Meet the network leaders in Croatia
Tajana Broz has a Master degree in politics. After ten years of work at CESI on the Social Activism and Political Process program, she started to work as the Head of Local Action Group Zagorje-Sutla in 2017. Her areas of interest and work are women’s human rights, active participation of women and youth in society, civil society development and rural development. LAG Zagorje-Sutla covers 11 cities and municipalities in the northwest of Croatia and operates on LEADER principles of encouraging the sustainable development of their communities by increasing the competitiveness of the business sector, encouraging citizen participation in making local political decisions, protecting natural and cultural heritage and developing social content in rural communities. The FREE project is an ideal opportunity for her to combine her CESI and LAG work, as well as to empower women from her area to engage more effectively in the economic life of the community through the Entrepreneurs Network. It is also an opportunity for her to learn and reflect, thanks to the inspirational women who decided to participate in the Entrepreneurs Network.
Susan Cabezas is a Chilean Anthropologist with focus on gender studies. She works as a gender Mainstreaming Consultant in development programs. Her 10 years of experience working with women’s networks in Latin America, including women’s groups in rural areas gave her the opportunity to learn about the importance of the economical empowerment of women in order to overcome poverty, violence and lack of autonomy. Thus, Susan decided to open her own social business in a small village in Croatia where local women and the community can participate and exchange knowledge to support each other. The project Ekokutak (www.ekokutak.org) aims to become a sustainable space for ecotourism and production of healthy food, including a Chilean variety of quinoa seed. Ekokutak project was chosen as one of the 31 most innovative projects in Croatia last year for tender Pokreni nešto svoje.
In 2016, Susan was invited to participate in the Free Project as a network leader. As a result, she started 2 women’s networks, including one with foreign people living in the countryside of Croatia.
Gordana Banović works as a rehabilitator for children with disabilities. The urge to be a part of nature has directed her life path to the village. Four years ago, she cleared her mother’s legacy on which she had envisaged her life. She had an idea that it would be nice for others to experience the beauty of communion with nature.
The business has two functions; therapeutic and touristic.She uses horses for therapeutic riding and organizing camps for children with disabilities. Here they can undoubtedly develop their skills and acquire new ones. The second part that is touristic; trying to show tourists the making of old local traditional dishes, such as scotch pears, to preserve the tradition of the area. Gordana helps to organise support for women from the neighborhood, to help them to persevere with, and realize, their ideas, because support is often important for success.