Expanding Economic Opportunities in Rural Belarus

About of project:

Project Period: 01.04.2015 – 30.09.2017

Amount: €500,000 (EU funding: €450,000; or 90%)

Implementing Agency: New Eurasia Establishment

Location: Belarus


The Belarusian rural population, whose income is much lower than that of townspeople, is at risk of falling below the poverty line. In view of the low productivity of agricultural companies, which are unable to offer adequate wages, self-employment may be an alternative. Entrepreneurship enables both the prevention of poverty and support to sustainable regional development.

Project Goals:  Provide the rural population with the knowledge needed to start their own business; empower them to prioritize areas of regional development and take part in decision making on key social and economic issues, ultimately improving the standard of living in the countryside.

Key Objectives of the Project:

- establish a dialogue between local communities, non-profit organizations, business and the authorities in order to ensure effective engagement of civil society in decision making on issues of high social significance;

- provide financial, counselling and technical assistance to the joint technical initiatives in the field.

Intermediate Outcomes: 60 applications were received from Belarusian rural areas at the open call phase of the Project. The winners – 12 pilot sites (each application representing one or two rural councils) – were identified.

The research team of the project assessed strengths and weaknesses of each selected rural area as well as its potential for successful development in the future. Based on the recommendation of the research team, local communities held strategic sessions to develop sustainable development strategies for their rural areas with 215 participants. Recommendations and findings of the research team were united into a brochure on the problems and prospects for rural development in Belarus and a manual with recommendations on developing local sustainable development strategies. A new methodology of developing local sustainable development strategies was developed and piloted in partnership with the Association “Green Alliance”.

Throughout the year 13 economic development resource centers operated in the pilot rural areas. Local residents received over 1400 hours of consultations on starting a business, generating income, and establishing international cooperation. As a result of resource centers operation over 20 project proposals and business plans are drafted, two international partnerships are established and 6 new non-profit organizations are registered. 

85 representatives of authorities and non-profit organizations of the participating rural areas, visited regions of Poland, Ukraine and Belarus and studies their experience in local development.

212 representatives of local non-profit organizations, initiative groups and authorities participated in a targeted training company on fostering sustainable development of rural territories.

430 rural citizens underwent through trainings and consultations on new economic activities to generate additional income or starting a business.

At the final phase, 13 initiatives aimed at economic development of the sites were competitively selected. The project provides €180,000 for the implementation of that component. Supported initiatives vary from a very simple ones aimed at establishing youth business incubator to complex projects intended for raising income of population through the modernization of milk collection post and educational campaign on innovative practices for personal subsidiary farming plot management and improving operation of small producers cooperatives under the joint brand “Valozhynskiya Hastincy”.

Best practices will be shared throughout Belarus. 

Points of Contact:

Lyudmila Batura, Project Manager

+375 17 226 90 95; +375 29 307 55 43, lbatura@eurasia.by

Website: http://eurasia.by/blog/programs/proekt-rasshirenie-ekonomicheskih-vozmozhnostey-v-selskoy-belarusi/

Annex 1

List of pilot sites:

Hrodna Region:

1. Žaludok and Orlia Rural Councils, Ščučyn District;

2. Kreva and Zaliessie Rural Councils, Smarhoń District;

3. Dzieraŭnaja Rural Council, Slonim District;

Brest Region:

1. Vidamlia Rural Council, Kamianiec District and Čarnaŭčycy Rural Council, Brest District;

2. Motaĺ Rural Council, Ivanava District;

3. Sporava Rural Council, Biaroza District;

Minsk Region:

1. Kryvasieĺcy Rural Council, Viliejka District;

2. Valožyn and Pieršai Rural Councils, Valožyn District;

Homiel Region:

1. Sudkoma and Barysaŭščyna Rural Councils, Chojniki District;

2. Čamiarysy Rural Council, Brahin District;

Mahilioŭ Region:

1. Chodasy Rural Council, Mscislaŭ District;

Viciebsk Region:

1. Babiničy and Mazalava Rural Councils, Viciebsk District;