News and Success Stories

Empowering Rural Women Towards Economic Independence

Rural women are a fundamental part of rural communities around the world. They are key agents for achieving transformational economic, environmental, and social changes required for sustainable development. One such inspiring story is the one of Suzana Dimitirevska, a passionate organic producer from the village of Mustafino (Sveti Nikole), who is the owner of the company ‘Lipa Organic’. She is now at the forefront of organizing several rural women in producing EU-certified organic traditional Macedonian spread ‘ajvar’ for the purposes of export in Switzerland on the Swiss market.  This initiative is made possible through the Swiss-funded Increasing Market Employability Program (IME), facilitating connection of the producer with Swiss buyer, and enabling market access for the producers.

These three remarkable women have opened a new chapter in the organic produce landscape, aiming to introduce Swiss buyers to the rich Macedonian flavors very soon. Drawing upon generations of tradition, passed down through their mothers and grandmothers, these women heartfully produced over 500 jars of ajvar with homemade organic peppers and oil in 2023. The shipment is expected to be conducted by the end of March 2024. The jars are now in the process of labelling. This initiative marks the beginning of a promising partnership. Anticipation is high as the Swiss eagerly await the next season’s batch of Macedonian ajvar.

We take immense pride in these women, whose tireless efforts, strong dedication, and entrepreneurial spirit exemplify the resilience and ingenuity of their community. Their success serves as a beacon, inspiring other rural women to pursue their dreams and embrace the boundless possibilities that lie ahead. By sharing this story, we aim to inspire inclusion and raise awareness about women’s position in a unique context such as rural environments. Through their initiative, they have managed not only to uplift themselves, but also foster sustainable development at the grassroots level.