Funding Struggles: A Persistent Challenge for Women’s Rights Advocacy Organizations

“Djepi i Buzëqeshjes” is one of the organizations that has closed due to a lack of funds, while dozens of others advocating in the field of women’s and girls’ rights in Kosovo face financial resource shortages. There are nearly 200 non-governmental organizations focusing on women’s and girls’ rights in Kosovo, struggling with insufficient financial means to carry out their activities.

“Djepi i Buzëqeshjes” has collaborated with the organization “Medica Kosova,” aiming to alleviate the traumatic symptoms caused by war, especially among victims of violence, and facilitate their integration into social and public life.

According to Veprore Shehu from “Medica Kosova,” this organization is also grappling with funding problems.

“This year, in February, we completed three very large projects simultaneously. We regret that it seems overlooked that we in Gjakova will cover our expenses,” said Shehu.

She also mentioned that they had a project with central institutions, where for five consecutive years, they received a certain amount of money to develop their activities. However, this project has also been completed.

“We have also concluded the project with central institutions; for five years, we received a sum of money for the support of survivors of sexual violence during the war. We are waiting for the deadline to be extended, and now we are waiting for an answer,” she said.

She mentions that they are waiting to be relicensed to continue with applications for other projects. The licensing process, Shehu says, is a challenge in itself.

“This process has been accelerated by the institutions, posing a challenge in itself as we require the license on time to proceed with the application for projects,” she added. Shehu further stated that foreign donations have already begun to shift their focus to other countries, presenting a challenge in receiving donations from abroad.

Shehu stated that it is the responsibility of the state to engage in this matter. Even the non-governmental organization “4 Change” has not been active for several years. This organization, focused on the empowerment of equal rights, closed due to financial and other issues.

Alba Hajdini, the former leader of this NGO in Pristina, explained that insufficient funds were a primary factor leading to the organization’s closure. “We didn’t have a lot of finance. This had the effect that when you don’t have sufficient resources to dedicate time to an NGO, treating it as a priority, then opportunities and conditions diminish,” says Hajdini.

She further adds that money was not the only problem; the limited time they could devote to the organization has rendered this NGO inactive.

“Now, even the members do not have much time left; it was not a primary focus for us as an NGO,” she continues. Shemsie Seferi, leader of the “Association for the Emancipation of Women – Alma” in Peja, states that the lack of funds is jeopardizing the organization’s continuity. She explains that the organization she leads is currently not fully active due to the challenges they are facing.

“The NGO is not fully active at the moment; we are dealing with problems related to the office. We don’t have funds to pay rent, etc.,” says Seferi. “Funding issues can indeed lead to the closure of the organization,” she adds. To overcome these problems, Seferi emphasizes that they have only one solution: sufficient funds.

She even adds that this applies not only to the organization she leads but to many other non-governmental organizations aiming to strengthen gender equality.

“In the future, for NGOs to remain active, they need stable financial support,” said Seferi. Another problem she highlights is the challenge they face in winning projects, noting that projects are typically secured by larger NGOs.

The allocated amount for NGO support in 2022 is 1 million euros, earmarked for non-governmental organizations with a primary mission focused on women’s rights.

From May 2022 to February 2023, the funds allocated for financial support to these organizations have increased by 500 thousand euros. According to the Ministry of Justice, for the first four months of this year, the Government has additionally allocated another 500 thousand euros.

“For the year 2023, the Government of Kosovo has provided support to legal entities, namely NGOs, in the amount of 500 thousand euros for the period of January-April. The Ministry of Defense is currently in the process of allocating financial support in the amount of 1 million and 500 thousand euros for the period from May to December 2023, extending to February 2024,” as stated in the responses of the Ministry of Defense to

According to the provided information, at the beginning of this year, the Ministry of Justice incorporated the Department for Social Services Policy into its composition. Until December 2022, this department operated within the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Defense stated that, in line with its responsibilities, it initiated a call for subsidizing NGOs offering social and family services to citizens in social need.

Additionally, the Ministry revealed that in the past year, the Ministry of Finance financially supported organizations with an amount totaling 1 million euros.

According to the information obtained by, of the 1 million euros allocated, 400,000 euros have been assigned to shelters in Kosovo, and an additional 600,000 euros to NGOs providing social and family services. The data released by the ministry revealed that this monetary support benefited a total of 44 legal entities in 2022. Among them, ten were shelters, and 34 were other non-governmental organizations.

On October 3, 2023, the Ministry of Justice entered into contracts to subsidize four organizations for social services, with a total amount of 65,000 euros. The organizations receiving this subsidy include the National Association of Autism in Kosovo, HandiKOS-Gjakovë, AUTIZMI, and the humanitarian association of parents with mental disabilities “Hadër.”

In January of this year, a total of 10 shelters and 31 other licensed civil society organizations providing social and family services benefited from a sum of 1,435,000 euros. The allocated budget for family social services stands at 1.5 million euros, aiming to enhance capacities and social services across the Republic of Kosovo.

In 2012, the Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN) established the Kosovo Women’s Fund in response to shifting aid priorities and reduced budgets, leading many donors in Kosovo to close grant programs or decrease funding to non-governmental organizations. The Kosovo Women’s Fund of KWN, provides small grants to women’s organizations that lack access to other funding sources and are committed to advocating for women’s rights, particularly among groups in rural areas or marginalized communities. This special fund not only offers financial support but also provides opportunities for capacity development for beneficiary organizations, as well as those applying for grants.

According to data from the Kosovo Women’s Network, the transparent, efficient, effective, and proven systems and procedures of sub-granting within this fund have resulted in the administration of 289 grants to 153 Civil Society Organizations since its establishment.

The cumulative value of these grants amounts to a total of 1,771,249 euros.

This publication was made possible with the financial support of the European Union Office in Kosovo through the initiative of the Kosovo Women’s Network, “Enhancing the Capacities and Resilience of CSO’s: Furthering Gender Equality Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Its content is the responsibility of Internews Kosova and does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union Office in Kosovo.