Traditional celebrations in Novosej, Shishtavec Commune, on 5th and 6th of May
In the framework of the project “ Involvement of the community and civil society in strategic planning for local development on Environment and tourism sector in Kukes region ”, RASP has supported celebrations of “Saint George”, a pagan local fest in Novosej of Shishtavec Commune.
This fest is one of most popular in Kukes region and it has very ancient routs. To participate in these celebrations, apart of inhabitants of the village and other villages around, many other visitors and ex inhabitants came from Kukes but also from other regions of Albania and other countries.
In the first day of celebrations, on 5 th of May, several sportive activities have given a festive atmosphere to the village. Horse riding as the most attractive traditional race has opened activities of the first day. Then sightings of bulls, several athletic races, wrestling and a football match at the end. Awards were given to winners.
Late afternoon, the pagan ceremony of collection fresh leafs from white birch, called “potka”, has started, accompanied by music, dancing and characteristic songs from women and girls. After that, the ceremonies have continued in more private way, in the families where, the “potka-s” are inserted in the water together with eggs and this water was used to wash children. “Potka-s” then are put in every important object in ownership as houses, garden, even cars, and the next morning potka-s are put even at the plots.
Workshop on increasing the women participation in Kukes farmer's associations and groups
In the framework of its program, RASP and Farmers Federation of Kukes region have organized a workshop in Kukes, on 14 May 2009, aiming to “Identify the ways for increasing the role of women in farmers groups and associations in Kukes region and Kukes Farmers Federation”.
Apart representative from RASP and Kukes Farmers Federation, in this event have participated representatives from several women NGO's, from Vocational Training Center, Local media-Kukes TV. Director of cultural center, Center for Social Counseling of Women, Social workers, representatives from Employment office, etc.
After long and effective discussions some recommendations have been produced:
- Raising the number of women member in the Kukes groups and association should be a priority for every program and organization, and part of every project.
- As far as all farming activities are carried out by man and women, the registration in groups and association should be for both man and wife. This should be a requirement for associations and groups in their statute, as well as for the contract they may have with banks, donors etc.
- For associations that according to the statute should be presented in the Steering committee of the federation by two people, one of them should be women.
- Women oriented project should be stimulated, as “To strengthen professional skills of women through the vocational trainings such as ‘milk processing';
- The media should play more active role in promoting women values and skills. Media may easily apply policies to stimulate women participation in TV and radio emissions, as well as giving interviews etc.;
- Projects and donors should give priorities to projects that stimulate women activities in group as “the establishment of agro-processing centers for the women that are working in agro-processing, or handicraft etc.
RASP has asked participant to continue collaboration on gender issue, developing these ideas into project proposals that may be applied by every actor separately, or in collaboration.
Replacing Medicinal Chemicals Extracted from Wild Plants in Albania
RASP, in collaboration with Kukes Farmers Federation, has already started to implement the project “Replacing Medicinal Chemicals Extracted from Wild Plants in Albania”. The project will take place in Kukes district, in 4 communes that include 29 villages and will have an extension of 18 month starting from March 2009.
The aim of the project is to demonstrate that the cultivation of aromatic plants can provide a viable alternative to wild collection as a source of medicinal chemicals and reduce the threat to fragile mountain ecosystems and biodiversity in Albania.
Important elements of the projects are awareness raising and sensitization of many people on the types of medicinal herbs, their values, the way we should grow or collect them. The project will include effective practices, field demonstrations of the cultivation techniques on certain varieties of medicinal plants, training of farmers who are medicinal plant collectors and sensitizing campaigns with schools. On this purpose, there will be organized seminars, informational meetings with schools' students who would familiarize themselves with medicinal plants and protection of biodiversity. The seminars will include information on how plants can be collected in the nature, in order to preserve natural biodiversity of our country. The seminars will be assisted by foreigner specialist and by experienced Albanian ones.
Agricultural fair in Puka and the Regional Conference
On 19-th of September 2008, in Puka city was held a complex activity with participation of several actors including public and private institutions. The president of Republic of Albania, Prof. Dr. Bamir Topi joined the activity.
Activities have started with the Agricultural Fair of Local Products, under the slogan “Effective and sustainable utilization of the local resources in the frame of rural development”. About 70 farmers of Puka region, have shown their best agricultural and agro-processing products. The personalities attending the activity such as the President of Albania Republic, Members of the parliament, Government representatives, local administration, several NGO-s that supported the activity and Puka inhabitants, visited the fair.
The Regional Conference “Mountain Area Development- potentials and perspectives” was the essential part of the activity held in Puka. The Conference was initiated by the Parliamentary Group for Mountain Areas and was supported by MADA (Development Agency of Mountain Area), RASP (Rural Association Support Program), Agropuka, Shkodra Agriculture Directory, Puka Municipality etc.
The Conference goal was not only sensitization of the government institutions to pay more attention to the mountain areas, but was an extension of the work started in the Conference held a year ago in Tirana. The discussion and greetings of Mr. Rustem Struga, Puka Mayor, Mr. Rexhep Uka, Puka Deputy, representatives of MADA, RASP, Agropuka etc. were followed with lots of interest by the public.
Z. Petrit Dobi RASP director, introduced the process of proparing the Tourism Action Plan for Puka, as a comprehensive process where the community and its representatives, have played an important role.
In the frame of this presentation, there were introduced, the ideas of the action plan proposals and were invited all the donors and actors to participate in the implementation of this plan.
The Conference was greeted by the President of Republic of Albania Prof. Dr. Bamir Topi that emphasized the importance of utilizing the natural and human resources, the culture and tradition of these areas as tourist attraction, as well as the need for more attention by all actors, government, development agencies and other institutions for the development of mountain areas.