Sida Director General visits our IISEE project in North Macedonia

The high-level delegation from Sida and from the Swedish Embassy in North Macedonia with the five Roma pupils from Kumanovo, North Macedonia. Photo by Ljiljana Mitevska.

As part of the Western Balkans five-country tour, the Director General of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency - Sida, Carin Jämtin, and the Director of Sida’s Department for Europe and Latin America, Lisa Fredriksson, visited a potential pilot intervention of our IISEE project, focused on ensuring better livelihood and greater opportunities for the rural and marginalized communities in North Macedonia.

The high-level delegation of Sida, accompanied by Ami Larsson-Jain, Swedish Ambassador to North Macedonia and embassy representatives Mikael Atterhög, Head of Development for North Macedonia, Ylva Johnson, Programme Specialist for North Macedonia, along with programme officers Biljana Dzartova-Petrovska and Ivan Petrovski, had the opportunity to be closely acquainted with the challenges that farmers, rural communities and marginalized Roma population in the country are facing and how our IISEE project helps to mitigate some of the consequences.

In light of the global crisis brought about by the war in Ukraine, entailing energy crisis, inflation and broken markets, Stevan Orozovikj, the Executive Director of our partner organisation the National Federation of Farmers (NFF), talked about how our project helps in reaching the most vulnerable in the rural communities. Poverty is tackled by tapping into the potentials of markets, enabling higher income, as well as greater access to goods and services for the poor.

More specifically, the aim of our IISEE project is to create positive changes that will lead to increased income, socio-economic empowerment and more resilient future for smallholder farmers, especially women and youth, as well as the marginalized Roma community.

Deserved applause after the presentation of the perils of juvenile marriages, prepared by the Roma pupils from the primary school “Hristijan Karposh” in Kumanovo. Photo by Ljiljana Mitevska.

In this context, at the primary school “Hristijan Karposh” in Kumanovo, our Swedish guests had a chance to meet with Roma pupils. As one of the poorest in the Macedonian society, performing low paid jobs in the grey economy, our project targets the Roma community through several interventions, one of them a potential intervention focused on completion of primary school of Roma pupils which will increase their skills and access to the labour market.

The pupils talked about their personal experiences, customs and practices in their community, especially the juvenile marriages, as a root cause of high dropout rates among Roma girls. With incomplete education and without primary school diploma, Roma women and girls, but also the rest of the community members are extremely vulnerable and exposed to poverty, unemployability and unfavourable socio-economic situation.

Sida Director General Carin Jämtin (left) and Swedish Ambassador to North Macedonia, Ami Larsson-Jain (right), at the meeting during the field visit related to our IISEE project. Photo by Ljiljana Mitevska.

The visit enabled our Swedish guests to have an insight into how the project can contribute to creating positive changes in the lives of underprivileged and poor communities in North Macedonia.

Our IISEE project, funded by Sida, is a three-year project focused on several regions in North Macedonia and is being implemented by both partner organisations of We Effect in the country: the National Federation of Farmers (NFF) and the Rural Development Network of North Macedonia (RDN of NM).

The meeting between the high-level delegation from Sida and the Swedish Embassy in North Macedonia with We Effect, partners, the school and the representatives from the Municipality of Kumanovo. Photo by Ljiljana Mitevska.

Written by

Ljiljana Mitevska