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List: KWN-News

[KWN-Voices] Issue 5 - English

kwn-news at alb-net.com kwn-news at alb-net.com
Tue May 6 18:39:27 EDT 2003


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KWN VOICES: Your link to the Women of Kosova
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Issue 5 - May 6, 2003
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IN THIS ISSUE:

* Editorial: A Cautionary Tale from Kosovar Women to the Women in
Post-War Iraq

* Network News
First KWN meeting for 2003
Institutional Development
Strategic Planning
Collaboration with Other Institutions
Capacity Building of NGO Members of the Network
New Programs from KWN Members

* About KWN Voices

*

FROM THE EDITORIAL DESK

A cautionary tale from Kosovar women to women in post-war Iraq

This newsletter is being released as another war comes to an end, the
war in Iraq. It is clear by now that the dictatorship of Saddam
Hussein vanished under the heavy bombing of the American and British
forces. Many rejoiced the day when a government that persecuted and
discriminated against its own people disappeared. The big question is
what comes next. To us as women's rights activists, the big concern is
what will happen to women in a post-war Iraq.  And, as women's groups
that work in a post-conflict area, run mainly by a United Nations (UN)
administration, we have a very complex story to tell to the women of
Iraq.

Kosovar women started organizing in the early 1990's and worked very
closely with the local parallel government that resisted the
persecution of the Kosovar Albanian population by the authoritarian
regime of Slobodan Milosevic. When war started in ex-Yugoslavia, we
became part of the regional women's networks that raised their voices
against the war and provided help to women and refugees in those very
hard times.  When the war came to Kosova, women's rights activists
became refugees themselves, but never stopped working with women and
for women, this time in refugee camps in Macedonia and Albania.

We greeted joyfully the decision that put Kosova under a UN
administration. The UN was to us the revered international
organization that developed and passed key documents that stipulated
women's rights and promoted their integration in all levels of
decision-making. But, when we returned home we were, unfortunately,
disappointed by the UN Mission in Kosova (UNMIK).   We were eager to
work with the international agencies in developing effective
strategies for responding to the pressing needs of Kosovar women, but
most of those agencies did not recognize that we existed and often
refused to hear what we had to say on decisions that affected our
lives and our future. Some of the international staff came to Kosova
thinking that this is an extremely patriarchal society where no women'
s movement can flourish.  And there were those who wanted us to do all
the groundwork for them: find staff and offices, set up meetings and
provide translations, but were not interested in listening to us and
acknowledging our expertise.  They had their own plans and their
ready-made programs that they had tried in other countries and did not
want to change their plans to respond to the reality of our lives.

Instead of dedicating all our energy to helping women and their
families put together lives shattered by war, we expended effort in
fighting to be heard and in proving to UNMIK that we knew what was
best for us, that women in Kosova were not just victims waiting to be
helped - they could help themselves, as they did in the past, and they
could be key and effective actors in building their own future.

But we did not give up. We raised our voice. We met with UN officials,
wrote letters, went to meetings to present our ideas, knowledge and
expertise, we talked to donors and built alliances with those
international organizations in Kosova and abroad that genuinely saw
and related to us as partners in the common efforts to advance women's
cause in our country. This is part of an on-going multi-layered
struggle that women's groups in Kosova have been engaged in during the
last four years, a struggle to be part of the decision-making process
from day one, a struggle to get better organized and become more
effective, a struggle to take the place we deserve in shaping our life
and the future of our society.

We encourage women in Iraq to organize, raise their voice and be part
of the rebuilding of their country.

We saw how the international media portrayed the women of Iraq. They
showed only women with a black scarf .  They had no voice in the
media, like they are not part of Iraq. The same happened with the
image of Kosovar women during the war. International media didn't show
intellectual women on TV.  As if they didn't exist.

We know there are strong, organized, intellectual women in Iraq as
there were strong, organized, intellectual women in Kosova or in any
other country in the world.

We, Kosovar women don't support a US military administration in post
war Iraq. But if the UN takes on civic administration in Iraq, its
time they change the principle of their work and concentrate the work
in cooperating with local experts, giving space and recognition also
to the women's local NGOs

Prepared by Igo Rogova
Board Chair
Kosova Women's Network
April, 2003

*

NETWORK NEWS - January- March 2003

The beginning of 2003 was filled with Kosovar women's activities. Many
of women's organizations and institutions that focus their activities
on gender issues, began new projects or continued with the ones from
the previous year. The general atmosphere that can be felt, is less of
a support from donors. This fact makes the effort and activities for
advancing position of women and girls more difficult. Some of the
events that marked the first trimester of the year 2003 are, as
follows:

* New Board of the Kosova Womens Network was founded.

