ECMI conducted a new round of trainings in Kosovo. This time, our team visited the municipalities of Prizren and Ferizaj to meet local actors on Roma issues. The trainings were designed for the municipal officials and focus on the Action Plan for the Inclusion of Roma and Ashkhali Communities. How do the local actors organize their work to efficiently implement the Action Plan in their local realities? What are the most important indicators? How do we collect relevant data and engage the communities? What are the practices from Schleswig-Holstein? These were the main points of discussions during the two-day trainings in the both municipalities.
The action plan for 2017-2021 focuses on the areas of education, labor and social affairs, health, and housing. In each priority area the plan specifies the relevant objectives and existing challenges, and suggests a selection of activities to achieve the set objectives. One crucial element within each priority is raising awareness among the local Roma communities on specific issues such as the importance of registrations and schooling, and family planning. In addition to the difficulties involved in coming to an agreement and adopting the Action Plans in local municipalities, the actors face challenges in implementing the activities, primarily connected to a lack of capacity, engagement and finances.
During the training the participants were introduced to the practices from Schleswig-Holstein on monitoring and implementation of national and regional action plans. Ms. Linda Pieper presented the specific measures implemented in Schleswig-Holstein in all four priority areas and spoke about social services such as school mediators, flexible transition periods at schools, career entry supports, and quotas for public offices.
Ms. Pieper highlighted that she is a part of the initiative not with the aim to compare these two countries (Germany and Kosovo) but rather to present examples of strategies and methods that can successfully implemented, using the case of Schleswig-Holstein. She also outlined the primary approach of Schleswig-Holstein to minority issues: “It is crucial for us to work not for minorities but with them, as equal partners.”
For the next project activity, the team will gather in November for public events in Ferizaj and Prizren, engaging representatives of national government as well as local actors.
The project is implemented by the ECMI Flensburg and the ECMI Kosovo in cooperation with the GIZ and the Schleswig-Holstein State Chancellery, as a follow up of the project on Minorities in Western Balkans (2016). As a follow-up of the 2016 project, the ECMI and the FUEN are currently implementing various projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia.
Read more about the project here