On 4 Feb. in Prishtina, the Kosovo’s Women Network (KWN) held its first membership meeting for 2019, attended by approximately 66 representatives of KWN’s member organizations, the Kosovo Lobby for Gender Equality (KLGE), Kosovo institutions and other supporters of KWN’s mission and work.
The two-hour, proactive discussion was opened by KWN Executive Director, Igballe Rogova, who said that the implementation of KWN’s Strategy is off to a good start this year. She added that the year of 2019 is dedicated to solidarity among women, especially among women in civil society and in politics at both central and local levels, as well as with women voters.
She explained the importance of this solidarity and the necessity of getting back out ‘in the field’.
“We are in an era of solidarity with women in politics,” Rogova said. “I think that all of us need to go back to field work. I know that we have been locked a little bit in our offices. We need to get out of our offices because there are girls and women who expect us to knock on their doors,” she continued.
In this regard, Rogova mentioned the importance of two recently started initiatives; a four-year Action entitled “Strengthening Women’s Participation in Politics”, supported by the European Union office in Kosovo and a UN Women-funded initiative towards ending violence against girls and women through cooperation with the Ombudsperson Institution. Both new initiatives will support KWN and its member organizations in making strides towards implementing the KWN Strategy for 2019-2022.
Rogova stated that like any other KWN project, accountability and transparency can be tracked for these initiatives as well, with every cent spent being published on KWN’s website.
Adelina Tershani, KWN Project Coordinator, said that the main goal of the new UN Women-supported initiative is to empower girls and women by informing them about the proper ways to seek justice and the appropriate steps from institutions responsible for addressing gender-based violence.
“As we have observed, these cases of violence mostly happen among relatives,” Tershani said. “We intend to inform [people] and increase awareness on how to report a case to responsible institutions: the police, Ombudsperson and other relevant institutions.”Participants appreciated KWN’s support. They also shared their concerns and information related to anticipated activities this year.
Selvije Rexhepi, recently appointed Vice-chair of the Municipality of Kllokot, underlined that without KWN’s and KLGE support she could not achieve to secure this important public post.
From the Organisation of Persons with Muscular Dystrophy of Kosovo (OPMDK) Resmije Rrahmani raised the importance of supporting people different physical abilities.
“Every organization needs to solidarize with women with disabilities,” she said. “We do not enjoy the needed support. Maybe it’s hesitation, or maybe it’s because of the lack of information. We need more support because we all have some special needs,” said Rahmani.
While showing support for women with disabilities, Rogova added that women need to support each other more also in public discourse.
“We need to support each other publicly, also in the field of work, and especially to work with women voters,” said Rogova.
It’s time to leave behind envy and jealousy, she added.
“It is time to show the men who are saying that women only have disputes, to show them that we can cooperate” she continued. We have one purpose: to go together where we want to go, to achieve gender equality in Kosovo. We have achieved changes in Kosovo,” Rogova added.
Luljeta Limani Sylejmani from the Kosovo Women’s Police Association explained that they observed the need for networking in order to seek their rights that are already guaranteed by law, but are not being implemented.
“Our purpose is to increase the number of girls and women in police,” she said. “With the initiative of the Association we have achieved to have a 30% quota for the representation of … women in this institution,” she stated.
Adelina Berisha who is participating on behalf of KWN in organizing the upcoming annual Marshojme, s’festojme march (“We march, we don’t celebrate”) taking place on 8 Mar., International Women’s Day, informed participants about the regular planning meetings and that this year’s theme is women’s right to employment. She encouraged members to organise similar activities in their municipalities like last year. She also encouraged members to take part in the annual event “One Billion Rising”, on 14 Feb., organised by Artpolis.
Members also shared information about activities in their municipalities, such as Mitrovica and Obiliq.
In the end, participants decided that the next KLGE meeting will be on 11 Feb., the next Coalition for Equality meeting in Mar. and the next KWN meeting the first week of Apr., which will involve an all day, creative meeting on a Sat.
KWN will share information about all upcoming events.
This meeting was organized with support from the Austrian Development Agency, while KWN staff members funded by the European Union Office in Kosovo, UN Women and Kvinna till Kvinna also attended.