The joint EU-UN Women-UNDP project on “Enhancing Women’s Participation in Peacebuilding and Post-Conflict Planning in Liberia, Timor-Leste, and Kosovo (under UN Security Council Resolution 1244)” supports post-conflict locations to consolidate the recovery and stabilization gains made over the past few years. In these countries, women and girls still face significant challenges to benefit equally from security and justice and to participate in the public sphere and peacebuilding processes. Read the story of Elvanë who tells us how much economic empowerment is key to women in post-conflict settings.
Elvanë Qorri is from the city of Gjakova in western Kosovo and part of the Ashkali minority. She is starting her own beekeeping business: She bought 6 beehives and awaits spring to come so she can start making honey. Qorri wants to produce high quality food with honey and she has been working on her business concept for a few months. She says that although she has nurtured the idea to start a business for a long time, she only began after participation at a training supported through the joint EU-UN Women-UNDP project on “Enhancing Women’s Participation in Peacebuilding and Post-Conflict Planning in Kosovo” and organized by two local NGOs; the Network of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Women’s Organizations in Kosovo (NRAEWOK) in cooperation with the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI Kosovo). The main objective of the ECMI and NRAEWOK project was economic empowerment of women from the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities in Kosovo, as a tool to prevent gender-based violence, especially by making women less dependent on their families and husbands.
Assisting women from marginalized communities
As one of the women beneficiaries of this project, Qorri gets assistance from experienced and trained beekeepers. “Since I am just starting my business, I need the support of professional beekeepers,” she says. “I would suggest to women to think of starting a business of their own so that they don’t remain financially dependent on their families, husbands. If we stick to this, then gender-based violence gets eliminated,” Qorri adds. She stresses that Kosovo’s economy needs the contribution of women from all minority groups in Kosovo including the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities.
Qorri says that men need to see and understand what the other gender has to offer. “Personally I don’t have any problems because I have support from my family and friends, but very often I can see it in people’s faces that they think for a woman it is very hard to develop a business, especially beekeeping,” adds Qorri.
Health issues, family obligations and lack of identification documents have been identified as the main reasons preventing the unemployed women among the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities to access the job market in Kosovo, as reported in the document “Promoting the Economic Empowerment of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Women in Kosovo” drafted by NRAEWOK and ECMI Kosovo as part of the project.
Other civil society projects supported by the joint EU-UN Women-UNDP project aimed at increasing minority women’s participation in local governance, inter-ethnic cooperation, transitional justice and raising women’s awareness on gender equality and women’s human rights, as well as monitoring court proceedings in cases related to women’s inheritance rights.
“The joint work of the EU and the UN in supporting women’s leadership at all levels and participation of women in peacebuilding and post-conflict planning is of utmost importance,” said Flora Macula, Head of UN Women Office in Kosovo. Besides its support to the civil society, the joint project also supports other key stakeholders such as Members of Parliament and governmental institutions. The project has been providing technical support to the government in the development and implementation of the Action Plan to implement UNSC Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
 Kosovo in all subsequent references.