Kosova Women’s Fund Reviews Key Achievements
Following a series of consultations with KWN’s 100 member organizations, the Kosovo Women’s Fund (KWF) was created to meet a crucial need in supporting grassroots women’s organizations amid shifting aid priorities in Kosovo.
With generous support from Kvinna till Kvinna and later the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), KWN established this Fund to provide small grants to women’s organizations that lack access to other sources of funding.
While KWN is seeking additional funding and plans for the continued growth of KWF, we want to reflect on and share our achievements and challenges so far.
Since fall 2012, KWN has provided 34 grants, totalling €66,671, to its member organizations through KWF. These initiatives directly benefited 2,039 diverse women including women with limited physical abilities, from rural areas, of various ethnicities (e.g., Turkish, Gorani, Serbian, Roma, Ashkali, Egyptian and Albanian), youth and pensioners.
More than 1,500 people within their communities benefited indirectly. These little grants (up to €3,000) have made substantial changes in their lives.
Among KWN’s five strategic goals as a network, most Fund-supported initiatives focused on capacity building for KWN members, health and women’s economic empowerment.
Projects have informed women about cancer and helped marginalized women afford at least one gynaecological visit to the doctor. Other recipients economically empowered women by teaching business techniques and providing access to new markets.
The greatest challenge for some grant recipients has been learning to manage a project according to recognized best practices, including creating financial systems. KWN continually provided one-on-one mentoring for each grant recipient throughout their initiative, and often beyond. This was crucial since for most organizations this was the first time that they had managed a project.
This included site visits, skills-building in financial management, assistance with organizational management, advice in effective advocacy strategies, facilitating networking with government officials, and problem-solving. In 2013, KWN provided more than 300 such mentoring sessions for its members via phone, e-mail, or personal contact.
We also supported our members in thinking proactively about sustainability, which included planning initiatives and gaining community level support that will enable their initiatives to continue beyond the life of these short projects.
Kosovo Women’s Fund Key Achievements
o More than 2,811 diverse women and girls have benefitted since fall 2012
o Increased KWN members’ capacity to write proposals
o Diverse KWN members, including rural and minority groups, have access to funds
o Municipal Gender Equality Officers and other institutions involved in KWN members’ initiatives
o KWN members gained advocacy skills using a “learning-by-doing” method
o KWN members provided substantial co-financing for their initiatives
o KWN members and beneficiaries have undertaken additional initiatives on a voluntary basis after their initial projects ended
o KWN members are more visible to the public via television, online media, newspapers, the KWN website, and Facebook
o High demand for continuation of Kosovo Women’s Fund