HEKS Regionalprogramm Südkaukasus
Christian Bobst
South Caucasus

A prospect for the South Caucasus: income opportunities and addressing conflict

Regional Programme South Caucasus

In the South Caucasus HEKS is active in Georgia and Armenia and works with 12 local partner organisations (NGOs, farmers' associations, small businesses). Through income-generating activities and by strengthening civil society, the aim is to promote peaceful coexistence and improve living conditions in rural areas.


The South Caucasus is strongly influenced by its post-Soviet past. Poverty and hopelessness are especially acute in rural areas. People are migrating to the cities or abroad, thereby creating considerable dependence on money remittancesfrom migrant workers. In addition, the “frozen” conflicts in Georgia are a strain on relations between South Ossetia and Abkhazia and the ethnic groups living there. Furthermore, for over 30 years now Armenia has been witnessing armed conflict around the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which again claimed several lives in the autumn of 2020. Transforming the conflict is being rendered difficult by its instrumentalisation for domestic political purposes, entrenched opinions and rampant nationalism. The upshot is very little visible progress. In addition to armed conflicts, the South Caucasus is also regularly affected by natural disasters such as earthquakes, flooding and drought. On the one hand, economic development is very unevenly distributed and on the other, it is limited mainly to urban areas. The HEKS/EPER programme in the South Caucasus therefore focuses on rural areas.

Objectives and priorities

The regional programme aims to improve the life prospects of the people of the South Caucasus. The intention is to empower beneficiaries to meet daily economic challenges on their own, among other things, by promoting inclusive market systems, vocational training, access to financial services and boosting agricultural productivity. Young people, media workers, opinion leaders and civil society should question the dominant stereotypes, disseminate information from alternative sources or with alternative content and jointly develop a vision of peace for society. To that end, young people are mobilised for conflict transformation, alternative information and information sources are provided and interaction between conflicting parties is facilitated and encouraged.
HEKS Regionalprogramm Südkaukasus Ziele
Walter Imhof


To this end, the following activities will be carried out:

Economic development of rural communities:

  • Building the professional skills of farmers in cooperation with the authorities, service providers and associations.
  • Improving the organisation of farmers and building relationships between producer associations, NGOs and the private sector.
  • and the private sector. The aim of this cooperation is to guarantee access to services and markets and to promote fair trade relations.
  • Productive cooperation between associations, rural organisations and local governments to rehabilitate infrastructures (mainly irrigation).
  • Identification, prevention and mitigation of environmental risks by those responsible.

Conflict transformation:

  • Strengthening civil society through training and networking.
  • Cooperation between civil society actors, communities and individuals to increase social cohesion.
  • Supporting the production and dissemination of objective information.

Humanitarian aid:

  • Identify and train partner organisations to implement humanitarian assistance projects.
  • Periodic identification of risks.
  • Rapid identification of needs in emergencies and efficient and professional implementation of humanitarian aid.
  • Networking and coordination.

More information...

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