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New Activists For Rural Development- Meet Aleksandra Todorovska from North Macedonia

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Aleksandra comes from North Macedonia, a small country in the Balkan Peninsula with beautiful lakes, scenic mountains and rich cultural heritage in art, architecture, poetry, and music. As a passionate fan of nature and travels, working on utilization of the natural and cultural potentials for developing the rural areas and improving the living conditions is a great pleasure for her, even though quite challenging, bearing in mind the many problems and issues faced by the rural communities. Considering this, she took the opportunity to engage actively in the rural development since of 2012 when Aleksandra joined the Rural Development Network of North Macedonia.

Working as a Project Manager at the Rural Development Network of North Macedonia – RDN of NM, she is actively engaged in the implementation of different activities and projects that contribute to sustainable rural development in the country. As a union of civil society organizations which currently allies 101 CSOs dealing in the area of rural development, RDN advocates for the needs of its members at local, national, as well as at international level. At international level, RDN represents its members through its active involvement and membership in many international organizations such as the Balkan Rural Development Network – BRDN, PREPARE and ELARD. Since last year Aleksandra coordinating the activities for developing the capacities of BRDN to become accountable actor for development of sustainable rural areas in the Western Balkan Region. Having the chance to cooperate and exchange experience with the rural stakeholders from different Balkan and EU countries, She constantly learning innovative rural development practices and positive examples which Aleksandra disseminating in the country through trainings, workshops and even through the daily communication with the rural stakeholders. The current position allows her to have frequent cooperation and to make friendships with rural people, and therefore to get better familiarized with the rural life, the benefits and the disadvantages of living in rural area. Starting with identification of the main problems in the rural areas, she is happy that as part of RDN Alakesandra have the opportunity to address these issues at national and EU level and to work on finding appropriate solutions in direction of improvement of the rural livelihoods.

Coming from an urban area, she always enjoyed the escapes from the city and the walks through nature and small picturesque town and villages. But Aleksnadra believes the moment when she becames aware about the real problems and disadvantages of the people leaving in rural areas was the time of her student days when she met many friends coming from rural areas around the country. Aleksandras formal and informal educational background has helped to support the youth in finding their appropriate internship opportunity, creating their portfolios and preparing for job interviews. When she learned about the opportunity to join the Rural Development Network Aleksandra was thrilled to direct her efforts towards developing rural areas and creating better living conditions for the rural youth.

From 2017 until this year, Aleksandra was actively involved in the project initiative carried out by RDN that aimed to enhance the capacity of rural CSOs for networking and advocacy in order to influence local decision making processes. By coordinating the research activities she  have helped the creation of a comprehensive register of CSOs that work in different fields of rural development. Having the opportunity to see the positive example of the European countries that have been organizing rural parliaments for many years as an efficient process of inclusion and discussion among the rural population and the policy creators, Aleksandra was actively engaged in the organization and outreach of the event. She is pleased to say that this first rural parliament in North Macedonia fulfilled expectations and succeeded to activate all rural stakeholders in the process of jointly improving rural policies and addressing certain challenges related to rural development.

Rural development is the area where Aleksandra see herself having the most influence, considering professional background, as well as personal believing that efforts should be put in improvement of the rural livelihoods as most of the people still live in rural areas. Hence she will firmly stand for creating equal opportunities for people living under the same sky, no matter whether it is rural or urban area