Women, mainly from rural areas, express the need for training that would enable them to acquire additional skills, enabling them to secure employment or even become self-employed for economic independence.
According to a study conducted by The Agency for Gender Equality, it underscores the necessity of providing training opportunities for women in the areas of management and leadership. It also emphasizes the importance of motivating and encouraging women to aspire to decision-making roles.
Sadije Dulahu serves as the director of the organization ‘Lulishtja,’ where numerous women seek training to initiate their own businesses. Dulahu also highlights a challenge encountered by women in rural areas who seek information regarding issues that pertain to their rights.
“Previously, we provided training on property inheritance, which we continue whenever the opportunity arises. Currently, we focus on supporting the establishment of new businesses because as women become economically self-sufficient, they gradually gain their rights,” she said.
“In 2018-2019, we encountered numerous challenges. Our organization focused on agricultural recovery. However, individuals within families, particularly those who held the land on their father’s property, took advantage of the situation to claim grants. This was due to a lack of trust that parents could allow their daughters to manage these activities on their property,” says Dulahu.
In Kosovo, according to data from the Department of NGOs within the Ministry of Internal Affairs, there are 12,433 active organizations, including associations, foundations, and institutes.
Among these NGOs is ‘Aureola,’ led by Sanije Grajçevci. The organization’s objectives encompass economic empowerment, education, gender equality, and human rights. To advance these goals, the NGO has conducted training sessions and courses for women in computer skills, the English language, tailoring, and hairdressing. Additionally, they maintain a division dedicated to greenhouse agriculture.
Grajçevci explains that these courses were offered free of charge, as they were funded by donors or successful project proposals.
The training and courses organized by an NGO, as explained by Grajçevci, should be designed to empower women to secure employment in the future or even become self-employed.
“I believe that there will always be a demand for training and courses because today there are private courses available, but not everyone has the means to afford them. Nevertheless, it’s important to bear in mind that if the knowledge gained from a course is not applied in one’s life, it represents a missed opportunity. For instance, if I were to offer a hairdressing course to women, I must consider how this course can genuinely benefit these women,” she states.
However, to conduct such training and courses, this NGO must secure funds, and Grajçevci asserts that this is not a straightforward task. “We’ve had periods with and without grants, and we constantly strive to secure income to sustain our work. We don’t have a consistent source of funding, but occasionally we collaborate on projects and make contributions,” Grajçevci states.
“In the past, when international NGOs were involved, we received substantial support and operated effectively. Now our opportunities are somewhat limited,” she adds, emphasizing the importance of increased state support for NGOs.
Another NGO is “Rikotta,” which has been offering training and supporting women’s education for approximately five years, with the aim of enhancing women’s skills and competence in the realm of business and entrepreneurship.
Furthermore, this NGO has established partnerships with organizations that provide training and education programs for women. Pranvera Bullaku, the director of Rikotta, notes that the NGO she oversees initiated these training programs, recognizing their significance.
“By providing information and training, they have enhanced the abilities of women and girls, empowering and motivating them to play an active role. The increased involvement of women in decision-making contributes to positive transformative processes within societies, leading to changes in laws, policies, services, institutions, and social norms,” states Bullaku.
The organization “Activism Roots,” headquartered in Gjakovë, primarily focuses on civic activism at the local level while also advocating for human rights. Ideal Zhaveli, the Executive Director of this association, acknowledges that any training offered to NGOs is greatly appreciated.
“Indeed, trainings that enhance the well-being of the organization are valuable, as they not only boost the capacities of each member but also promote the active functioning of the organization as a whole,” Zhaveli remarked.
“Training benefits every organization, but it should also be coordinated with us because sometimes time constraints prevent staff members from participating,” adds Shefkije Mehmeti from the Women’s Center for Rural Development. Mehmeti, in response to KALLXO.com, elaborated on the significance of training in the work of NGOs.
“Our activities are centered around rural development, heritage preservation, healthcare preservation, women’s awareness raising, as well as strategy development, legal compliance, and project preparation. We have undergone capacity-building trainings, which are essential for crafting project proposals and ensuring compliance with laws; they provide valuable guidance on how to approach these aspects,” stated Mehmeti.
On the other hand, women’s rights activist Nora Ahmetaj asserts that there has been progress in the realm of training and raising awareness among women and girls.
“We are actively engaged in training both young girls and teenagers, as well as women who are already well-established and of a more mature age. It’s heartening to see that we are investing in training because, when compared to where we started, it represents a significant step forward,” Ahmetaj told KALLXO.com.
However, she does acknowledge the challenges of providing training to women in rural areas, as there has been a predominant focus on the urban center while neglecting rural regions.
“Information is primarily disseminated in Pristina and not in rural areas. Most opportunities are concentrated in Pristina, with a few in larger centers. It is crucial that information is extended beyond Pristina to the outskirts. Many women in these areas are severely marginalized and lack access to both information and training,” she elaborates.
According to Ahmetaj, the impact of NGOs is limited.
“Some NGOs have been well-established and effective, but they are quite scarce. While they can often provide more support due to their access to information and financial resources, not all NGOs are in this position.”
The needs, preferences, and experiences of young people regarding NGO training
Advocating for human rights, addressing community issues, and demanding solutions and accountability remain integral aspects of the daily missions of municipal Youth Centers. One such example is the Youth Center in Obiliq, which has been actively addressing issues affecting the country’s youth since 2011.
Zelushe Kelmendi, a representative of this NGO, explains to KALLXO.com that trainings are among the factors that influence the improvement of an NGO’s work and knowledge.
“There are many trainings, and each one is valuable as it empowers and rejuvenates the work of the NGO,” says Kelmendi. According to her, NGO trainings are beneficial for enhancing capacity.
One beneficiary of the new experiences and lessons offered by NGO trainings is Diellza Krasniqi from the Municipality of Lipjan, who has been part of various organizations, forums, and conferences for five years.
“The trainings have been quite engaging, focusing on youth involvement in human rights initiatives, information technology approaches, career guidance, and various contemporary topics. The subjects I’ve delved into have been comprehensive, and in recent months, I’ve participated in trainings and practical experiences related to environmental studies,” she explains.
Krasniqi emphasizes that being part of the NGO network has expanded her social circle and allowed her to learn from a diverse group of individuals and organizations. “Participating has brought positive benefits, extending my knowledge beyond the university through informal education. I’ve developed new terminology, improved my writing, and communication skills,” she elaborates.
Another student who has found the solution in training to complement her studies is Ardiana Jashari from the municipality of Gjilan, who is studying journalism.
For Jashari, her passion for working in the media has deepened through training, which enabled her to closely observe ethical and reporting standards.
“As for the fields of training, most of them were in journalism. I’ve benefited significantly from these trainings, expanding my knowledge in journalism and gaining insights from experienced media professionals,” Jashari tells KALLXO.com.
NGO Relations with Public Institutions: What Does the Law Say?
Regarding NGO relations with public institutions, the law in Kosovo regulates these interactions through the Law on the Freedom of Association in Non-Governmental Organizations.
Article 13 of this law outlines the principles governing NGO relationships with public institutions. According to this article:
NGOs operate independently from public institutions; Public institutions support and encourage NGO activities; Public institutions treat NGOs with respect, equality, and without discrimination; Public institutions create a conducive environment and implement best practices to facilitate NGO work aligned with their objectives; Public institutions protect NGOs from third-party interference; Public institutions do not infringe on the rights and freedoms of NGOs and individuals exercising their right to freedom of association and Public institutions are required to make public all forms of cooperation and support provided to NGOs.
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.