KWN, ADA, Sida Sign Contract for Advancing Women’s Rights in Kosovo

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Today, 12 March 2021, the Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN), Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) officially signed a new contract for Further Advancing Women’s Rights in Kosovo. This action will help to implement the KWN Strategy for 2019-2022, making progress towards realizing KWN’s vision of a Kosovo where women and men are equal and have equal opportunities to education, employment, political participation, health care and a life without violence.

In line with the KWN strategy, this four-year initiative (2021-2025), in the total amount of €783,333, including contributions from ADA (€700,000), Sida (€78,333) and KWN (€5,000), aims to strengthen the feminist movement in Kosovo, the region and beyond; improve women’s access to health care; improve the response to gender-based violence; and improve access to education that challenges existing gender norms and power relations.

Of this, at least €200,000 will be distributed through the Kosovo Women’s Fund and more than €302,000 will benefit KWN members directly, including their engagement in achieving common strategic goals of the network. According to the fund’s policies, set by KWN members, organizations that do not have access to other resources and that work with persons with different abilities, rural communities, minority women and youth are given priority in the allocation of funds.

“Gender equality, together with social sustainability, are fundamental to the achievement of development outcomes and are systematically mainstreamed in ADA-supported programmes and projects,” said Sandra Horina, Head of the Austrian Development Cooperation office in Pristina. “Through our support, we would like to strengthen the position of women so that men and women have more equal opportunities for education, employment, political participation, health care and a life without violence.”

This new action builds on KWN’s ten-year collaboration with ADA, which has led to several substantial changes towards gender equality in Kosovo, including an improved legal framework and institutional measures against gender-based violence; increased participation of women in decision-making at all levels; improved gender-responsive budgeting; several initiatives towards gender equality at the local level; and improved gender mainstreaming of ADA partners’ programs in all sectors. KWN looks forward to continuing this partnership and building on these efforts.

KWN also is delighted to sign its first contract directly with Sida since 2003. While Sida has been a key supporter of KWN’s work via the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, among others, KWN is pleased to strengthen this relationship.

“The partnership with the Kosovo Women’s Network is very important for Sida and the development work we do in the area of gender equality,” said Nasrin Pourghazian, Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden in Kosovo. “The Swedish government remains committed to increased equality, especially with regard to women’s political participation and economic empowerment, increased access to and respect for sexual and reproductive health and rights and the pursuit of reduced violence against women, girls and boys. [Gender equality] is a fundamental goal that contributes to positive developments in society democratically, economically and environmentally,” she said. “We will be able to achieve gender equality only when we reach out to our constituencies, which the Kosovo Women’s Fund aims to do.”

A special aspect of this agreement is that ADA and Sida have agreed to align and harmonize their reporting procedures. This exemplary best practice has been encouraged in KWN and the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation’s recent report Where’s the Money for Women’s Rights?. This approach will save time for KWN in administration and reporting and allows activists to focus their energies more efficiently on their work towards furthering women’s rights.

“We are seeing growing commitment to supporting the real needs of women’s rights organizations and movements among big funders like ADA and Sida, supported by the Austrian and Swedish governments,” said Igballe Rogova, KWN Executive Director. “We are so happy for their long-term support; investing in KWN means investing in women’s rights and wellbeing.”

With this important support, KWN, together with its 158 member organisations and partners, including key institutions such as the Agency for Gender Equality, Ombudsperson Institution, and international allies, will continue its work towards realizing its mission to support, protect and promote the rights and interests of women and young women throughout Kosovo, regardless of their political and religious beliefs, age, level of education, sexual orientation and abilities.