* Businesswomen's Network organized a promotion of the network and it'
s projects in Gjakova, Peja and Gjilan.

* Report from the conference 'Women and Economy' was promoted. This
conference was organized form 'STAR Network' in cooperation with
Kosova Women's Network (KWN). Report contains very important
information's related to economical empowerment of women in Kosova/o.
The report was prepared by a working group, most of the members of the
working group were Kosovar women.

* 30 lawyers, women and men, finished the course 'Gender and
legislation'. The second round of this training is underway.
Participants in this training are lawyers, representatives of NGOs,
Ministries, Municipal Government and  Kosovar Parliament.

* Committees for Gender Equality with the Municipal Government were
founded in Mitrovica and Vushtri.

* 30 Officers for Gender Equality were elected and started to work in
different municipalities. These officers will cooperate closely with
municipal authorities and local women's NGOs, in addressing problems
and issues from gender perspective.

* Results of the project 'Integration of gender issues in municipal
structures and practices', was presented. During the presentation
presidents of municipalities with women's NGOs, reflected on some of
the achievements of this project, regarding inter sectorial
cooperation and forming of committies for gender equality.

* Kosovar Network of Serbian Women's NGOs was founded.

* OSCEs publication 'Standards and mechanisms for achieving gender
equality in democratic countries' was promoted.

* March the 8th, International Women's Day, was celebrated with a
range of activities like: round tables, presentations, cultural and
sport activities, and festive evening events, like the evening
celebration in hotel 'Palace' in Mitrovica, where 400 women were
present.

FIRST KWN MEETING FOR 2003

First meeting of the Kosovar Women's Network (KWN) for the year
2003,was held on March 3. Representatives of more than 36 women's NGOs
from throughout Kosova participated in this meeting. The meeting was
moderated by Igballe Rogova and Nora Spahiu.

Institutional development of KWN

The new Board of the Network was introduced in this meeting.
Reelection of the board was necessary in order to raise and improve
efficiency of the leading structures of the Network. Members of the
Board were elected following the proposals of Network members. Members
of KWN Board are, as follows:

Naxhije Bucinca - Coordinator of the Group of Veterans of Education
Luljeta Vuniqi - Coordinator of Women's Program - Kosova Fund for an
Open Society
Flora Macula - Program Manager, UNIFEM
Delina Fico - Training Consultant, Kosovar NGO Advocacy Project
Hasnije Ilazi - Program director, Kosovar Foundation For Civil Society
Vjosa Dobruna - High Consultant, Program for Women in Leadership 'Hope
Fellowship'.
Igballe Rogova - Co-director of women's association 'Motrat Qiriazi' .
Tina Grazhdani - Program director, USAID
Nora Spahiu - Program manager, Canadian Agency for Development KLIP.

The new Board is engaged and determined to play an important role in
the process of strategic development and institutional strengthening
of KWN.

Igballe Rogova informed the present participants on the first meeting
of the new board held on February 6 2003, conclusions of this meeting
were to finalize registration of the Network as an NGO. On March 3,
the status of KWN was prepared, according to the applicable laws and
suggestions from the Board members. Documentation is being prepared
for submission to the NGO Registration Office.

Future steps for institutional strengthening of KWN will include
opening a Network office in Prishtina and creating a position of
Network coordinator. Board is preparing a job description for this
position, which will enable exchange of information's between members
of the Network and other organization in Kosova and abroad. The next
plan in this direction will be creating an electronic Bulletin which
will be distributed to Network members.

An intern from The Advocacy Project will work with the KWN during the
summer of 2003.  Claudia Zambra, a master's student at Georgetown
University, will work with the KWN to update their website, prepare
new editions of the KWN newsletter and work with KWN members on
promotional materials for their campaigns.

Strategic planning for KWN activities

Participants in the meeting agreed to organize a workshop for
strategic development of the KWN. This workshop will set the strategic
priorities for Network activities during the year 2003-2004 in
accordance with the previous Network activities, current needs in the
field of gender issues and also in harmony with the other programs and
networks that work in these issues. This strategic planning will
enforce the role of KWN as a forum for exchange of ideas, information,
experience and mechanisms for advancing interests of women and girls
in Kosova/o.The workshop was decided to be organized on March 14 in
the Center for Humanitarian Information in Prishtina.

