RrOGRAEK Holds Training on Gender-Based Violence

The member organization of KWN, the Network of Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian Women’s Organisations of Kosovo (RrOGRAEK), has held training on gender-based violence, with an emphasis on domestic violence and early marriages. The purpose of this activity is to enhance the capacities of the activists/volunteers of RrOGRAEK in the field of gender-based violence, in accordance with the relevant legislation applicable in Kosovo and the Istanbul Convention.

There were 16 participants in the training, comprising 10 women and 6 men from the Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian communities in the municipalities of Fushë Kosova, Mitrovica, and Prizren. Trainer Donjeta Morina emphasized that providing information on how to identify forms of gender-based violence facilitates the distribution of information for reporting.

“As for reporting gender-based violence, there is insufficient information among citizens, and, in general, instances of gender-based violence often go unreported. What continues to be concerning is the tendency to blame the victim for gender-based violence, both by institutions and society itself,” she said.

Xhulieta Devolli, the project manager, spoke about the training, mentioning that this is the fourth session conducted with 15 individuals who have undergone previous training on gender-based violence as part of this grant over the past months.

“Today, we have included information about the various forms of gender-based violence, the relevant institutions responsible for addressing these forms, and the procedures for reporting cases. Our aim was to provide more specific explanations and general information about gender-based violence. Most importantly, the participants in the training, who are activists of RrOGRAEK, disseminate the information they receive in various forms within their communities. Additionally, they play a crucial role in assisting victims of different forms of gender-based violence, particularly those affected by domestic violence and early/compulsory marriages, in reporting these cases,” said Devolli.

She added that they are consistently in the field, and information about gender-based violence often doesn’t reach isolated neighborhoods, especially those inhabited by Roma. Women in these areas face challenges such as low levels of education and various barriers that prevent them from accessing information to escape various forms of violence. This lack of opportunity hinders them from realizing their rights.

Gynesh Veshall, a civil society activist in Prizren and participant in the training, emphasized the importance of every meeting, stating that they actively convey messages to the community.

“The Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian communities are becoming informed about their rights, and the importance of reporting violence, especially in Prizren, where I work and operate. In comparison to previous years, there was limited information, but through our activities, we’ve raised awareness. It’s crucial to note that violence against women is a global issue, not limited to specific communities. We shouldn’t label ourselves. All women are susceptible to sexual, psychological, and physical violence,” she said.

Mrs. Veshall further added that the Roma theater in Prizren, “Nexhip Menekshe,” has been using performances to raise awareness, conveying messages about early marriages and violence. This awareness is being disseminated through the stage and the theater, reaching a wide audience.

This activity was made possible through the grant obtained in the 18th round of the Kosovo Women’s Fund by the KWN for core support, funded by the Sigrid Rausing Foundation.