InTerDev Project Builds on Successes of 2014Jul 28, 2015
Building on the successful results of 2014, the Austrian Development Cooperation-funded Local-Level Response for Employment Generation and Integrated Territorial Development (InTerDev) Project continues in 2015 to address the economic challenges of the Dragash/Dragaš and Štrpce/Shtërpcë Municipalities, where people experience great difficulty in accessing employment opportunities, economic circuits and regular markets, business services, and credit.
On July 15, the project partners gathered in a meeting hosted by the Dragash/Dragaš Municipality to discuss the results of the first half of 2015 and pave the way for the project’s activities for the rest of the year. Among the key results of the first six months of 2015 was the creation of over 250 jobs through upgrading rural micro-enterprises of local farmers and producers, vocational self-employment of young residents of the two municipalities, and wage subsidies for vulnerable women in Dragash/Dragaš. In addition, the project provided support to micro-enterprises through grants from the Local Development Fund in Suharekë/Suva Reka, and enhanced the capacities of 669 municipal representatives, local farmers, and representatives of local NGOs, businesses, associations and Social Enterprises in various topics of economic and rural development.
At the meeting, everyone was given a chance to taste some of the delicious produce (raspberries and blueberries) that is a direct result of the support provided by this project to Social Enterprises in the two partner municipalities.
Under the Municipal Territorial Employment Pact (TEP) Action 1, 80 raspberry producers and 20 beekeepers in Štrpce/Shtërpcë received farming tools and equipment to upgrade their production. One of these raspberry producers is Mr. Ekrem Fetahu, a farmer from the village of Biti e Ulët/Donja Bitinja.
“I do not have words to explain how much this help means to me. No one from my family is employed and we are all dependent on agriculture. Our only income comes from agriculture and from raspberry production. With this support my family is going to duplicate incomes. I am very thankful to the municipality and to UNDP,” says Mr. Fetahu.
Furthermore, building on the assistance given to cow-breeders in Dragash/Dragaš in 2014, additional milking machines, as well as concentrated food for calves, were distributed. Training in cow farm management complemented this initiative.
“We will be able to sell the milk without processing it, and this will make our work easier. Having a selling/collection point in our village will give us the chance to increase the number of cows,” said Mr. Nasim Hodza, a farmer from Restelicë/Restelica village who benefited from a milking machine.
Rodoljub Mladenović, Director of Economic Development and Agriculture in Štrpce/Shtërpcë, is very optimistic about the results of the InTerDev Project thus far.
“InTerDev Project is one of the best projects ever implemented in our municipality. With this project we are creating new jobs and accelerating economic development. Just under TEP Action 1, the project created more than 200 jobs and supported farmers to expand their raspberry fields by an additional 8 hectares, which is of great importance to everybody. Štrpce/Shtërpcë municipality is very thankful to the UNDP and Austrian Development Agency for all support,” says Mr. Mladenović.
This is an exciting project that encourages self-reliance and sustainability because it supports and empowers a network of local stakeholders working together to overcome specific development challenges in their territory.
In partnership with the municipal structures, employment offices, vocational training centres, private sector enterprises, the Local Development Fund (LDF), and local action groups, the objective of the 2014-2017 InTerDev project continues to be the facilitation of economic advancement and job creation for people at risk of social and economic exclusion, in particular farmers and other micro-production units that are largely underserved in the areas of business support and market access.