Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Heritage course, helping small business to be sustainable in Lake Ohrid Region


A three day course on "Heritage, driver for sustainable development in LakeOhrid region" took place in Pogradec, Albania from 25-27 April 2017.25 people from  two countries working and living in different areas of Lake Ohrid region participated. The training course aimed at  Increasing appreciation of shared heritage values and building awareness on the potential of heritage, both cultural and natural, as a support for sustainable development among small-scale entrepreneurs and sharing knowledge on how to build and sustain successful micro-enterprise based around the values of the area. 
Case studies and examples on how heritage can support sustainable opportunities in the Lake Ohrid Region were presented on the first day by UNESCO and its advisory bodies representatives like ICOMOS and IUCN to lead the discussion and inspire. At the end of the day participants were organized in groups, agriculture group, forestry group and fishing group and worked together  

The second day, was organized as a forum with representatives from Municipality of Pogradec, which took answers from participants related to opening a new business, knowledge about the taxes, how to be friendly with environment around Lake Ohrid. After the meeting, participants had the chance to visit some small local business. The first visit was in one of the oldest pastry 'Shop in Pogradec' producing an authentic llokum” a dessert made with corn flowers, sugar, powdered sugar, gelatin and rose flavored water. The shop dates from 1930 opened by his grandfather a former immigrant in Istanbul. The recipe is inherited in generations.  A small fair was organized near the promenade in the center of Pogradec with local food and  art-crafts. Artisan women presented their work alongside the promenade  in an open fair. Some local specialties like lakror, byrek and revani cooked by some women was served  for buffet-dinner to participants and other guests invited from Municipality and  NGO-s  acting in Pogradec.  
Mr. Avdulla Cano, Vice mayor of Pogradec Municipality congratulated the project for the series of training and work done aiming to include Albanian part of Lake Ohrid in UNESCO Heritage List, while UNESCO representative, Ms. Alexandra Fiebig thanked participants, artisans and municipality for the support.  

The next stop was in old shop of wood carving where the aged-man welcomed the group with a big smile, sitting in his chair. The three-floor house was decorated and filled with art-works in wood. It was amazing to see the walls of the mall shop full of wood carving; each one a piece of art. Mr. Llazi Icka has been carving small and large wood pieces for over 60 years in his small studio in Pogradec, southeastern Albania. His detailed carvings are worth examining closely and he does it more for passion rather than for living. For some items he couldn’t even tell the price and for some others he wouldn’t sell at all. He pointed out that his daughter and his son are both excising in this. The façade on the back was also made of wood.  
After this amazing visit the group headed to Tushemisht to visit two other small businesses; fish farm and pottery shop.  It was a nice trip for 10 participants riding bikes kindly offered by a local operator visit-pogradec.com. The ride through a nice road covered with greenery and shadowing trees was a great experience.  

On the Third day of training, each group prepared the business plan on these topics: recreation and tourism, traditional craftsmanship, Eco-environmental services and heritage enterprises/agriculture, forestry. The jury evaluated the presentation and chose as a winner one group. At the end of the training course participants received a Certificate of Attendance, organized in the framework of project "Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region" co-funded by EU and Government of Albania.  

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