José Carpintero-Molina, 23, from Almeria, Spain joined Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN) team in order to expand his knowledge of and experience with women’s civil society organizations. He worked as a research assistant with KWN from the beginning of December 2019 until the end of June 2020. Although he is now back in Spain, he is still working remotely for KWN.
Long before coming to Kosovo, he was aware that KWN was one of the key women’s rights organization in the Balkans region.
“When I began, not only did KWN staff trust me, but they welcomed me into the organization as if they were my own family. Even in the most difficult moments during the pandemic, I have always felt helped and cared for.” he says.
Carpintero-Molina, a graduate student in Political Sciences at the University of Granada, highly appreciates the team effort and the warm welcome by KWN staff members.
“Thanks to all of them, to accepting me in this new experience, which ended up being a path full of learning and new friendships. During this period, I experienced a great change, both personally and professionally.”
As part of an initiative “Empowering Youth for a Peaceful, Prosperous, and Sustainable Future in Kosovo”, supported by UN Women, Jose focused on Women, Peace and Security and Youth agendas. Molina worked closely with two KWN staff members, Majlinda Behrami, Project Coordinator and Besarta Brezenica, Researcher.
He describes their cooperation as a valuable experience which helped him to better understand how women’s activism has been during the war in Kosovo.
“Working with Majlinda and Besarta has made this project much more exciting. Even though we didn’t know each other at the beginning, I have the feeling that we managed to connect very well and we built a great team. Certainly, everything was much easier and more comfortable thanks to them.” says Molina, while adding that they, and other KWN staff, have become very good friends.
The appreciation was mutual. Behrami asserts that Carpintero-Molina had a positive energy, strong work-ethic, and was curious to know more about the people surrounding him.
“His professional background served as a huge contributor to our research initiative. From our discussions we realized that gender inequalities are present all around the globe, regardless of different circumstances. I am very happy that young men like him are involved in advocating for gender equality.” Behrami says.
Along the way, he had the opportunity to learn and elaborate more about the work and activism that KWN is doing, as well as the history of the organization and the long-standing activism of the KWN Executive Director, Igballe Rogova.
“She [Rogova] inspired me from the very moment I read about her activism”.
Regardless of the circumstances caused due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Molina left happy, knowing that he met “these great and professional people, and that I will be able to continue working with them from the distance.”
This experience helped him to clearly define the most important things he wants to continue to advocate for, gender equality being one of them.
“KWN has shown me that wherever I go, I must work and speak up for what I believe in, and that is what I will continue doing from Spain.”
Jose concludes that he is proud for being able to be part of KWN, and is convinced that this experience is exceptional.