To recognize “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty”, October 15th is celebrated worldwide as the International Rural Women’s Day. Following the good practice of the Rural Development Network of North Macedonia, which traditionally organizes an event each year and gathers all relevant stakeholders around the country for October 15th, the BRDN partners, the rural development networks of Montenegro and Serbia, this year initiated the celebration of the International Rural Women’s Day in their countries.
Taking all precaution measures due to the latest developments with the pandemic, the networks organized 2 small events of about 30 participants in Niksic, Montenegro and Vrnjacka Banja, Serbia.
The President of the Network for Rural Development of Serbia, Dragan Roganović, who opened the event, emphasized the important role of women in the development of the rural economy and the rural livelihood in general. He pointed out that only actions which are coordinated by all stakeholders, starting from decision makers, local authorities, associations, the business sector and women themselves, can create good preconditions for improvement of the position of the rural women. Some great examples of rural women entrepreneurship were presented during the event, such as rural woman who started the family business within rural tourism and rural woman who produces traditional food.
The Network for Rural Development of Montenegro and the organization, Olive Growers’ Association “Boka” gathered more than 20 participants for the occasion of October 15th, expecting for this kind of gathering to grow into traditional celebration in the years to come. Ratko Bataković, the President of the Network for Rural Development of Montenegro in his welcoming speech emphasized the crucial role that women and girls play in ensuring the sustainability of rural households and communities, improving rural livelihoods and overall wellbeing, which has been increasingly recognized. The participants at the event also had the opportunity to visit a rural women entrepreneur in small village of Brsno, nearby Nikšić and to hear her story about starting the small business, the mini factory “Cornelian” for production of juice and other products of cornelian cherries.
The event in Montenegro was complemented by joining the celebration in North Macedonia, which was organized through Zoom by the Rural Development Network of North Macedonia and the National Federation of Farmers. This way the rural stakeholders in Montenegro could see how high importance is given to the International Rural Women’s Day in North Macedonia and how this celebration has contributed in raising the voice of rural women in the country.
The celebration of the International Rural Women’s Day in North Macedonia, as well as in Serbia and Montenegro, was supported by the Swedish Development Organization We Effect as part of the activities implemented for strengthening of BRDN capacities.