues adding that being in the enterprise is beneficial for her as she has her own income and can help her family.   Currently, the cheese produced in Disveli is sold in Tbilisi in low quantities, while the butter and ricotta, while being in high demand, are only sold on the Disveli village market. Members of the cooperative hope to become more efficient, and extend production and most importantly the labour force quite soon. The problem they currently face is that they do not have a vehicle to bring milk from cattle that taken to the mountains to pasture during the summer. In addition, the cooperative is working on recommendations received from the National Food Agency in order to introduce a HACCP plan in the factory and to start mass production.   According to Makharadze, the enterprise is able to get 2.5 tonnes of milk every day and fully utilise it. She explains that 100 litres of milk give around 12–13 kg of cheese, while on average they get at least 300–400 litres each day. Shainidze elaborates that once they begin mass distribution, the enterprise will be able to an employee at least 10 people for cheese production, but this is not the only work at the factory, as there is also the daily cleaning of premises and equipment.   To raise awareness of the enterprise, cooperative members participated in various national and international agricultural and cheese festivals such as the Georgian Cheese Festival in 2014, the Festival of Rural Life in Yerevan in 2014 and 2015, and the South Caucasus Cheese Festival in Tbilisi in 2015. Last year in Yerevan, the Disveli cooperative was even awarded the Best Enterprise Award.

Green summer at Eco-Camps


CENN’s Green Center in Bulachauri has been hosting eco-camps every summer since 2010. The camps were divided into 5 groups and were conducted from June 27 to September 5, 2016, and hosted high school students from public and private schools throughout Georgia.   This year, the syllabus of the camps included various environmental topics including forest ecosystems and their sustainable management, appreciating the difference among various plants, biodiversity conservation, integrated waste management and steps taken by Georgia in that area, the impact of mining on natural and socio-economic environment of Georgia, urbanization and trends in urban development, natural risk reduction and management possibilities, climate change and the consequences related to its risks, climate-smart agriculture and pasture management.   In addition to topic-based, environmental lectures, the participants were given an opportunity to learn the specifics of working on a journalist text, working on a literary text, main trends of use of social media and the specifics of landscape photo shooting. The youth will use the received skills to continue actively using GreenWatch application and sharing their green activities with their peers using social media. Giorgi Avazashvili, a participant of one of the groups even created a video blog about the new friends he made,  fun hiking tours and interesting seminars that he experienced.   Hiking tours made the final part of the camps. This summer, various groups took different trails to study local endemics and conducted environmental monitoring under leaders’ supervision. The participants passed Tsilkani, Mukhrani, Tezi, Mleta and Lomisa, Truso Valley, Kazbegi and Kintrishi protected areas as well as Shatili and Mutso. Prior to taking off, the participants had a preparatory seminar where they learned from professional instructors about the rules of conduct and the purpose and use of hiking equipment.   In parallel with eco-camps, a competition for Niko Ketskhoveli school award is in progress where youths from various schools of Georgia will compete with one another and the above award will be granted to the winner. Camp participants were given detailed instructions about the rules of the competition so that they can spread information in their respective schools and take part in the competition.   The main goal of eco-camps is to prepare future generations for tackling environmental challenges. Here in CENN, we believe that a change is only possible when one is ready for it. All of us, no matter the age, gender, social status or beliefs need to make our contribution. Organising a camp is a great challenge and responsibility for our team, though the results continue to exceed our expectations from year to year.   CENN eco-camps will continue and offer opportunities to participate in any school student involved in the competitions and activities organised by our organisation throughout the year.   In 2016, conducting camps at CENN’s Green Center in Bulachauri was possible within the project “Sustainable Forest Governance in Georgia” supported by Austrian Development Cooperation and the Government of Abkhazia.


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