Advocacy Bootcamp in Kosovo boosts communications skills and networking potentialUN Women organized an “Advocacy Bootcamp” for 30 young women to create connections for future networking and sharpen their advocacy skills through training, inspirational lectures and peer learning.
An ‘Advocacy Bootcamp’ for young women from different backgrounds, ethnic communities and municipalities of Kosovo honed their skills to become change-makers and better communicators on issues affecting their lives. During two consecutive weekends in August, 30 women received hands-on training, and learned skills and strategies to advocate for their needs and influence decision-makers. Participants were shown approaches to effective communications, public speaking, and proposal writing. Video analysis of presentations were used to sharpen their communications techniques.
The interactive sessions, facilitated by a range of trainers, helped boost participants’ confidence so they can more comfortably advocate for a wide range of issues relevant to young people and women who face gender and age biases. The intensive weekends also provided opportunity to network with other advocates and build alliances for future advocacy initiatives.
“Participation in this camp helped me strengthen my skills and develop new ones, particularly in public speaking and critical thinking. The lectures helped me understand the crucial importance of young women’s participation in decision-making,“ said Milena Lazarevic, who took part in the camp.
Experts and practitioners from the Youth Initiative for Human Rights from Pristina, and the NGO, Aktiv, from Mitrovica North, held conversational-style sessions that offered insights into effective activism from different perspectives. They shared their first-hand activism experiences and encouraged the women to be involved participants in society.
Selected through an open call for applications, the women represented diverse backgrounds, priorities and passions. However, the training camp fostered a bond amongst them that could contribute to the creation of a network of young advocates supporting each other.
“These two weekends showed me how to use my voice for those who cannot use theirs. I am so eager to see what the future holds for me in this regard,” said Rinora Zejnullahu.
"These young women are raising their voices for honesty, truth and compassion against injustices. I believe this Advocacy Bootcamp provided them with tools to support and communicate their ideals and beliefs with greater strength, persistence and self-confidence,” said Shenaj Shala, one of the camp’s skills coaches.
Two advocacy experts, Shukrie Gashi and Hilmije Ramabaja, issued a joint statement that the camp is “a place where young women learn how to make their voices heard at decision-making levels. Most importantly, they learn how to become powerful voices of change on issues affecting all of society.”
The Advocacy Bootcamp was organized as part of the joint project, Empowering Youth for a Peaceful, Prosperous, and Sustainable Future in Kosovo and YouthForKosovo. The initiative was supported by the UN Peacebuilding Fund, and implemented by UN Women, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Volunteers and UNICEF.
 All references to Kosovo in this story shall be understood to be in full compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).