We have completed a successful round table on "Obstacles and Challenges for Rural Women"

On Friday, December 1, 2023, the UP Faculty of Management hosted a roundtable discussion entitled "Barriers and Challenges for Rural Women", moderated by dr. Štefan Bojnec. The roundtable was held in the framework of the Wegreen project.

The WEGREEN project successfully conducted a three-day national training on strengthening the role of rural women through green social entrepreneurship: Obstacles and challenges of rural women's activities and defining their needs.

On the first day, November 27, 2023 in the Zoom environment, the project was briefly presented and a specially prepared project platform was used in the training: Module 1 on Green skills, Module 2 on Social entrepreneurship, and Module 3 on Soft skills. A quiz with questions on individual topics followed each module.

On the second day, November 28, 2023 in the Zoom environment, examples of good practices were presented.

Dr. Nataša Šink from the Biotechnical Center Naklo dedicated an interesting presentation to two of their projects related to youth in rural areas: 1. Junior Achievement and 2. Girls go Circular. In the contents of the first project, several examples related to the entrepreneurship and innovation of students were shown, who create an entrepreneurial idea and realize it in an imaginary or real enterprise, often in the case of food products. The contents of the second project are related to entrepreneurial ideas and the circular economy.

M.Sc. Barbara Jernejčič Dolinar presented sustainable and innovative business models, which included several examples of good practices and her own experience in introducing the green economy and social entrepreneurship and strengthening the role of rural women through green entrepreneurship. In general, social enterprises and social entrepreneurs tackle areas that are not interesting for classical business entrepreneurs, because they do not bring high financial returns. They also tackle areas that the state or local communities do not solve or do not see as important, or at least not to a sufficient extent, such as: the problem of unemployment (youth and vulnerable groups), the accumulation of waste and dangerous substances, a healthy lifestyle, the creation of various green products or services and preservation of cultural heritage as sustainable tourism. The forms of organization of social enterprises can be different in individual areas of sustainable and innovative business models.

Dr. Milojka Domajnko from the Development Agency of Slovenske gorice in Lenart presented two of their examples of good practices of connecting and marketing local offers on the example of Cooperative/Zadruga Dobrina, which is a social enterprise and an original example of good practice called Ovtar's offer. In both cases, the strong role of rural women as creators and successful implementers of both examples of good practices was revealed.

Sonja Petz, president of the Pomjan Tourism, Culture and Sports Association, presented the role and importance of the activities of rural women in the Koper hinterland by defining the needs of women living in the countryside. She presented the association, projects and activities of the association in various areas of village and rural life to improve the quality of life of the population in Pomjan. The role of women and their functioning in the third period of life is important for social, cultural, sports, economic and sustainable green development, as well as planned new activities and their coordination with life in the countryside.

The discussion showed the importance of exchanging examples of good practices and experiences in implementing green, sustainable, and inclusive local and rural development with the important role of rural women.

On the third day, December 1, 2023, the training was live at the UP Faculty of Management. In the morning we continued with the presentation of materials on the platform of the WEGREEN project with a focus on Module 4, namely the presentation of adult training techniques and best practices for training rural women in the field of green skills, social entrepreneurship, and soft skills.

In the following, Sonja Cergol from the Cultural Association Alojz Kocjančič Puče – Koštabona presented the activities of the association and her own experience of working in the cultural and other fields in the countryside with the special role of women in the Šavrina countryside in Slovenian Istria and Koštabona. From the presentation and outline of the activities, the important role of women's activities in the countryside emerged.

The climax of the three-day event and conclusion of the training, on the afternoon of 1st December 2023, was a multiplicative event with a round table on the topic of Obstacles and Challenges in the Work of Rural Women, moderated by Prof. Dr. Štefan Bojnec. The following participated in the round table: Mrs. Irena Ule, president of the Slovenian Women’s Farmers’ Association; Mrs. Jožica Gričnik, who is engaged in complementary activities on the farm and is the vice-president of the Slovenian Women Farmers' Association; Dr. Bojan Mevlja, UP FM Koper and Rotunda Koper; Mrs. Nina Kaličanin, Biotechnical Center Naklo; and Dr. Milojka Domajnko, Development Agency of Slovenske gorice in Lenart.

Studies show that women significantly contribute to green entrepreneurship and the creation of green jobs on farms and in rural areas. In doing so, women often encounter stereotypes and a lack of knowledge and skills. Knowledge dissemination, skill development, and empowerment of rural women can be essential drivers for improving rural entrepreneurship, employability, and their earning potential in agricultural and non-agricultural activities. Green entrepreneurship can promote environmentally sustainable rural development and livelihoods. Rural women can play a more active role in agriculture and other rural activities, but education, training, and skill limitations can be among the barriers to their participation in entrepreneurial and managerial roles. The challenges are improving skills and competencies for the green transition, promoting entrepreneurship and social green entrepreneurship, and focusing on the actual needs of women regarding green or ecological concepts. Green skills can be related to the concepts of sustainability, circular economy, and climate change, to constantly changing technologies and technological skills and communication processes.

Among the key conclusions and recommendations for training programs is their focus on the development of local, personal, and family initiatives that combine elements of social entrepreneurship, green entrepreneurship, business plan development, risk management, and business management in a local context and real life. The importance of knowledge and information, specific aspects of empowerment, expression, and positioning is emphasized. Problems related to general and specific measures in the fields of agricultural, environmental, and economic policy, which are often ad hoc and not necessarily developmentally and sustainably oriented, were also highlighted.



WeGreen - National training and round table

Friday, December 1, 2023 | FM | Research

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