On 19 December 2015, the Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN) held its 13th Annual Meeting of the KWN Members. The Annual Meeting opened with a performance by Lira Women’s Chorus. Afterwards, a performance interpreted by Actor Molikë Maxhuni took place. The text was adapted by well-known actor, Ms. Safete Rogova. Rogova’s performance served as a congratulatory surprise for the KWN’s 15th Anniversary.
Ms. Igballe Rogova, Executive Director of KWN, gave the opening speech for the meeting. She opened with, “This is the 13th Meeting, but it is the 15th anniversary of the Network because the Network was established in 2000. In its first three years, the network functioned by self-financing.”
In the absence of the KWN Board Chairperson, Ms. Ariana Qosaj Mustafa, Ms. Rogova read a letter written by the Mustafa.“I think that the Network has successfully managed to be close to women and girls and transmit the needs in of women and girls in the best manner possible. Through transparency, accountability, and continuous debate, the Network remains a worthy voice for the needs of women and girls and other more vulnerable groups, including non-majority communities,” Mustafa wrote.
Later, the meeting was honored by a welcome speech delivered by Ms. Atifete Jahjaga, President of the Republic of Kosovo. “The women of Kosovo have been those who have borne on their shoulders the heavy weight of survival, peaceful resistance, and war, and there is no doubt that peace could not have been built without them. Today, Kosovo is a democratic and independent state thanks to the undeniable contribution of women and men of this country,” President Jahjaga stated. “Among you, dear friends, I see a lot of powerful women who guarantee every day, by their commitment, a brighter future for the new generations. You are the best example for our youth, demonstrating that it is with work, trust, and commitment that all barriers are overcome. The Kosovo Women’s Network enjoys the full support of my office, just as my office has had your support in the materialization of numerous projects and ideas, which have shared our common aim to advance and empower the role of women in our society. The entirety of the President’s speech for this occasion can be found here.
In its work during 2015, the KWN was supported by the European Union Office in Kosovo, Austrian Development Agency, MOTT Foundation, GIZ, Embassy of Netherlands, East West Management Institute, National Endowment for Democracy, Office of the President, Heart and Hand Foundation, Swedish organization Kvinna till Kvinna, and the KWN’s individual members.
The representatives of some of the supporting organizations of the KWN were present during the Annual Meeting. Mr. Libor Chlad, Vice Chief of the Sector for Cooperation in the European Union Office in Kosovo, spoke during the meeting. He went on to say, “It is a pleasure for me to participate in the KWN’s meeting and, at the same time, I would like to express my congratulations for the wonderful work they have done to fight for the rights of girls and women of Kosovo.” In addition, Chlad mentioned the contributions made by the European Union Office in Kosovo to support the rights of women, increase awareness of gender equality, and open new jobs and opportunities for self-employment for women. Chlad concluded by confirming that the EU, represented by the European Union Office in Kosovo, will continue to support the initiatives of the KWN given their many successes during the past year.
Afterwards, Arsim Aziri, Program Manager and Chief of Administration in Austrian Development Agency (ADA) in Kosovo, spoke about how ADA’s cooperation with KWN started and continued over the years. She also promised further cooperation to increase and strengthen the position of women in Kosovo.
Later on, Ms. Yllka Soba, Program Officer in Kosovo of the Swedish organization Kvinna till Kvinna took the floor, “We are honored to be supporters of this organization, considering the extraordinarily important work they have done over these years toward the enhancement of the rights of women and girls in Kosovo.” She shared an inspiring story that had happened during a regional meeting organized by the Network this past year. During the break of the regional meeting, a young girl, more specifically Zana Hoxha Krasniqi’s, a participant’s, daughter responded that she wanted to be president when someone asked her what she wanted to be when she grows up. Ms. Soba shared this story to emphasize the tremendous role that the KWN played in securing a woman for president and the influence that this success has had on young girls
In addition, KWN staff members summarized the work that they were individually responsible for during the past year.
Mimoza Paquku, Kosovo Women’s Fund Manager, shared information about the Fund, telling that, “This year, through the Kosovo Women’s Fund, the KWN allocated 20 grants, of which nine grants in Partnership for Change (up to 8,000 €) were allocated to 18 organizations that worked in partnership and 11 grants for Individual Advocacy (up to 3,000 €) were allocated to the organizations individually. The grants in Partnership for Change have increased the cooperation among member organizations, making it possible for the organizations of various regions of Kosovo to join forces and strengthen their initiatives by advocating together.” For further details on the Fund, please click here.
