DRC in Kosovo
DRC has operated continuously in Kosovo since 1998. Initially the assistance implemented by DRC focused on emergency aid, but was soon extended to logistics support, transport, shelter and reconstruction, income generating activities and social rehabilitation of IDPs, returnees and affected populations.
From 2003, DRC has focused increasingly on minority returns to Kosovo, a programme priority which has been developed in close cooperation with DRC Serbia & Montenegro.
Today, DRC continues to work towards the creation of a sustainable and durable returns process to Kosovo through targeting not only the physical requirements of returning refugees and IDPs, but also social and economic reintegration and development, improving living conditions, facilities and opportunities for both receiving and returning communities, safety and inter-ethnic dialogue.
DRC also strives to strengthen our local partners' capabilities, as well as empower and build capacity amongst local authorities to ensure the ongoing support for beneficiaries in Kosovo.
Since 2003, DRC has returned 778 families with a total of 2945 individuals to Kosovo.
DRC implemented Kosovo-wide return projects in partnership with UNHCR, BPRM, EU, The British Embassy Kosovo, MCR, SMB and local partners and authorities
DRC continues to support the reintegration of minority refugees, IDPs and Kosovo IDPs.
Pre-return and return assistance
From 2003, DRC has focused increasingly on minority returns to Kosovo, a program priority which has been developed in close cooperation with DRC Serbia.
The reconciliation process is facilitated by information provision and inter-ethnic dialogue prior to the physical return. Identifying and preparing beneficiaries for return and ensuring adequate capacity of local authorities to receive them is part of the pre-return process.
The actual return activities include: legal assistance, reconstruction of homes, transportation of returning families and livelihoods support.
Continued relationship-building between communities and the central and local authorities is paramount to promote a lasting return.
Post-return economic and community development
The poor condition of Kosovo’s economy particularly affects the returning community who in many cases spent several years in places of displacement. Upon return, many have lost key livelihood assets and lack the skills or opportunity to find employment. In addition, difficulties related social isolation and access to services continue to impede successful reintegration
To enable a sustainable return, DRC tailors economic and community development support to the needs, skills and interests of the returning community.
Through vocational training, job placement schemes and business incubation, DRC creates opportunities for returnees and minorities to become more self-reliant and integrate successfully into the wider community.