Standing up for our local food heroes!
DateOctober 19, 2022
“Food production and rural development are at a base of the economic, social and environmental sustainability of nations. And as a global development organisation working in the field of rural development for over 60 years, we know that the most effective way to achieve sustainable rural development is to empower the people living in the rural areas, especially the women. It is our firm belief that providing women with equal opportunities will fuel sustainable rural economies and benefit society as a whole,” said Anneli Leina, Regional Director of We Effect Europe in her opening speech at the event organized on the occasion of International Day of Rural Women and World Food Day at the Royal Winery Queen Maria in Demir Kapija, North Macedonia, by our partners NFF and RDN.
The Regional Director addressed the rural women present at the event stressing that this is the most relevant time to show appreciation for their work. “You are our food heroes who are making sure that food makes its way from farm to table. You are the guardians of food security and the pillar of the rural economy,” she said.
Ami Larsson Jain, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden to the Republic of North Macedonia, who was also one of the speakers at the event, reaffirmed the stands of Sweden for supporting gander equal power and influence for women.
“Rural women’s role is crucial for rural development and food production, especially in these difficult times of food scarcity and rising prices. Sweden recognizes and values the role of rural women in food production and believes that empowering rural women and enabling them with equal access to resources and markets is important,” said Ami Larsson Jain, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden to the Republic of North Macedonia.
The rural women present at the event were also addressed by Elizabeta Gjorgievska, the First Lady of the Republic of North Macedonia, Jovana Trencevska, Minister of Labor and Social Policy and Ljupco Nikolovski, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy, as well as by Vaska Mojsovska, President of the National Federation of Farmers and Petar Georgievski, President of Rural Development Network of NM.
The event hosted a public discussion on the topic – The Role of Rural Women in Rural Economic Development, promoting the success stories of several rural women and their businesses, followed by a fair of agricultural and homemade products of the rural women.
In Kosovo, our partner organisation, the Network of Organisations for Rural Development in Kosovo (NORDK), organized a conference on the topic – Rural Women and Food Security. Reginal Director Anneli Leina, who attended the conference online stressed that “gender equality is crucial for food security because investing in rural women improves the livelihood odds not just for women, but for everyone. Therefore, achieving sustainable agricultural development would be impossible without fully involving rural women, benefiting from their knowledge and skills.”
The event in Kosovo, a combination of a conference with panel discussions followed by a fair, was attended by rural women from all parts of the country, as well as by representatives from the Kosovo Agency for Gender Equality, Ministry of Agriculture, Food Agency, and local CSOs.
In Albania, our partner AgroPuka participated in the Pro Rural Women event organized by the Albanian Network for Rural Development on the topic of women’s economic empowerment through gender-sensitive value chain development for sustainable food systems. Around 20 rural women, members of our partner have attended the event and exhibited their products at the fair accompanying the event. Additionally, our partner AgriNet organized a workshop in Korca with 50 women leaders from this region and 10 women from the Farmers’ Association of Elbasan region, focused on the important role of women in agriculture production and food security.
Also smaller in size but important for the Roma community from the rural areas of Albania was the event organized by our third Albanian partner, Amaro-Drom. The event was focused on the importance of the rural women for food security. Participants at the event were Roma rural women, leaders of Roma organizations, representatives from the Swedish Embassy in Tirana, local authorities and other important stakeholders for the Roma population. The activity incorporated a peaceful march of all participants at the end of the event.
In Moldova, our partner FARM organized the workshop – Empowering rural women through access to digital technologies and equal participation in agricultural entrepreneurship, while our partner NFFM, in partnership with the Moldovan Ministry of Agriculture, has organized the national Exhibition FARMER 2022 – the largest event to promote farmers in Moldova, putting a large emphasis on women farmers, by enabling over 200 rural women to showcase their agricultural and homemade products.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, our partner Vive Zene organized the traditional fair of rural women’s products in city of Tuzla where 52 women from the surrounding rural areas participated with their farm production. The women mainly presented their organic products, homemade processed food and drinks, such as jams, ajvars and juices, as well as handcrafts.