Workshop on women and rural development held in Portugal
On 3 February, a workshop on the role of women in rural development was held in Castro Verde, Portugal. The seminar is part of the "Rural Value" initiative, an EEA Grants supported project focusing on developing sustainable farming systems in the Castro Verde Special Protection Area for Birds.
The project is carried out by Liga para a Protecção da Natureza (LPN; the Nature Protection League), the oldest environmental non-governmental organisation in Portugal, in cooperation with the Higher Technological Institute of the Technical University of Lisbon, the National Institute for Biological Resources (INRB) and the Municipality of Castro Verde in Southern Portugal.
Farming is vital for biodiversity in the Castro Verde area. The project aims to develop a system for sustainability management certification of local farms, and emphasises the importance of gender equality in agriculture. An important emphasis is placed on consciousness-raising and environmental education initiatives.
Addressing these issues, Dr. Mónica Silva from the Association of Portuguese Agricultural and Rural Women (MARP) gave details about the association's projects and the situation in the north of Portugal, in her speech "Women, life and bread". MARP is partnering with PROVE (Promote and Sell), which was an outcome of the Equal-initiative. Through PROVE consumers are given the possibility to try out a varied selection of local products, through the purchase of a basket of fruits and vegetables of high quality selected by the producers themselves. The idea is that the farmers can select the best products available according to the season and the harvest, and that the consumer is guaranteed a good quality selection, without specifying which products.
Dr. Manuela Florencio from the Castro Verde local authority spoke about the role of women for the development of local communities and in the running of local politics. Ana Lampreia, an engineer from the Campo Branco Farmers' Association, focused on the role of women in the agricultural world, and Dr. David Marques from the Agency for Local Development (ESDIME) spoke lectured on female entrepreneurship in rural areas/sectors. Dr Marques also presented ESDIME's experiences with the Programme for employment, education, and Social Development (POEFDS), a national programme for enterprises and businesses aimed at raising the competencies of the Portuguese working stock.
Photo: Royal Norwegian Embassy, Lisbon.