Donor: European Commission under the Partnership Fund Actions – Empowerment of Women
WHAT IS “GARD”?
Gender Agenda in Rural Development – Empowerment of Women in the Rural Society (GARD Project) is a Regional Project funded by the European Union under the Western Balkans and Turkey Civil Society Facility: Partnership actions- Empowerment of Women.
The project is geographically placed in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Spain and shall work in developing strong regional partnerships between the key gender equality actors in the targeted Western Balkan countries, as well as build their capacities in developing and promoting mechanisms for women increased participation and empowerment in rural development activities.
The project is being jointly implemented by four organizations in four countries: Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) in Albania , Agency for Cooperation, Education and Development (ACED) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Organization for Civil Initiatives (OGI ) in Croatia, and Centro de Estudios Rurales y de Agricultura Internacional (CERAI) in Spain.
WHY “GARD” ?
Considering the insufficient initiatives of women or CSOs community in the region, mainly result of a small number of choices, or their complete absence, women are disadvantaged vis-à vis men across all socio-economic groups. The gender mainstreaming approach that will ensure full utilization of women capacities in rural development still needs to be developed.
As such GARD project targets women CSOs working on gender equality and rural development. These CSOs will become members of their national networks and representatives will participate in their regional Gender Rural Network activities. While the participation in the national level networks will be open for all CSOs, only elected representatives will further their networking activities at the regional level. Apart from CSOs, public sector will also benefit from the project implementation as a target group since all activities at the national level will be implemented in cooperation with local government and municipal authorities to ensure the sustainability and the transfer of ownership over the results.
The mission of this project is to contribute to women empowerment and to facilitate and strengthen women’s roles in rural development programs and enhance access for rural women to developmental opportunities in local communities in the targeted countries. The specific project objective is to develop strong regional partnership between the key gender equality actors in the three-targeted Western Balkan countries, build their capacities and to enhance their contribution in developing and promoting mechanisms for women increased participation and empowerment in rural development activities.
Through this project, partners from each country intend to combine efforts to promote women’s rights and gender equality in the Western Balkans region and to contribute towards securing greater recognition and realization of women’s rights, their economic opportunities and their opportunities to influence social development, especially for women in rural societies. Realization of the project networking activities will ensure that women, particularly in the rural areas have greater control over their own lives, key issues and exercise their rights and opportunities to participate in local, national and regional policy making processes to address their legal, economic and social independence.
This project target group will be women CSOs working on gender equality and rural development in three project countries. At least 60 CSOs will become members of their national networks and 30 representatives will participate in their regional Gender Rural Network activities. While the participation in the national level networks will be open for all CSOs, only elected representatives will further their networking activities at the regional level. Apart from CSOs, public sector will also benefit from the project implementation as target group since all activities at the national level will be implemented in cooperation with local government and municipal authorities to ensure the sustainability and the transfer of ownership over the
The project is structured in three main pillars of intervention, as follows:
1) Establishment of National and Regional Gender Networks for Rural Development
First the project will support establishment of three National and one Regional Gender Network for Rural Development within the three targeted WB countries. The assessments of all relevant institutions and other stakeholders (private, public and NGOs) involved in gender equality aspects in rural development will be conducted. Meetings and discussions with identified actors in each country will be performed in order to ensure their awareness of the project and to confirm their support and participation.
2) Creation and adoption of the Gender Agenda in Rural Development (GARD)
In the framework of the project “Gender Agenda in Rural Development” shall be created and adopted. The working groups’ members will conduct extensive consultations and will participate on workshops in order to define basic principles relevant to the women empowerment in rural development measures. These efforts will lead to the conception of the Gender Agenda in Rural Development, which will in detail describe the commonly accepted principles and guidelines related to gender equality and women empowerment in rural programs.
3) Promotion and advocating of the principles of Gender Agenda in Rural Development at local level.
In order to improve awareness on the Agenda communications with relevant stakeholders at the local level shall take place. The method to be used for the promotion is downward promotion. Downward promotion means that Networks will promote the principles of the Agenda to local actors (NGO’s, private sector, local authorities and other public institutions) in target municipalities. The promotional activities at local level will be conducted through education and organization of a series of trainings (covering topics such as: Gender and Human Rights; Gender based discrimination, Gender Equality and Gender Mainstreaming; Gender disaggregated data and Gender impact assessment; Gender responsive budget, etc.) In addition, large media promotion will be organized in the each participating country. In order to improve cooperation and participation of all relevant parties in gender equality in rural areas, the project will carry out a wide awareness raising and mobilization activity on the territories of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.