Dragash and Deçan exchange experiences in Including women in decision-making

 The non-inclusion of women and girls in decision-making processes continues to be a problem in the municipality of Dragash / Dragaš. They still do not participate in public meetings wherein important issues which are related to their lives are discussed. The Women’s Initiative Association has taken steps to mitigate this phenomenon in Dragash, by encouraging and motivating women and girls of this municipality to be active in social and political life. 
          At the same time, the Women’s Initiative Association is organizing workshops and meetings with girls from the remote and deepest mountain villages of the Albanian community and the Gorani-Bosniak community, since in most of these villages still there is no girl / woman employed, despite the education of some girls recently. 
        “Non-employment of girls and failure to provide a better perspective for young people has influenced a large number of young people in this municipality to move to other cities of Kosovo or even migrate abroad in order to ensure a better life”, said the director of the organization, Ms. Xhejrane Lokaj. 
         In the course of the activities of this initiative a meeting took place on 5 July in Dragash / Dragaš. This meeting was aimed at exchanging experiences between the municipalities of Dragash and Deçan. In this meeting initially a brief presentation was made for the participants from Dragash and Deçan by the deputy mayor of Dragash, who spoke about the extent, territory, number of population and initiatives that have already been taken by this municipality. In his speech, Selami Sahiti also said that “women today are present in education, health institutions; today they are MPs, hold very high positions and are very skilled in their work”. Among other things, he stressed that “empowerment of women means the empowerment of the state”. He also asked from women to be more united and more supportive of each other. 
          Lindita Kozmaqi-Piraj, the Gender Equality Officer in Dragash / Dragaš Municipality, emphasized that the Dragash municipality has tried to push forward initiatives to include women in rural areas in decision-making processes but they have not been successful so far, and stated the problems that this office has encountered during its work. “The Albanian community has overcome the challenge of non-education of girls, while for the other non-majority communities non-education of girls and early marriages still remain among the key issues”, she said. 
        During the meeting it was pointed out that in the municipality of Dragash / Dragaš women do not hold high positions. There is not even a single woman director of any hospital or other institution. While, compared to Dragash, Deçan is in a better position in this regard as this municipality has a woman who is a school director and the only public day care is run by a woman. During the meeting there took place many discussions and were shared practices on how to put in function the day care of Dragash which currently is not functional, by taking as example advocacy strategies used by the municipality of Deçan. 
       This initiative is supported by Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN) and is funded by the European Union Office in Kosovo.