From 1 June 2013, DRC will provide sustainable socio-economic support for at least 20 minority businesses and implement at least 2 projects to improve relations between inter-ethnic communities.
Co-financed by the British Embassy and the Ministry for Community and Return, the 9-month Community Stabilization project will support the Kosovo government’s IDP returns programme and promote integration and reconciliation between ethnic communities in northern Kosovo.
Evidence shows that some of the main barriers to the stabilization of minority communities in Kosovo are a lack of viable livelihood options, especially in rural areas, and economic isolation.
In addition, returnees and minorities face social isolation due to limited contact and connections with the majority populations, which can further increase inter-ethnic tensions.
Therefore the project is designed to combat both economic and social isolation in close cooperation with central and local authorities.
The project will:
- Support at least 20 minority small business start-ups, producers, processors and traders with economic grants and start-up assistance to improve their livelihoods.
- Implement at least 2 small scale community projects to improve inter-ethnic contact and relationships.
The project design is based on DRC’s many years of experience in supporting minority community stability in Kosovo. Moreover, DRC has proven experience in creating synergies between such economic interventions and social components in its community stabilization projects.
Using the lessons learned from previous stabilization interventions, DRC will go beyond simply providing fixed amounts of material assistance packages to beneficiaries. Interventions will be strategic and designed together with beneficiaries, local communities and/or relevant authorities. Special focus will be placed on providing technical assistance and business advisory support, including support on business registration as needed.
Furthermore, priority will be given to businesses that can provide benefits to the wider community, not just the individual business (i.e. supporting short-term/long-term employment opportunities to members to the community).
The proposed economic and social capacity building and inter-ethnic stabilization components will prepare returnee and minority communities and businesses to better withstand potential tensions or adverse economic conditions in the future.