This is Aretusa

ARETUSA is the long term benefit of several years of informal networking between organisations from different Member States in the framework of the implementation of transnational European projects.

In Greek mythology, Aretusa was a nymph and daughter of Nereus and later became a fountain on the island of Ortygia in Syracuse, Sicily. On 6th December 2002, during the “Turning the spotlight on trafficking in women” conference, promoted by the European Commission and held in Syracuse by the Italian Ministry for Equal Opportunities, the European Network Against Trafficking in Women was launched to foster the exchange of expertise and best practices to prevent and combat violence against women and especially trafficking. The consortium was led by an Italian NGO (IRENE Association) in partnership with other women’s organisations based in Belgium, Spain, France, Greece, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland.

In 2006 the platform was enlarged to include organisations from the new EU member States: Hungary, Romania, Lithuania, Poland, Bulgaria. The platform has enabled an effective and cohesive cooperation among 80 women’s organisations from 21 EU member States. The network brings together organisations sharing the commitment towards gender equality in different fields of intervention (gender violence, participation to economic activities, social inclusion, participation to politics) and from different points of view (research, management of social services and shelters, advice on gender policies, mainstreaming).

By year 2007, 18 organisations decided to legally establish, on the basis of the effective cooperation developed since 2002, the international association named “Aretusa” as a permanent and cohesive framework in order to ensure the quality of future undertakings and to maximise the results of the networking activities in the field of gender equality.


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