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Rural and agricultural development – A youth perspective from AGIA-CIA

Within the consolidation of the Rural Youth Hub – as a functional platform towards youth-oriented processes and policies in rural development

June 21-24, 2022

On June 21-24, over twenty-five young people, members of the Rural Youth Hub (youth activism platform promoted by ANRD and supported through the Rural You project) gathered in Tirana to be inspired by successful European practices in the engagement of young people in rural development, to exchange and discuss together with other young students at the Agricultural University of Tirana, with representatives of the Italian association AGIA-CIA (Agia Giovani Imprenditori Agricoli) and senior officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

This meeting is part of a series of networking activities since 2021 which aim to consolidate RYH as a functional platform towards youth-oriented processes and policies in rural development. For this reason, the Albanian Network for Rural Development (ANRD) and Volontari nel Mondo (RTM) welcomed Mr. Enrico Calentini, Deputy President of the organization AGIA-CIA (Association of Young Agricultural Entrepreneurs of the Italian Farmers’ Confederation). Considering the important role of AGIA-CIA in the agricultural and rural sector in Italy and Europe (one of the most prestigious networks with many years of experience in representing the interests of Italian farmers and rural entrepreneurs) ANRD in collaboration with RTM organized several activities for to hear the unique experience of AGIA-CIA and to exchange and discuss between AGIA-CIA representative and youth, students, entrepreneurs and rural development enthusiasts. Read the full program here.

Initially, on June 21, the institutional meeting was organized with the Deputy. Rectors of the Agricultural University of Tirana in order to share experiences and discuss the possibilities of further cooperation. Further, the Open Lecture “Rural and agricultural development, a perspective for young people from AGIA-CIA” was held, which was attended by UBT students, RYH young people and other interested parties. After the presentation of the experience of AGIA- CIA in the agricultural and rural sector in Italy and Europe, the young participants raised questions and discussed many issues with the senior representative of AGIA-CIA.

The second part of the 21st created a closer discussion space for RYH youth. In the environment of an agro-tourist farm, the youth of RYH discussed with Mr. Enrico Calentini and learned more about the experience of AGIA-CIA, especially in relation to the functioning and organization of the confederation, the representation of the interests of youth, women farmers and other social groups, the advocacy for agricultural and rural issues both at the national level and European. The model and shared experience of AGIA-CIA was inspiring for the youth of RYH and ANRD itself. The sessions held during these days served as visioning and strategic planning exercises for RYH towards the further consolidation of the platform. The AGIA-CIA experience served as a model for RYH members and helped them understand where they want to be in 10 years.

On the 22nd, Mr. Enrico Calentini, accompanied by the National Coordinator of ANRD Mrs. Evelina Azizaj, Head of the RTM Team, Mr. Alberto Sartori, RYH Coordinator, Ilda Metani, and selected youth representative Martina Dedaj held a productive meeting with the deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Enio Civici. The meeting focused on the presentation and acquaintance with the experience of AGIA-CIA, the presentation of the Rural Youth project and the results achieved, as well as the presentation of the RYH and the importance of the active involvement of the RYH in the design and implementation of policies and strategies of the sector. Also, the meeting was important to connect the youth of RYH with senior representatives of MARD. Martina Dedaj in communication with the Deputy Minister, feeling the responsibility of representing RYH, said among other things… “Young people in rural areas should be listened to more”. At the end of the meeting, other following activities were discussed and Deputy Minister expressed his commitment to provide opportunities to involve young people in the implementation of the country’s agricultural and rural agenda.

The youth of RYH, at the same time, conducted a working session on the organization of RYH and discussed the alternatives that will help RYH to be formalized as a non-profit organization to fulfill the mission: Serving the country’s rural communities through empowerment of young people by offering opportunities to be active citizens and to generate income and well-being even in the most remote and poor rural area, as well as providing opportunities for public interest.

At the end of the session, the young people of RYH concluded that:

“Time and challenges require policies that reflect the real needs and priorities of rural youth, and that are oriented by the aspirations of young people for the rural future. We are aware that time does not wait and the finalization of the formalization process of RYH is a priority towards a functional and influential youth activism platform in the development and integration agenda of the country.”

The young people finalized the Press Statement where, among other things, they presented the steps they will follow towards success. Read the PRESS RELEASE.

On other days, Mr. Enrico Calentini traveled to the north of Albania to meet and talk with partner organizations, local development agents and other stakeholders in the areas covered by the Rural YOU project, specifically, Shkodër, Kukës, and Dibër region.

The Rural-You project is financed by the European Union and implemented by Volontari nel Mondo RTM in cooperation with the Albanian Network for Rural Development, ADAD Mountain, AgroPuka, the Partnership for Development Foundation and Associazione Giovani Imprenditori Agricoli (Cia – Agricoltori Italiani).