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New Activists For Rural Development- Meet Edisona Franca from Kosovo

Edisona is a 23 years old agricultural student from Kosovo. She is a youth activist, primarily dedicating time working for the Network of Organizations for Rural Development of Kosovo which she joined last year. As an agricultural student she strongly believes in the importance of agriculture in rural development, especially with regard to land use, but also taking into account the potential contribution of farming to rural development in terms of supporting employment and environmental services, thus representing a major component of the viability of rural areas.

Edisona has always loved being in environments where she can grow, learn and be challenged, but most importantly where she can connect with other people. So, besides her involvement in the Network, she has been actively engaged with youth and rural women, mainly in trainings and informative sessions, aiming to raise the awareness and encouraging them to advocate for their community needs.

Before joining NORDK, Edisona was a volunteer in one of the non-governmental organisation “Eco kos women”, in the project on “The Capacity Building for Advocacy on the Benefits of Agricultural Grants for Women in Rural Areas”. She was also a volunteer at “Alumni UP” with focus on the professional progress of students who have completed studies at the University; been mentor at one of the Peer Educators Network Organisation project’s – PONDER, Critical Media Literacy workshop; she was an intern at the Food and Veterinary Agency of Kosovo, and also taken part in a variety of youth trainings and courses.

This year she is involved in one of NORDK projects supported by We Effect and Sida. This is an initiative which aims to address the gender inequality and youth role in rural areas. Related to the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemics, they have published the first analysis about the impact and implication of the pandemics in Gender Equality in Kosovo, and they are working for the next paper addressing the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemics upon women’s entrepreneurship in Kosovo. Edisona will also be involved in other activities that NORDK are planning to have, for example on-going discussions regarding the organization of the Rural Parliament of Kosovo 2020.

Her family has always been Edisona’s biggest personal and professional growth supporter and guidance. They have continuously been the source of advice, creating a solid foundation upon which she developed professionally, supporting almost every step of her decisions, inspiring and encouraging, and this was a key factor that brought her where she is today.

Growing up in a rural area and being involved in different projects that aims rural development as well as her field of study helped Edisona understand rural communities’ needs better, but also seeing their life and challenges they face from close by. This is what made her realise why she would like to participate in advocacy for their needs.

According to Edisona, supporting agriculture, rural development and rural economy in general are sources of employment and income generation for the rural population. This is why being engaged within projects and activities that aim sustainable rural development is a great opportunity to work with, especially toward cooperation with potential stakeholders in rural development.

As we can see rural development cannot exist without the engagement of the local population, and as a rural youth activist Edisona wants to be part of them.