Nicole Slezak

Nicole Slezak (Kosovo Women’s Network): Nicole received her BA in communication studies and political science from the University of California, Los Angeles In 2007. During this time she studied abroad in the Czech Republic on a National Security Education Program scholarship. At the time of her fellowship, Nicole was studying for a Master’s Degree in Security Studies with a focus on International Security at Georgetown University.

Obstacles Civil Society Groups Face in Kosova

22 Aug

As a civil society group in Kosova it is hard to gain and maintain ground among the myriad of government and international agencies. Local groups must constantly battle various roadblocks—the first and foremost for a Non-governmental Organization (NGO) being funding. NGOs (especially smaller ones) need funding in order to execute their programs and research projects. Project proposals are written each year, formulated to the donor foundation’s specifications and to fulfill their overall objectives. Various NGOs battle each other for funding and compete in terms of creativity in order to win the donor contract. Therefore, NGOs are perpetually scrambling to obtain funding for their projects. This is tough—but it is the essence of NGO sustenance.
Secondly, civil society groups, including KWN, face obstacles from various groups in power. Often the ability of civil society to participate and contribute to national plans depends immensely on the people and personalities in the government. These range from the power-hungry and exclusive—who do not invite civil society to partake—to those who are inclusive and wish to obtain all relevant viewpoints on a subject.
For example, the Kosovar government (in connection with the United Nations Development Program UNDP, OSCE and other international organizations) has been drafting a National Action Plan against Trafficking in Human Persons since the old National Action Plan expired in 2007. Last year a few large organizations were invited to participate in the drafting conference, while KWN and other civil society groups were excluded. The result was a plan without strong implementation methods or preventative measures, and large portions focused solely on awareness raising. The plan was not passed and this summer groups met once again to draft an appropriate and effective National Action Plan against Trafficking in Human Persons.
This summer KWN was invited to participate and its recommendations were included in the National Action Plan. KWN is very pleased with this breakthrough and the inclusion of viewpoints from within Kosova’s civil society. KWN is working closely with the Agency for Gender Equality and the Women’s Safety and Security Initiative (WSSI) on the issue of human trafficking and development of the Anti-Trafficking Plan. The continued inclusion of KWN and civil society can provide significant contributions to the development of laws and action plans. Hence, if government and international agencies in Kosova can recognize that groups like KWN have much to contribute, and are included rather than excluded from decision-making, it will be a large step toward the well-being of Kosovar society as a whole.

Posted By Nicole Slezak

Posted Aug 22nd, 2007

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