Cooperation with other institutions

Lule Vuniqi informed participants that she, in the name of the
Network, has supported realization of the play 'Vagina Monologues', a
well known theater play that lay at the heart of  a world wide
campaign for fighting violence against women. A concern expressed by
the board of KWN was, will this play organized by the alternative
theatre 'Oda' and financed by Soros Foundation, convey rightfully the
powerful messages of the author of this play, Eve Ensler. Two of the
KWN Board members expressed this concern to the organizers of the
play, their idea was that the play should be in accordance with the
social and artistic ideas of the author. The play was held on March 1,
directors of the play were two men, a new experience with this play.

Capacity building of the NGO-s members of the Network

Participants were informed that Humanitarian Information Center,
supported by Danish donors will organize a series of trainings for
computer and Internet use and the creation of web pages. Members or
volunteers that work with NGO members of the KWN, will have the
opportunity to be trained in two Kosovar towns, Gjakova and Prishtina.
Two KWN members volunteered to be contact persons in organizing these
trainings, they are : Dea Pallaska (Prishtine, deapallaska at yahoo.com)
and Valentina Bejtullahu (Gjakove, bejtullahu at hotmail.com)

Presentation of new programs with interest for women and girls

Dea Pallaska, representative of the International Organization for
Protection of People with Mental Disabilities (MDRI), informed
participants that this organization has started a program in Kosova.
MDRI published last year a report on violation of the rights of people
with mental disabilities (see www.mdri.org). MDRI has concluded that
there are many cases of violation of the rights of people with mental
disabilities. The two year program of this organization aims to change
this situation, through support for self organizing of people with
mental disabilities, through building their capacity and advocating
for their rights. Ms Pallaska invited all member groups of KWN to
cooperate with MDRI.

Exchange of information between NGOs and members of KWN

BUJANOC: Two members of women's group 'Arta' from Bujanoc participated
in this meeting. They presented their group and emphasized that the
lack of communication between women's groups from their region and
Kosovar women's groups, is a significant problem, they also requested
to be informed for trainings, programs and other activities related to
gender issues.

PEJA: Lumnije Decani, director of the Centre for Women's Wellness
Center in Peja, informed participants about the safe house inPeja,
which started functioning in October 2003.This safe house was opened
with the support of donors and municipal authorities.

FERIZAJ: Xhyslym Lamagjema, Officer for Gender Issues in Ferizaj,
informed participants that opening of a safe house in Ferizaj was
approved. She asked from NGOs in Peja and Gjakova, who have experience
in managing safe houses, to support them and offer information and
contacts related to these issues.

POLICE SCHOOL: Bukurije Hyseni, employee in Police School in Vushtrri,
informed participants that a special group which will be trained to
protected victims of violence, will be formed. This group will be like
a special institution in the Police Service. They will have permanent
contact with safe houses in all centers of Kosova.

OSCE: Representatives of the Department for Democratization of OSCE,
informed all present that the book 'Standards and mechanisms for
gender equality in democratic countries' will be promoted in OSCE
Headquarters', on May 6.The book is published in Albanian and Serbian
and it presents examples of mechanisms which work in  ensuring gender
equality in politics, government and civil society.

PRIZREN: Marta Prekpalaj from 'Motrat Qiriazi', the branch in Prizren,
informed participants that women's groups from Prizren which are very
active, will delegate representative to participate regularly in the
meetings of KWN, to share information on the activities of women's
groups form Prizren and vice versa. She also informed present, that
women from the village Kursha e Vogel, have formed the 'Women Farmers
of Krusha e Vogel', they will work in collecting the milk and selling
it to the milk factory in Prizren.

PRISHTINA: Lule Vuniqi also informed that with Kosova Open Society
Foundation support, Kosovar Center for Gender Studies, started to
work. This center will be of service to all Kosovar women's NGOs and
will help in including gender perspective in all aspects of life in
Kosova.

*
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About the KWN Voices
----------------
KWN Voices is published by the Kosova Women's Network (KWN). The KWN
is made up of over 32 women's groups from throughout Kosova. We hope
that you find the information we disseminate of value and that when we
make a call for action we can count on your support.  Please forward
this newsletter to others and encourage them to join.

TO SUBSCRIBE: send an e-mail to kwn-news-request at alb-net.com with only
the word 'subscribe' in the body of the message or visit
http://www.alb-net.com/mailman/listinfo/kwn-news

Inquiries and submissions can be sent to info at womensnetwork.org.  Back
issues of the newsletter can be found at http://www.womensnetwork.org.

Editorial Board:
Igo Rogova, Motrat Qiriazi
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