Yesterday, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the European Centre for Minority Issues Kosovo took the opportunity to announce a new project. The project, Empowering Communities in Kosovo against Gender-based Violence, will be funded by the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.
According to the Bulletin, the following activities are defined for or foreseen within the project:
- ECMI Kosovo will train, engage and support seven local minority female activists as community based paralegals.
- ECMI Kosovo will make available skills training and professional coaching for women.
- ECMI Kosovo foresees the organization of continuous awareness raising activities, including
- conduct of home visits by the paralegals,
- organization of discussion workshops with minority men,
- development and implementation of a school based teaching program on women’s rights.
Minority women face double discrimination
In Kosovo, women belonging to minority communities suffer from de facto double discrimination, as their socio-economic, political and cultural marginalization is worsened by an endemic gender divide.
This is explained in the ECMI Kosovo Bulletin, also the source of the following background information on the new ECMI Kosovo project:
Statistics show the high prevalence of domestic violence affecting minority communities in Kosovo, highlighting their particularly vulnerable condition.
However the issue of domestic violence is largely ignored, among others due to the absence of a sufficient number of shelters and the lack of NGOs operating in the sector.
Although Kosovo has a legal framework aimed at fostering gender equality and preventing discrimination, its implementation remains inadequate.
The reasons are to be found in:
- the lack of awareness on women’s rights, gender equality and mechanisms against gender based violence
- the lack of capacity of community members to effectively provide immediate support and benefit from existing services
- the lack of community based coping mechanisms.