Donjeta Morina, Capacity Development Coordinator, emphasized, “In 2015, the KWN has witnessed some very important moments and successes in regards the GRB.” It is because of the advocacy and monitoring of KWN during this past year that the following changes were made in policies and documents:
- Ministry of Finance included references, paragraphs, and specific tables in its Budget Circular 2016/2 for Central Level Budget Organizations. The Central Level Budget Organizations are encouraged to include the GRB in their budget documents.
- Ministry of Finance has similarly included references, paragraphs, and specific tables in its Budget Circular 2016/2 for Local Level Budget Organizations.
- Municipality of Kamenica has integrated the GRB in its Middle-Term Budget Framework and has the most gender responsible document of all the municipalities of the Republic of Kosovo.
- Since July 2015, the GRB constitutes a legal obligation, because the KWN advocacy has contributed to it being part of the new Law no. 05/L-020 on Gender Equality.
- Municipality of Kamenica has integrated the GRB in its Budget Document for 2016, thus becoming one of the first municipalities in Kosovo to include the data categorized by gender as an annex to its annual budget.
- Municipality of Gjakova integrated the GRB in its annual budget document for 2016, thus becoming one of the first municipalities in Kosovo to include the data categorized by gender as an annex to its annual budget.
- Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology included its data categorized by gender in its annual budget, which it sent to the Ministry of Finance.
The KWN has also published the research report “Budgeting for Social Welfare,”related to gender responsibility of services and expenditures of the MLSW in two economic categories: salaries and wages and subsidies and transfers. The report includes recommendations that aim to support the MLSW in planning the middle-term expenditures in a more sensible manner with a gender perspective. Click here to read the full report.
In 2015, the KWN reached a record in regards to the number of political processes and policies in which the KWN has advocated for the priorities of women. The KWN has participated in a number of governmental working groups and has provided comments on laws and policies that will affect the lives of women and girls. The KWN has supported the inclusion of a gender perspective by analyzing the drafts of approximately 30 public policies (laws, administrative instructions, strategies, and action plans) from a gender perspective and assessing the potential influence they might have on men, women, girls, and boys.
Elizabeta Murati, Project Assistant informed members of the meeting “the KWN has cooperated with the Kosovo Institute for Public Administration (KIPA), Agency on Gender Equality, and GIZ Legal Reform Program, in order to hold meetings with women and men from the political realm in seven municipalities (Gjakova, Skënderaj, Drenas, Deçan, Peja, Rahovec, and Mamusha). The KWN briefly introduced the new legal framework for gender equality and discussed the challenges that officials have faced in implementing the legal framework up to date. Examples of such experiences will be used to extract information for case studies and for designing the new KIPA curriculum for gender equality in 2016. The new KIPA curriculum for civil servants, namely for gender equality officials, will improve the capacities of women and men to consider women’s priorities in the future.”
Adelina Berisha, Research Assistant, informed the present participants of the content of one of the most recent research reports from the KWN on domestic violence, entitled, “No more Excuses – An Analysis of Attitudes, Incidence and Institutional Responses to Domestic Violence.” The full version of the report can be located here. She also informed participants that in 2015, the KWN conducted Kosovo’s first national wide research on various forms of sexual harassment in various locations, as well as the self-awareness and attitudes of citizens towards sexual harassment. This research included a sample of 1,315 women and men, and interviews with representatives of approximately 200 institutions. The KWN is finalizing the report, and it will be published in early 2016. It will serve as a basis for an awareness raising campaign for this issue.
Gresa Rrahmani, Research Assistant, notified the present participants that “Based on an official request from Mr. Arban Abrashi, the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, the KWN conducted research in order to inform the new Labour Law with fact-based data related to themes that include gender discrimination at the workplace, especially in regards to maternity and paternity leave. The KWN has conducted 400 interviews with a randomly selected sample of employers. The KWN has also surveyed 1,301 women and 374 men. The KWN did not find funds for this initiative and it was dependent on the contributions of citizens and volunteers to conduct this important research. Most of the work was done thanks to the additional, after-hours dedication of the KWN staff members and hard-working volunteers and interns. The KWN presented the initial findings of this research at the Social-Economic Council of Kosovo (SEC), and it will soon send the written policy recommendations to the Ministry. The KWN plans to publish the recommendations and make them publicly available at the beginning of 2016.”
The meeting concluded with an opportunity for the present participants to openly discuss the KWN Annual Report and share information among the KWN members and partners.
The European Union Office in Kosovo financially supported this meeting.