Economic opportunities in rural areas in Belarus are scarce, which influences the quality of life in these areas. The Dutch organisation NBvP, Vrouwen van Nu (Den Haag) and Nehem International supported the establishment of 6 local branches and a national women’s organisation for rural women. 3 study visits to the Netherlands were carried out to inform Belarusian participants on all kind of activities, which are carried out by ‘Vrouwen van Nu’ in the Netherlands. Additionally two study visits for Dutch women to Belarus were organised in return. The establishment of 6 (pilot) local branches of a national rural women’s organisation (Selchanka) was supported by a national project manager in Belarus and by provision of training and consultancy from international experts. During the project the number of regional branches raised to 15.
Nehem and Vrouwen van Nu promoted further establishment of local economic activities by members of the local branches. The promotion of economic activities consisted of: promotion of self-initiative, assessment of business ideas and provision of elementary equipment for viable business ideas. Several vocational training courses were conducted to support the new businesses, varying from marketing courses to training in small scale cheese making. The business promotion resulted in a big number of activities like agro-tourism, glass houses for (early) vegetable growing, animal breeding, service providing, etc. These economic activities proved to be sustainable and influenced the household incomes significantly.
(Matra, Dutch Bilateral, 2008 – 2010)