The government of Georgia has partnered with USAID to improve primary education. The program focuses on training teachers, assessing students and utilizing new technology in the classroom. In countries like Georgia, education is expected to sustain and advance development. Children are more likely to go on to higher education when they attend primary school.

According to USAID, the Georgia Primary Education Project, or G-PriEd, “has been implementing ambitious reforms to transform its education system from a teacher-centered model to a student-centered one that enables Georgian children to develop their full potential.”

The project also tracks student progress via standardized testing to ensure students are making considerable gains.

“Years of crisis and civil war caused the impoverishment of a large section of the Georgian population,” according to the World Bank. Yet poverty levels have been declining in the past few years due to Georgia’s economic growth. G-PriEd will take the country a step further in fostering the economic development currently underway.

The project was first implemented in October of 2011 and will continue until 2016. The program’s potency rests in its ability to positively push primary school children toward higher education. Additionally, this initiative successfully encourages parents to be more involved in their child’s education. Setting the foundation for valuing education at a young age ensures the population will continue to place importance on education in later years as well. More educated children in Georgia will greatly contribute to the country’s future economic development and will help sustain the great gains already made.

“Twelve percent of people could be lifted out of poverty if all students in poor countries had basic reading skills,” according to the U.N. For this reason, education has been a great focus in the push to end world poverty. The U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals makes education the second priority among the eight goals. The $8.7 million G-PriEd project is one of many currently making a difference by improving the lives of those living in poverty.

– Kimberly Quitzon

Sources: Worldbank, USAID, UN
Photo: Flickr

poverty in Georgia
The rural people of Georgia have been experiencing lots of suffering since their independence after the disbanding of the Soviet Union. The agricultural system changed radically after the markets collapsed and privatization created around one million small farmers. These farmers had resorted to subsistence farming, where all they typically farmed was corn, potatoes, and wheat.

However, livestock production and crop yields went down because of the farmers’ lack of resources to buy inputs. Compared to the era before Georgia achieved independence, the total agricultural yield of Georgia had nearly halved in 2004.

The common family in Georgia consumes over 70% of what it produces and upwards of 80% of the rural poor in the country completely relies on their own farms to sustain their lives. Even though over half of their labor force works in agriculture and farming, this sector produces less than 20% of the country’s gross domestic product.

The majority of families in rural settings are living at the lowest levels of subsistence with no way of escape or way to earn more money to invest in reconstructing their lives. The income that the rural parts of these countries receive is not enough for them to do anything with, the unemployment and underemployment rates are extremely high and the crop yield is very low. These people are extremely vulnerable, with nearly 45% of the population living beneath the national poverty line.

Rural households that are mainly taken care of by women with children are especially vulnerable to poverty in Georgia. The economic and social problems in the country have caused the previously improving rights of women to wear away. These women are generally dominated by men in the households, being viewed as homemakers, even though they technically have equality through the constitution. The women in Georgia also usually have lower wages and less opportunities for employment, which truly traps them in their homes.

UNICEF and government officials of Georgia agreed to a joint program of cooperation to improve children’s rights and to try to bring them out of poverty. According to UNICEF, “the percentage of children living below the national poverty line increased 25% in 2011 to 27% in 2013, as social spending was more focused on other groups.” Extreme poverty in children is still higher than the rest of the population, though it has been reduced in the last few years.

There is a new emphasis in the country being put on foster care and group homes being implemented so these children can escape poverty and lead better lives. The government of Georgia says how the improved family environment can make a change in a child’s life overnight and that the childcare system to come will be great.

Since 2005, the number of children in state care has dropped significantly from over 4,000 to only 150 because of Georgia’s shuttering 36 of the 41 childcare institutions in the country. About 80% of these children came from families that were still alive, but that were in such bad poverty that they could not afford to care for them anymore, but fortunately, these childcare centers were there to save their lives.

– Kenneth W. Kliesner

Sources: UNICEF, The Messenger, Rural Poverty Portal
Photo: Daily Mail