The Standing Working Group for Regional Rural Development (SWG) in SEE, within the project “Rural development through integrated forest and water resources management in Southeast Europe: Rural perspectives: qualification, reintegration and (self) employment”, financed by the German International Cooperation (GIZ), supported the organization of a two-day training entitled “How to achieve successful association and business linking of actors in rural tourism”. The training was conducted on the topics: “Successful association – from theory to practice” and “Planning of growth, development and managing of the association” for the participants from the cross-border region “Drina-Sava“. The training was held in the period from 25-26 October 2017 in Sabac, Serbia.
In total 60 participants representing the business sector from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina attended the trainings. The trainings were divided in three connected segments. In the first segment were elaborated purposes and benefits of joining, history and forms of association, with parallel insight in the national legislative on this matter in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina targeting specific issues in each country. After this segment, the participants were introduced with successful and not so successful stories about joining in associations and the results that were achieved through networking. The presented stories were as follows: agro-business sector and rural development emphasizing strength of mutual promotion and appearance on market, benefits of mutual production, preservation and distribution of fruit, importance of labeling rural households location and establishing degustation centers, benefits from protection of geographical origin of cheese and pottery and problems related to the usage of this level of protection. In the next segment, the importance of planning was presented, where participants had the opportunity to present and exchange their working experience.
After this, the methodology of Rural Cafe was implemented. The purpose of this methodology was that all participants with support of 4 hosts of Rural Cafe (selected members of existing association) defined visions and several priority interventions and actions to improve the work of their associations.
All these proposed interventions served as a baseline for the following part of the training related to project cycle management – what are the basic steps toward the design of good project proposal. In this part of the training the participants were introduced with the phases of project cycles: identification, formulation, implementation and formulation. All groups based on previously defined interventions, designed problem analysis, problem tree and after that a goal tree. Based on this overall and specific objective the results were defined. The participants were also introduced with the indicators, sources of verification and risks and assumptions. These are all elements of the logical framework matrix which is basic for every project development.
After that the participants got the most important links where they could gather information about potential sources of funding for their future projects. Links were provided for Serbia, Montenegro and B&H. The last segment was dedicated to the stakeholder analysis and how to communicate with them. Participants were divided into four group in order to define their stakeholders and rank them according to the impact and importance to the work. Based on this they got acquainted with basic information on how to create strategy of communication with the most important stakeholders.