Project documentary raises awareness of recycling and inclusion of informal collectors

100 green club members from 5 schools in Mitrovicë/a South were invited to a screening of a documentary showing the results of the project ‘Strengthening Social Inclusion and Economic Empowerment of marginalized groups in Mitrovicë/a’, funded by the European Union and implemented by Danish Refugee Council.

As part of this project, 400 recycling containers were provided to schools, institutions and businesses to give citizens in Mitrovicë/a South the opportunity to recycle. In addition, the establishment of Social Enterprise treciklo helped create jobs for informal waste collectors and ensure recycling containers are regularly emptied and recycling in Mitrovicë/a increases.

The documentary gave students an insight into how their efforts to separate recyclable waste contribute to providing employment and better incomes for informal waste collectors and divert waste from landfills.

Green Club members were not only able to discuss ways of raising awareness of recycling in their schools and at home, but also to learn more about how social enterprises can help marginalized people find jobs.

Apart from the Social Enterprise treciklo, DRC also invited ‘Grate kryefamiliare’, a social enterprise supported by the European Union and run by widowed women from Mitrovicë/a. The women started a school buffet and catering business, which provides employment for 20 vulnerable women.

To read more about Social Enterprise treciklo, go to Treciklo - Mitrovicë

To read more about other Social Enterprises created with the support of the European Union, visit the EEVG facebook page

 

EU-funded project takes first step to introduce recycling in schools in Mitrovicë/a South

In January 2016, the project ‘Strengthening Social Inclusion and Economic Empowerment of marginalized groups in Mitrovicë/a’, funded by the European Union Office in Kosovo and implemented by Danish Refugee Council, began implementing a collection scheme for recyclable materials, ‘Mitrovica Recycles’, giving citizens in Mitrovicë/a South the opportunity to recycle plastics and aluminium cans.

With co-funding provided by Sida and the assistance of Prishtina-based NGO Green Art Center (GAC), 3 primary schools, 2 secondary schools and the Municipal building were selected to pilot at-source recycling. As a first step, GAC helped establish Green Clubs in the 5 participating schools.

217 Green Club members between the ages of 12-18 were trained by GAC on the importance of environmental protection and recycling, separation of waste into recyclable and non-recyclable materials and the role of Green Clubs in promoting recycling in their respective schools.

In a second step, all 5 schools and the municipal building will be equipped with separation containers in classrooms and hallways to enable proper recycling. As a result, over 4000 children and youths as well as municipal employees and visitors will have access to recycling opportunities. The recycled materials will be collected by the Social Enterprise treciklo, providing employment and income opportunities to informal waste collectors and diverting waste from landfills.

 

 

Cargo tricycles and protective clothing support the work of informal collectors in Mitrovicë/a

On 22 January, representatives of the Regional Development Agency North (RDA North), the Social Enterprise treciklo and the Municipality of South Mitrovicë/a, handed over cargo tricycles, protective clothing and collection tools to selected informal collectors. In the presence of the Municipality of South Mitrovicë/a, OSCE and other stakeholders, it was highlighted that informal collectors of recyclable materials perform a valuable service to the community by making sure that recyclable materials such as PET bottles and other plastics can be recycled.

Providing uniforms and transport vehicles to informal collectors is an important first step in recognizing their contribution to environment protection and recycling.¨says Nasuf Aliu, Director of Economic Development, Municipality of South Mitrovicë/a.

Most informal recycling is done by members of the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities. Many families derive partial or all of their income from collecting waste, often with the participation of children. Informal collection is often done under hazardous conditions affecting the health of children and adults alike. Therefore, before signing the agreement for use of tricycles, all collectors participated in a training on health and safety in recycling, traffic safety and the negative consequences of child labour.

Supporting the work of informal collectors is one component of the project ‘Strengthening Social Inclusion and Economic Empowerment of marginalized groups in Mitrovicë/a’, funded by the European Union Office in Kosovo and implemented by the Danish Refugee Council. In addition, the project established a Social Entreprise, treciklo, which employs members of the Albanian and Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian community and is managed by RDA North. Treciklo buys PET, HDPE and aluminium cans from marginalized informal collectors. The Social Enterprise also pays the required 3% tax on materials purchased from informal collectors as required by Kosovo law.

In the coming weeks, Danish Refugee Council and the Municipality of South Mitrovicë/a are also piloting a collection scheme with households and schools co-funded by Sida. With funding from the European Union Office in Kosovo, separation containers will be placed with households, schools and the Municipal building to give citizens of South Mitrovicë/a the opportunity to recycle and support informal collectors at the same time.

The informal collectors will have access to the containers and receive fair payment from the Social Enterprise for the materials collected. Thus, collectors registered will take steps towards formal employment and the use of hazardous practices and child labour will be discouraged. Official recognition of the work carried out by collectors will also contribute to promoting a positive image of informal collectors and combat stigmatization.

