Lobby for Gender Equality discusses advocacy strategies

 On 8 September, in Deçan, the next-in-row meeting of  Lobby for Gender Equality in Kosovo  (LGEK) was held, attended by 104 Lobby members, representatives of local government institutions, international organizations and staff from Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN).

Yllarta Thaqi, Lobby member in the Municipality of Deçan, and moderator of this meeting, thanked the attendees, particularly Ms. Atifete Jahjaga, former President of the Republic of Kosovo and Ms. Alexandra Papadopoulou, Head of EULEX Mission in Kosovo. She was followed by Ms. Nurije Cacaj, representative of the Lobby for Gender Equality in Deçan, who, in her opening speech, welcomed all the attendees.
Ms. Atifete Jahjaga, former President of the Republic of Kosovo, congratulated, in her greeting speech, the Lobby members on the perfect work they have done since 2014, wishing them success when drafting the strategy for 2018. She highlighted, among others, that the low number of women in political entities is concerning; in the elections of this year, 32 political entities will run in 38 municipalities; of the total of 204 candidates, only 8 are women.
 “This concerning number indicates also the lack of democracy and gender equality”, Ms. Jahjaga added. “We cannot blame only men for this situation. Oftentimes, women became enemies of each other because of their ambitions. They compete against each other or use each other for their own benefit”. She called upon all women to support each other because it is only like that that we will achieve the desired purpose.
Later, the floor was given to Ms. Alexandra Papadopoulou, Head of EULEX Mission in Kosovo. She thanked the Lobby members for their work in promoting the rights of women and gender equality.
 “I know it from experience that time and dedication is needed. What you are doing here is to be admired and you deserve all the support of international organizations”.
Papadopoulou also emphasized the importance of including women and men, emphasizing that, “no society can move forward if it leaves half of it behind”.
Furthermore, Ms. Igballe Rogova, Executive Director of KWN, introduced a history of the Lobby and said that the KWN goals cannot be reached without cooperation with women in politics, which is also one of the reasons why the Lobby was established.
Afterwards, other Lobby members presented their activities carried out in their municipalities during this period. Representatives of some municipalities brought forward the issue of maternities being closed in Kosovo, particularly in rural areas where women have no Access to heath care. Recently, the maternity in Municipality of Kaçanik was closed, and in Dragash, there is only one building that has equipment and no gynecologist. Istog awaits the same fate, with a closure decision expected to be taken soon.
Lobby members agreed to bring these issues forward and advocate for changes alongside KWN once the Minister of Health is appointed.
This meeting was enabled with the financial support from the EU Office in Kosovo and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).

Kosovo Women's Fund Documentary, 2015-2017

Kosova Women's Network