First Edition of PRO RURAL WOMEN

An opportunity to recognize the important role and contribution of rural women in agriculture and rural development and revitalize joint efforts to improve the situation through pro-rural women policies

Tirana, 15 October 2019 – About 150 women and girls from rural areas of the country gathered at the First Edition of the ‘Pro Rural Women’ organized by the Albanian Rural Development Network on the occasion of International Rural Women’s Day, October 15.

This edition, with the intention to become an annual tradition, aims to raise awareness of the important role and contribution of rural women in agriculture and rural development and at the same time to draw public attention towards sustainable support in addressing the challenges that face rural women in our country. Next year, ‘Pro Rural Women’ will travel to the municipality that is rated as ‘Pro Rural Women Municipality’ for the respective year.
The edition was opened by Mr. Sotiraq Hroni, Chairman of the ANRD Board who highlighted, inter alia, the need to promote policies that support rural women entrepreneurship and strengthen the role of local government in this regard.
Whereas Mr. Razvan Ghitescu, Program Officer for Agriculture and Rural Development, EU Delegation in Tirana considered International Rural Women’s Day a time to reflect on how to help rural women fight poverty. "Gender equality and women empowerment are key issues in EU policy. Today, on International Women's Day, it is time to reflect on how we can help rural women fight poverty."
Present at the panel, Mr. Brian J.Williams, the UN Resident Coordinator in Albania addressed the participants by calling attention to the Sustainable Development Goals: “If Albania wants to achieve sustainable development (in the areas of employment, environment, education, health) it must definitely provide more space and support to women in rural areas, ” he said.
Part of the panel were also Ms Frida Krifca, Director General of Agricultural and Rural Development Agency and Ms. Eglantina Gjermeni, Member of the Albanian Parliament, who addressed participants by sharing successful models of women’s entrepreneurship and highlighting the pressing and complex challenges of economic empowerment of rural women.
In addition, the first edition aimed to bring together all stakeholders in the field of rural development and women empowerment to raise awareness of the need for joint efforts in creating sustainable models that empower women in rural development and community life.
To this end, the Coordinator of the ANRD, Evelina Azizaj, launched the platform of the 2nd Rural Albanian Parliament, planned to be held in the spring of 2020. This nationwide platform will integrate a gender perspective into its program to mobilize political will and support to empower rural women and girls.
The panel also invited representatives of rural women to voice their challenges, needs and aspirations which has also been described as the invisible pillar of society. Ms. Dake Gjoni, from the village of Qelëz Puka, listed some of the challenges women face in her area. They relate to the lack of certificates of ownership of land and housing; lack of certification of products that women prepare so skillfully but hardly find access to markets etc. Ms. Valentina Pashollari from Maliq municipality, among other things, said: “The rural woman should be able to know not only how to cook bread but also how to grow wheat.”
The event continued with the fair of local products produced by rural women producer groups and by networking, recognizing and sharing good practices in promoting the well-being of rural women and girls.
Civil society organizations, members and non-members of the Albanian Rural Development Network, were present at the event, supporting rural women’s groups to participate and contribute to this advocacy event for their improved socio-economic status.