It often happens that we come across someone who has moved from a smaller place to the capital or a large community in search of a better life, better job, or simply a change. However, in recent years, we have increasingly witnessed the stories and examples of people who have made a different decision – they moved from a town to a village.
Stefan Stupar, a native of Banja Luka, is one of the few young people who decided to replace the city with a village and start a new story in the area of agriculture. Since he could not find employment, he decided to return to his mother’s family property in Petrovac Municipality, which was empty, and renovate the family house with the help of his family.
In search of support, Stefan responded to the call of the Regional Action Group for Employment in Agriculture (RAG) under the project “Through flax production to sustainable jobs in agriculture” funded by the European Union. Thanks to this project, Stefan received financial support to start his business venture. “Love for the village and nature prevailed and I decided to challenge myself. Projects of this kind are really amazing because they give you a lot of opportunities – to participate in high quality training, exchange experiences and ideas with other participants,” added Stefan.
The Regional Action Group is a sustainable partnership between the municipalities of Petrovac, Bosanski Petrovac, Drvar, Istočni Drvar, Ključ and Ribnik. Through this project, these municipalities, in cooperation with employment services, have aligned policies to support employment in agriculture while promoting a cooperative model of agricultural production. Activities are focused on the organisation of training on entrepreneurship and cultivation of flax, buckwheat, rye, millet and spelled, as well as on the employment of unemployed individuals who have access to or own arable land.
RAG supports successful entrepreneurs like Stefan and makes it possible for them to put their ideas into action. “I found my peace in the countryside and in agriculture and I do not regret it at all. I see myself here in the countryside, on my family farm. I want to continue my production, but also to expand my current capacities. My wish is to turn my property into a ranch one day and develop a new type of offer with the help of the local partnership Petrovac – a package deal that will give future tourists the opportunity to visit farms and experience the village at its best” concluded Stefan.
There are a lot of active local employment partnerships in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the first phase of the LEP project, which was supported by the European Union with 4 million euros, 19 local partnerships provided retraining for almost 1,600 unemployed people, of whom over 500 subsequently found a job. Understanding the good practices of existing partnerships opens up opportunities for new ideas and adaptation of mechanisms of action in localities where there is still no formal alliance of key actors in the labour market.
Stay tuned and find out more about the success of local employment partnerships in BiH because they really work.