CNVP increases gender equality in the forestry sector
The number of women within the forestry sector in Albania and Kosovo has increased through CNVP’s implementation of two Sida-funded projects: Forest for Local Economic Development (FLED) and Strengthening Sustainable Private and Decentralized Forestry (SSPDF). In Kosovo, for example, CNVP has supported the creation of 9 women’s sections of Associations of Private Forest Owners (APFOs), and is encouraging the establishment of additional groups.
CNVP Kosovo organized a study visit for women to Albania during 10-12 October 2017, in order to raise awareness about the effective role and participation of women within APFOs. The aim of the visit was to foster communication and information exchange, as well as improve mutual understanding, identify common needs, review obstacles, and mobilise communities to effect changes in attitude and behavior. The women from Kosovo (including those from APFOs in Kacanik, Strpce, Djakova, Podujevo, Istog, Junik and Peja) observed the mechanisms that had been used in Albania to achieve gender equality in the forestry sector.
The women visited the National Federation of Communal Forests and Pastures of Albania where they were informed about the functioning of the National Federation, producer groups and Forest Users’ Associations. Unlike forest owners in Kosovo, those in Albania have "user rights". Consequently, the focus of the Albanian National Federation is to lobby and advocate for land rights as a main issue in the agri-forestry sector, whilst, in Kosovo, advocacy is needed to enable land rights/ownership for women. During the visit, special attention was given to producer groups and women’s participation in them. The National Federation’s efforts regarding gender equality were outlined, involving 30 women’s groups. Whilst still informal, but with plans for registration, it is targeted to reach 30% women’s participation in activities on 15 October (Rural Women’s Day), 16 October (International Food Day), and 17 October (International Poverty Reduction Day).
Participants visited a fair organized in Tirana by the Municipality of Kruja (to see local culture and products). The Forest Users’ Association and producers’ group from Nikel Administrative Unit in Kruja presented (and sold) different agro-forestry products. On the second day, the group visited Berat and Roshnik Administrative Units. Roshnik is a target area under FLED, and is well known for its forests, vineyards, olives and figs. The Unit administrator, president and members of the Users’ Association presented field level activities, especially regarding women’s group within the association; (CNVP Albania has provided support in training, marketing, promotion and fairs). This has given opportunities for the group to promote Roshnik products. The participants visited a wine and rakia factory in Roshnik. During the visit, the Kosovars had the opportunity to share experiences, and discuss possibilities for cooperation, achievements and challenges.
Despite numerous bottlenecks in Kosovo and Albania, women are more than willing to participate in decision making, as well as generate income from forestry-related activities. Further action is required to support awareness raising, advocate for women’s rights regarding land and property ownership, and build their capacity. Previous exchange visits and fairs have clearly had a positive effect on promoting women’s economic empowerment.