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Dimitra Workshops

Rural women, dynamisation of networks and the fight against HIV/AIDS in rural areas

A Dimitra/CTA Joint Workshop in Brussels (Belgium) from 13-17 June 2005

© Dimitra

Rural women, dynamisation of networks and the fight against HIV/AIDS in rural areas were the topics at the heart of the workshop organised by Dimitra and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) in Brussels from 13-17 June 2005.

A total of 22 representatives of organisations from the CTA and  Dimitra networks made their way to Brussels from Africa, the Near East, the Caribbean and the Pacific regions for a week of sharing knowledge and experiences. Everyone who took part agreed that they were strengthened and energised thanks to the linkages that had been made, the information shared and the great dynamism of the proceedings.

During groupwork and plenary sessions, the participants defined their common priorities and goals. They explored ways of using networks to reinforce their organisations and produced a common action plan to grow stronger in terms of their abilities, their capacity for exchange and information and developed strategies together to support one another.

As well as sharing information amongst themselves, the participants also had an opportunity to interact with multi-lateral and bi-lateral donor agencies, such as the Belgian Development Cooperation, the World Bank, UNAIDS, CTA and the World Health Organisation to have very specific information on the different funding policies and partnership possibilities available to them in their countries and at the regional level.

The participants also analysed the impact of the AIDS pandemic on agriculture and rural communities in their countries and regions, particularly on rural women, who are the most affected group.

In order to access funding, it was clear that participants need to be informed and well-trained in order to represent their members, i.e. local populations, at the various concertation fora where government representatives and experts are to meet with civil society and where NGOs can make their voice heard. Sharing and participating in networks are essential factors to enable effective representation of the interests of grassroots organisations.

During the final open session of the workshop, the participants took the opportunity to share their stories and experiences with a wider public which included representatives from the King Baudouin Foundation, the Belgian Development Cooperation, European Commission, ACP Ambassadors and Embassy Representatives, UNAIDS, the World Health Organisation, the Belgian Women and Development Commission, etc.

For more information on the Workshop, please see the Dimitra Workshop Reports section.