Claudia Zambra (Kosovo)

Claudia Zambra (Kosova Women’s Network – KWN): Claudia was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. She earned her B.A. in Political Science from Swarthmore College, where she focused on development in Latin America and the Balkans. After graduating, Claudia worked for the Law Offices of Bagia and Morley in Philadelphia, preparing asylum cases. In 2002, As part of a summer job, Claudia helped to produce a website for Globovision, the largest news channel in Latin America. At the time of her fellowship, Claudia was pursuing a Master of Science in Foreign Service at Georgetown University. After her fellowship, Claudia herself concluded that she had only partly achieved her objective: “The website was updated and new material was posted. I was also able to redesign some parts of the website and tailor it more to the needs of the organization, plus I attempted to make it more dynamic by adding a highlights section and making an actual home page for the website. However, only about half of the organizations were profiled. The biggest problem was gathering the information. Most members of the organization do not speak English well enough to sit through an interview. I was dependent on my trainee for translation, but she was frequently absent.” This suggested to Claudia that while the idea of a network is appealing, it can take a lot of hard work, skill and resources to coordinate a diverse group of organizations. Her recommendation? “The network needs to have at least one staff member to take care of the website, coordinate activities and meetings, act as translator if necessary, and serve as a contact person for the KWN. Another Advocacy Project intern could help train this staff member in all necessary areas, including website maintenance.”

Rethinking First Impressions

16 Jun

First impressions can change, especially when they result from two-day trips and jetlag. Pristina itself is quite different from any other city I’ve ever visited…it is also quite different from the road that leads to it from the airport. Located atop and between soft hills, it displays a varied architectural style. There is a lot of construction in the outskirts as the city attempts to accommodate its new inhabitants – its population tripled from 200,000 to 600,000 after the war. The new buildings are for the most part a step up from the old in aesthetic terms. Bars, pubs, and coffee shops are common; coffee shop hopping is the practice.

I spent Saturday with Alba, who I will be training for the next two months. Like all the other women I’ve met here, she’s very pro-active in advocating for women’s rights. She tells me that there are few, if any, women in Kosova who can perform the job that she will soon take on; that is, few women work in the technology sector on web page design. Apparently, the women I’ve met thus far are not representative of the majority. Most women do not attend the university; most get married at a young age and tend to their homes. This would explain the fact that everywhere you go, there are men and few women. Coffee shops and bars are full of men who sit around most of the day in groups and chat as they have a drink. After viewing this strange phenomenon for days without much of an explanation, it was cleared up for me while visiting the town of Prizren.

Prizren is a spectacular little town located southwest of Pristina. There were so many people on the street at night I was convinced there was a festival of sorts. I was informed that Prizren is always like that on weekend nights…everyone leaves the house and walks along the cobblestone streets in search of a nice cafй, or simply to spend time outdoors. Once again, the numbers of men walking the streets and sitting next to us in the cafй struck me. A young man from Albania in our group asked me what I would be doing in Kosova. When I informed him I would be interning at the Kosova Women’s Network, he gave me a sympathetic smile and nod and told me that I had a tough job ahead of me…changing the role of women in this society appears to be quite a challenge, especially in rural areas and small towns.

Posted By Claudia Zambra (Kosovo)

Posted Jun 16th, 2003

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