GeoWel is a research partner for the People in Need (PiN)’s Local Action Group (LAG) Kazbegi project. This is a pilot project funded by the European Union Program supporting Agriculture and Rural Developement (ENPARD) and the aim is to help local communities to mobilize, identify priorities for development and address them with the initial support of the project. As the Kazbegi municipality is an important tourist destination in Georgia, GeoWel conducted a comprehensive tourism study in summer 2015. This included face-to-face interviews with tourists, self-administered questionnaires for guests at local guesthouses, census and mapping of all guesthouses in Kazbegi, and a comprehensive analysis of the top tourist sites within the Kazbegi municipality. GeoWel conducted additional research in winter which focused on Gudauri in order to capture the specific development needs of a ski resort.
GeoWel also conducted a comprehensive socio-economic study of the Kazbegi municipality. As part of capacity development, GeoWel trained LAG staff in data collection techniques and used them as interviewers in a 380-household survey of the Kazbegi population. About one quarter of all households in the Kazbegi municipality were surveyed in this study, which provided a wealth of detailed information about the socio-economic situation of the municipality. The findings were also used in the strategy for development that the Kazbegi LAG later authored.
GeoWel also conducted several training sessions in data analysis, visualization, and presentation for Kazbegi LAG members. We developed guidelines and study materials that are specifically tailored to the LAG projects.