Photo: Driton Paqarada

Kvinna till Kvinna in Kosovo

Kvinna till Kvinna has supported women’s rights in Kosovo since 1994. In the shadow of the wars in Yugoslavia, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. As the move remains unrecognised by Serbia, Kosovo has been in limbo and struggles with ethnic tensions. Amidst this uncertainty, the women’s movement has stayed united and achieved important victories, including reparations for victims/survivors of wartime sexual violence.

Why we work in Kosovo

Since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, its status has been disputed. Serbia does not recognise Kosovo as an independent country. This causes lingering uncertainty, heightened by tensions and occasional clashes between ethnic groups.

The women’s movement has been one of the few actors successful in crossing ethnic lines to engage in dialogue for peace. They have also managed to unite women politicians.

During the war in the nineties, thousands of women were killed and subjected to sexual violence. In 2014, victims/survivors achieved a major victory: those who suffered sexual violence became entitled to compensation, similar to war veterans. In 2018, the first reparations were paid. Still, many perpetrators walk free.

Today, violence against women remains widespread. Poverty, high unemployment and inheritance rights issues make it difficult for women to leave abusive partners.

Optimistically, women’s rights organisations have managed to convince Kosovo to adopt a range of laws to advance women’s rights. Full implementation, however, is still a long way off.

Politically, women’s representation has slightly increased. Kosovo has had both a female president and mayor, and there is a gender quota for candidates. Still, more needs to be done to ensure women’s voices are heard in Kosovo’s EU integration process.

A Roma mother and her children at a camp in the city of Peja. The Roma are one of Kosovo's minority groups, and often discriminated against. Photo: Driton Paqarada

How we support women in Kosovo

Together with our partner organisations in Kosovo, we work to:

  • Promote peace and encourage inter-ethnic cooperation
  • Prevent gender-based violence and support victims/survivors
  • Offer trauma support to victims/survivors of wartime sexual violence
  • Increase women’s political participation
  • Advocate for the rights of minorities and discriminated groups (Roma, Ashkali, Egyptian, rural women)
  • Empower women economically
  • Advocate for gender mainstreaming in Kosovo’s legislation
  • Raise awareness of women’s rights through theatre and art festivals

Our work in Kosovo is conducted from our office in Pristina.

Victory for victims/survivors of wartime sexual violence

After hard work by the women’s movement, Kosovo adopted a law to recognise women who had suffered wartime sexual violence as victims of war. In 2017, the government allocated specific funds to compensate them for their ordeal.

Our partner organisations in Kosovo

  • Artpolis – Art and Community Center
  • Kosovar Gender Studies Centre
  • Kosova Women’s Network
  • Medica Kosova
  • Mitrovica Women Association for Human Rights
  • Network of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Women’s Organisations of Kosovo
  • Open Door (Dera e Hapur)
  • Ruka Ruci

Our partner organisation Artpolis uses art and theatre to raise awareness of women’s rights. Photo: Majlinda Hoxha

News from our partners in Kosovo