Monday, May 19, 2014

She Took Farmers to the Library

In an article about successful women leaders in Serbia in a magazine Blic Zena, the director of the Jagodina Library says that being a director does not just involve purchasing books and moaning about not having enough money to buy some more. Vesna is a director who introduced computers and the Internet in village libraries and ICT training for more than 200 farmers.
"When I became a director eight years ago, village libraries in our municipality were in very poor condition. Even people, who worked there, did not get their salaries."
She decided that it was a time for changes and figured out how to do it.
“”The local government could not help us with starting the project, but I heard about EIFL and their call for innovative projects proposals and I knew that the right thing was to apply for the $30,000 award. And we won it.
When we started the project and organized first ICT training, nobody showed up because people were watching an important football match and simply didn’t want to miss it. That was a defeat for us, but we didn’t give up.
We managed to bring distinguished university professors to talk about blueberries, strawberries, cherries…Farmers who visited the lectures, recommended to each other certain fruit or vegetable varieties and that is how Rade Damjanovic, agricultural engineer, suggested us to organize a lecture where he would talk about paulownia.
With the support from Beyond Access, the project is supposed to be expanded to 17 more libraries in Kragujevac, Jagodina, Vranje, Aleksinac and Leskovac.
Vesna says that she is proud of and its section online marketplace where farmers can buy and sell. There are nearly 300 members who regularly sell their produce.

"Working on big projects, such as Agrolib involves a lot of overtime work, even from home, but I manage to be successful in it due to my family’s support, "concludes Vesna.