For Immediate Release
On October 12th 2013, in the village of Shipkovica, the USAID Small Business Expansion Project and the Municipality of Tetovo celebrated International Day of Rural Women with an event that promoted employment opportunities for the rural women of Polog. For example, a professional herb collector can earn double the national average salary (approximately $900) for 8-10 months per year. Depending on the number of existing collection facilities, it is estimated that some 500 rural women from Polog could benefit financially from herb collection.
The first female mayor of Tetovo, Mrs. Teuta Arifi, greeted the women from the rural areas of Polog with her opening remarks, followed by an address by Mrs. Mary Jo Wohlers, the wife of U.S. Ambassador Paul Wohlers.
“Women are an important part of the development process and can be significant contributors to their families’ income. When women operate businesses, work in the field, or collect wild plants for profit, they bring economic progress to their communities,” said Mary Jo Wohlers. “Today, while acknowledging the challenges facing rural women, we celebrate their achievements and look forward to new economic opportunities for them.”
The women in attendance also heard presentations on employment opportunities from Mr. Menderes Kuci, President of the Economic Chamber of North West Macedonia, Mr. Gëzim Ajdini, owner of the Mebi-Prima herb collection center, and representatives from the USAID Small Business Expansion Project. The main employment opportunity presented to the rural women of Polog was the collection of wild herbs, berries and mushrooms that are found in abundance in the mountains and forests of Polog. The USAID Small Business Expansion Project has been supporting this activity by training collectors from Polog and supporting the creation of a new collection center Mebi-Prima in the village of Pirok.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
The American people, through USAID, have invested more than $500 million in Macedonia since 1993. USAID is working with the people of Macedonia to create jobs, strengthen democratic institutions and practices, enhance integrated education, and prepare students for the workforce. These initiatives improve the quality of life and support Macedonia’s transition to a stable and prosperous democracy. USAID provides economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 100 countries.
The USAID Small Business Expansion Project is a four-year project implemented in Polog and Pelagonija with the overarching goal of catalyzing job creation and economic growth at the regional level. The project seeks to develop partnerships between private sector actors and public institutions at the regional and local levels to create initiatives that help micro-, small-, and medium-sized businesses grow. The International Day of Rural Women event is supported by the municipalities of Polog, the Economic Chamber of North West Macedonia, and the Association for Local Rural Development.
Last updated: July 25, 2014