In the words of Iliriana Jaka Gashi: “Bringing public and private institutions together to work on the economic reintegration of survivors of violence is indispensable”
Iliriana Jaka Gashi is the Executive Director of Kosovo Women 4 Women, an organisation that works to support the marginalized women in Kosovo*. With 11 years of experience working with women from vulnerable groups, she has learned that economic empowerment is crucial to women’s social inclusion and reintegration. In this interview, Gashi explains how the organization’s programme on the economic empowerment of survivors, implemented within the EU-funded regional programme on ending violence against women “Implementing Norms, Changing Minds,” provides women survivors of violence with the skills and means to provide for themselves and reintegrate independently into their communities.
Our work in the social and economic empowerment of women consists of training and empowering women on their rights, as well as offering vocational training or capacity development for women who already have a profession or are ready to become businesswomen. We also provide women with psycho-social support to care of their mental health and prepare them to reintegrate into society. Moreover, our Job Placement Office helps women find jobs after they finish the vocational training.
These components are all part of our programme, which is designed to support both the economic and social empowerment of women as well as to teach them how to advocate for their community’s needs. As a result, women are not only taught the skills they need in business, but also the skills necessary to take care of themselves and each other.
Our intervention addresses women's needs in a multifaceted way, rooted in the understanding that different women have different needs. We try to meet their needs in every aspect - geographical, emotional, economic, educational, age and otherwise.
For this intervention, we have partnered with international and national stakeholders, including central and local governments, non-governmental organizations, shelters for protection, women's grassroots collectives and organizations, different experts in the field and private businesses. This extensive collaboration ensures the success of our model.
Along the way, we have learned that bringing public and private institutions together to work toward the economic reintegration of survivors is not only important, but indispensable. Policies must be based on evidence and data, and we must make sure they are being implemented and monitored properly. Together with the valuable, coordinated efforts of all stakeholders, we can ensure a better reintegration of survivors of violence.”
* For the European Union, this designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence. For UN Women, references to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of UN Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).