The PREPARE GATHERING 2018 and the second multi-national thematic meeting of the ALTER project were held from the 30th October until the 1st of November 2018, in Kosovo, in the town of Peja
Participants to this important event were representatives of member organisations of the PREPARE network and members of the Balkan Rural Development Network, who are partners in the regional project ALTER.
This multi-national meeting addressed the importance of dialogue on the following issues:
- Strengthening the capacity of CSOs and CSO Networks to participate actively in policy planning and implementation, to build a strong civil society in rural areas, and to enhance regional development through networking and cooperation
- Building the partnership of CSOs and CSO Networks with public institutions and their involvement in decision-making and governance processes, for the well-being of rural communities in those countries.
The initial activity of the Gathering was traveling workshops organized in three groups visiting farms, agro-businesses and other successful agricultural and rural initiatives in three different regions of Kosovo.
The purpose of organizing these travelling workshops was to get acquainted with the work and activity of some farmers and individuals engaged in agricultural and livestock activities in some rural localities in Kosovo. Participants of these visits shared their impressions on the work they saw, and information received, and then came up with some findings and recommendations that mainly relate to the support needed by the different national programs.
The Gathering’s opening session was attended by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development of Kosovo, the representative of the European Union office in Kosovo, as well as other participants from government institutions and civil society organizations. The Minister, in the panel section, presented the overall situation of the rural sector in Kosovo, quoting the achievements, difficulties, challenges and needs faced by the rural community in Kosovo, highlighting the application of the Rural Development Programme as a good opportunity to support the activity of all those who invest in the development of rural areas.
During workshops, participants in working groups discussed topics related to the LEADER approach, capacity building and sustainability of PREPARE Network, the role of CSOs in rural development policy. Key outcomes from the discussion have been presented by each group at the end of the session.
One of the most important conclusions of the Gathering is the joint commitment of all participants to insist even more on strengthening cooperation between civil society stakeholders, including networks and organizations in the region / Europe by advocating to public institutions to improve the support to rural development, which will influence improving the quality of life of the rural community.