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Exception Versus Example: Empowering Young Women in Rural Areas Through Conventional and Social Entrepreneurship.
Start date: Jul 1, 2015, End date: Jun 30, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project is formed to develop the methodology and build up the network for cross-sectoral cooperation in questions of facilitation and empowerment of young women in rural areas. It arises not only as the articulation on many challenges: economic and social, that communities in rural areas face today, but also as a way to widen up the perspective for solutions of these challenges, that often lay within better facilitation of vulnerable or underprioritized groups of people, like young women. There are partner organisations from three countries involved in this project: Turkey, Spain and Sweden. This partnership is built on the recognition of similar challenges and the mutual will to bring both the youth work within the organisations, and interactions with extern stakeholders to a higher level, with a specific focus on gender factor, with recognition and support for social entrepreneurship initiatives and conventional entrepreneurship approach, and with developing sustainable methods of cross-secroral collaboration. These processes face particularly much obstacles when adressed in the rural areas, which makes this project into an important puzzle piece in a picture of sustainable development in Europe, regarding both economical stability and social comfort environment.The objectives of the project, with reference to the background of the partnership, are - to initiate a critical discussion about the factors and conditions for young women - entrepreneurs in rural areas, - to bring together stakeholders from different sectors into a strong network promoting empowerment of young women and collaboration over borders for collecting the knowledge and learnings, adaptation and implementation of good practises.- to put into perspective, evaluate and develop methods of facilitation and empowerment.Partner organisations are represented by 5 persons each, forming a core goup of the project of 15 persons. Their profiles include experience of public, non-profit NGOs, private sector and educational establishments, and qualifications of conducting social research and facilitate social design processes, mass media, political communication, organisation development, issue management. The skills represented by the participants include personal coaching and organisation of group work, events and projects of different scale and target group. There are competences of gender equality, youth employment and meaningfull occupations, social investments, social mobilisation, media and PR, as well as cultural production, represented in the group of persons involved in this project. This diversity is defined due to the methods of social design used in this project. Other methods used in the project are group discussions, SWAT-analysis, peer learning and evaluation, personal and media presentations, case studies, mindmapping, storytelling, brainstorming. Activities carried out in the project include meetings, study visits, evaluation sessions, presentations, workshops, seminars, panel debates, networking and mingle, round tables, and a conference.The results of the project include strengthening of participants' competence in relevant areas, creation of a cross-sectoral expert network including opinion makers, articulation of special factors for women intrepreneurship in rural areas, widening of the discourse of social entrepreneurship in gender perspective. Impacts of the project involve higher effectiveness of youth work,, acceleration of processes of cross-sectoral clustering and collaboration; higher rate of discussions of relevant issues, leading to changes in national and local policies and politics, further development of key-actors collaboration and spreading of good practices with regards to common EU-vision and rules, articulation of young women's role in the development of rural areas, spreading and adjusting of European experience to other parts of the world facing similar challenges.Potential long term benefits include higher efficiency of facilitation activities designed for young women in rural areas, which would lower the costs for these activities in the long term, and accelerate the process of establishing of new women entrepreneurs. This would lead to higher occupation rate and therefore lower unemployment in rural areas, development of new productions and services. This in its turn would accelerate development of infrastructure and communication, which would lead to further diversity.
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