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Leadership Programme For Farm Women (Growing Relationships)
Start date: Dec 31, 2003, End date: Dec 30, 2007 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The Leadership Programme for farm women focuses on giving rural women enhanced confidence, communication skills, networking ability and an understanding of policy making processes.The project will involve a number of key elements, but will ultimately concentrate on personal, social and business progression of farmwomen within the North/South border areas. Specific targets have been established as follows:• To develop a cross border Rural Leadership pilot project for farmwomen • Recruiting at least 30 women involved in agricultural to the project • To develop and deliver activities to enable participants in development of their business. • This project aims to target social need within County Fermanagh & the border counties of the Republic of Ireland • To identify the barriers which impede women from upskilling & entering and progressing within the labour market • Developing new links locally, nationally and internationally with an interest in rural development and women’s issues at all levels. Achievements: 30 participants from across counties Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Fermanagh completed an innovative course for women in agriculture. The programme was designed and delivered through a unique collaboration between IFA and Women in Agriculture. In the current agricultural climate there is a need for off-farm income to support the farm enterprise as well as learning new skills to enable the business to adapt to change and be sustainable in the future. The partners developed the programme concentrating on personal and social development and routes of progression for farm women within the border region. The main aim of the project was to enhance women’s movement into business through skills development spanning through a variety of training and networking activities (tailor made to the needs of each individual). The programme enabled participants to develop their existing agricultural business, develop new enterprises or avail of increased employment/income generation opportunities.Training included self esteem and confidence building, communication skills, leadership skills, committee skills, enterprise and management skills, developing new business ideas, change management, action planning and networking.The programme was particularly effective in how the Programme Managers engaged those who don’t typically have the confidence or opportunity to normally participate on such programmes. Indeed, participants cited how the Growing Relationships Programme has contributed meaningfully to improved self esteem and confidence and how friendships have developed with women in other communities. Ann Orr, Manager of Women in Agriculture said; “I particularly noted the enthusiasm of those womenwho came for the first time to training and the opportunity for those who became involved with others from across the border. It made them realize that as women they have far more in common than they have difference. Despite many years of troubles and closed borders this was a new beginning for this group through a small project. The role of women is similar no matter where they live and most of the issues discussed affected them all as rural dwellers. It was also very noticeable however, the appreciationof the 15 women from the Republic of Ireland on the programme because they have not enjoyed as many opportunities as their neighbours.
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