Project title: FIECR - Fostering Inter-Ethnic Cooperation and Reconciliation
Implementing partner: New Social Initiative (NSI)
Donor: Stability Pact Fund of the German Federal Foreign Office.
Duration: 18-months (August 2022 – February 2024)
Through this project KCSS and NSI will actively engage at the community level to promote development cooperation between majority and non-majority ethnic groups in Kosovo through a tailor-made activity that support capacity building, advocacy and provide technical assistance to enable cooperation between communities on developmental issues. The overall objective of the project is to foster inter-ethnic cooperation in Kosovo by opening up space for mutual trust-building interactions, creating opportunities to jointly identify/address common challenges, and collaborate for community solutions. The project has three components:
Research and Analysis - The goal of the first component of research and analysis is to provide a thorough understanding of how citizens and community leaders perceive inter-ethnic relations in their community and which opportunities and obstacles are identified in the field of cooperation. The results of the first component will identify concretely how particular aspects of the past and the war prevent Kosovar Albanians and Serbs from working together, as well as points out what concrete potential of development remains untapped as a result of lack of inter-ethnic cooperation. The research and analysis will also identify capacity gaps in the public institutions, civil society and at the community level that make it more difficult to promote inter-ethnic cooperation. The research and analysis will be accompanied and supported by external academic advisers, in the form of reviews of research activities and workshops on quantitative and qualitative research methods and research ethics. Furthermore, data handling will be based on a data management plan.
Capacity Building Development and Training - The goal of the second component is to provide direct support to rectify the capacity gaps and develop the necessary skills and know-how among non-government organizations, public institutions, community leaders, private sector and business community. This will be done through training, mentoring and on the job-coaching which will improve the soft skills of the citizens to help them to move forward with economic and start up initiatives which will support them in their project development ideas.
Advocacy and engagement - The goal of the third component is to directly support inter-ethnic cooperation through engagement at the community level (grassroots). The main focus of this component will be to increase civic activism of the targeted community and municipalities and doing activism for the community's joint interests such as: protecting their basic community rights, protecting environment, tackling domestic violence, improving the rule of law, increasing economic opportunities and overall improving their quality life for all communities in Kosovo. Respectively, the goal is to eventually transform some of the key identified research findings into a common cause that needs to be addressed regardless of the ethnicity. In the past there have been some ad-hoc examples of activism where K-Albanians and K-Serbs have been engaged in a common cause, most notable being the relatively recent protests in Strpca/Shtërpce municipality involving local citizens and environmental activists from both communities against building of new hydro-plants. KCSS identified - through its activities - a wider spectrum of similar safety related challenges to both communities such: domestic violence; gender discrimination; crime prevention, natural threats (floodings, wildfires, earthquakes, avalanches and eventually critical infrastructure incidents), environmental protection, immigration of youth, brain-drain; organized crime and the violent extremism to name just a few. The main result of this component will be the creation of the Community Forum for Cooperation on Issues of Public Interest which will serve as a mechanism which triggers such activism. The Forum will Initially be focused up to six most ethnically diversified and divided municipalities, with the tendency to extend in all municipalities that face inter-ethnic integration challenges.