On 16 December, at the Sirius Hotel in Prishtina, the Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN) held its 16th Annual Membership Meeting, attended by members, friends, supporters, representatives of international organizations and Kosovo institutions. The KWN hosts the Annual Membership Meeting since 2003, as part of the staff members’ responsibility to report every year to the Assembly of KWN Members.
The KWN is concluding another year in which it has worked to achieve its vision for a Kosovo where women and men are equal and have equal opportunities in education, employment, participation in politics, health and live a life without violence. The KWN achieves its vision through its mission to support, protect and promote the rights and interests of women and girls throughout Kosovo, regardless of their political and religious beliefs, age, level of education, sexual orientation and abilities.
Ariana Qosaj Mustafa, chair of the KWN Board, in the opening speech of the meeting talked about the successes and challenges of the Network during 2018, and also stressed that “being part of the Kosovo Women’s Network is actually a mission and I believe that with our work and our will we demonstrate every day that we are part of a network in which we will continue to mobilize individually, but also collectively, to achieve the mission of creating an equitable society.” “This also makes our engagement an irreplaceable mission to provide opportunities to many girls and women who represent us with so much dignity around the world, to offer them the opportunity to do so in their own country,” she added.
The collaboration over the years and the successful KWN work was also appreciated by Gunther Zimmer, Head of Office, Austrian Development Agency (ADA), who stated that “it is an honor for the Austrian Development Agency to continue to support the Kosovo Women’s Network, an ADA partner since 2012. We recognize the important role played by women’s rights organizations, networks and movements in bringing about significant social change in Kosovo, the region and elsewhere.”
Annette Fath Lihic, EU Special Representative Chief Political Adviser/Executive Coordinator in Kosovo, expressed her pleasure in addressing the Network at this event, also conveying the words of praise of Ambassador Apostolova for “the wonderful work the KWN is doing”. She further stressed that “gender equality is crucial to ensure security, to establish political stability and to achieve economic development. Significant examples show that countries where women and men are equal and participate in equitable decision-making, are more developed, safer and more stable.”
Between the many emotions and poems written and recited by Safete Rogova, devoted to the work and achievements of the activist and humanist Sevdije Ahmeti, the KWN awarded for the first time the Sevdije Ahmeti annual Prize. When presenting the idea for this award that is related to the history of women activists during the ’90s, Igballe Rogova, KWN Executive Director, emphasized that in this way we hope to keep alive the name of an activist like Sevdije, and at the same time symbolically recognize the contribution of other activists. This year the prize was awarded to Naxhije Buçinca, for her continuous work and commitment to the education of girls and women. Feeling privileged and very emotional, Ms. Buçinca added that “there is no way I can’t compare Sevdije to Jean d’Arc. She fought for the rights of all women in the world. She opened the path we all walk on with our work. This award is a message and obligation to continue our work.”
Thereafter, Igballe Rogova, KNW Executive Director, and KWN staff members presented KWN’s work and engagement towards the implementation of the 2015-2018 Strategy, focusing on activities during 2018 in 5 areas: 1. KWN Capacity Building; 2. Women in Politics and Decision Making; 3. Women’s and Girls’ Health; 4. Countering Gender-Based Violence Program; and 5. Women’s Economic Empowerment.
While thanking members, the board and supporters for their continued support and trust in the KWN, Ms. Rogova stressed that “we are using this meeting to celebrate and reflect on our joint engagement and contribution towards advancing women’s rights and gender equality in Kosovo and abroad. Thank you very much for believing in the Network.” Further on she presented the new 2019 – 2022 KWN Strategy that has established the 6 programming areas of the KWN Strategy for the 2019-2022 period: I) Strengthening the Feminist Movement in Kosovo; II) Women in Politics and Decision-Making; III) Women’s Rights to Health Care; IV) Life Without Gender-based Violence; V) Women’s Economic Empowerment; and VI) Quality Equal Education, which was elaborated together with key members and actors throughout 2018.
Further on, the members adopted the annual report for 2018 and the new 2019-2022 Strategy, and after the lunch break, they re-elected Besnik Leka and Jeta Krasniqi as new members of the Board. During the filling out of the evaluation questionnaires, Adelina Tershani, also a member of the staff, recited the ‘reproaching’ poem ‘This is my lot’
The 16th Membership Meeting was supported by the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).