Mid-term evaluation tracks progress of Sida-funded project “Support to Roma, Ashkalia and Egyptian Communities in Mitrovicë/a”

During October 2015 DRC organized an internal mid-term project evaluation of the Sida funded “Support to Roma, Ashkalia and Egyptian Communities in Mitrovicë/a” Project.

In order to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the project components: education and economic development, and the handover process itself, DRC Kosovo has welcomed Mr. Mikkel Nedergaard - M&E expert from DRC HQ in Copenhagen.

From 19-22 October 2015, Mr. Nedergaard conducted intensive consultations with all relevant project stakeholders, by facilitating focus group discussions on education and economic development components and individual interviews with relevant parties, such as the Deputy Mayor of Mitrovicë/a municipality, NGO “RADC” Director and the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian leader.  

At the end of field activities Mr. Nedergaard facilitated a brainstorming session with DRC program staff and Country Director, where the status of the Action Plan for handover process and its benchmarks have been reviewed in detail while reflecting on progress, identified gaps, obstacles and concerns of the stakeholders.  

Mitrovicë/a Municipality and DRC sign contract for use of land for Social Enterprise

On 27 May, Mitrovicë/a Municipality and the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) signed the contract for use of land and an agreement of cooperation for establishing Mitrovicë/a’s first Social Enterprise in recycling. The enterprise is part of the project "Social inclusion and economic empowerment of marginalized groups in Mitrovicë/a", funded by the European Union. 

The main activities of this project are the creation of a Social Enterprise for collection, processing and sale of recycled materials. The Social Enterprise facility will be constructed in the Business Park and managed by the Regional Development Agency (RDA) North as a project.

Mayor Bahtiri thanked the Country Director of DRC, Kristen Stec, for finding projects of common interest in his municipality. He pledged continued cooperation in the future for the realization of this and other projects that benefit the citizens of Mitrovicë/a.

On behalf of DRC, Ms Stec also thanked Mayor Bahtiri personally for his cooperation and the assistance of his staff during the implementation of this project.

The ‘Strengthening social inclusion and economic empowerment of marginalized groups in Mitrovicë/a’ is funded by the European Union and implemented by DRC.

 

 

AN EU FUNDED PROJECT MANAGED BY THE EUROPEAN UNION OFFICE IN KOSOVO 

 

DRC invites Mitrovicë/a Municipality to visit Business Incubator in Bulgaria

The DRC Social Business Incubator team invited Mitrovicë/a Municipality representatives, Mr. Erol Zekerija, Deputy Mayor for Communities, and Mr. Mehmet Bajrami, Coordinator in the Department for Public Services and Infrastructure, for a 3-day best practice exchange visit in Bulgaria.

The aim of the visit was to exchange best practices regarding the design and running of Business Incubators and effective ways of providing business support services to start-up micro-enterprises.

The delegation from Mitrovicë/a first visited the Business Incubator - Entrepreneurship Promotion Centre in Gotse Delchev. The Director of the Business Incubator Ms.Rosita Djambazova introduced their activities and events held in the Centre. The Business Incubator targets start-up businesses, established companies, agricultural producers, minorities as well as unemployed job-seekers. Similar to the DRC-run Social Business Incubator (SBI) in Mitrovicë/a, businesses in need of support services can rent workspace at the Incubator and take advantage of business, computer and language trainings.

Businesses supported by the Business Incubator

With support from the local municipality and central government, the Business Incubator supports a wide range of businesses and initiatives in the region including textile, furniture, agriculture/food processing, tourism sectors. 
The Incubator also generates income from providing vocational trainings and trainings for job seekers through contracts with the local employment center. The sustainability of the Incubator is therefore a combination of income generated through service provision and public funds. In addition, the Incubator is working towards establishing a more formalized Public Private Partnership (PPP) with the local and central government on vocational trainings and other services offered by the Incubator.

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    The Mayor of Razlog Municipality and the Deputy Mayor of Communities Mitrovicë/a Municipality exchanging emblems of their cities.

The Mayor of Razlog Municipality and the Deputy Mayor of Communities Mitrovicë/a Municipality exchanging emblems of their cities.

For the delegation from Mitrovicë/a, the visit to the Business Incubator in Gotse Delchev and surrounding municipalities provided valuable insights, which they will be able to put into practice in their work with the Social Business Incubator (SBI) in Roma Mahalla, Mitrovicë/a. The SBI currently offers, subsidized workspace and business trainings to micro-businesses as well as preparatory vocational trainings. The SBI is supported by Sida through the Support to Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Communities in Mitrovicë/a project.

DRC provides work experience for IBCM students

DRC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Business College Mitrovica (IBCM) to enable students to gain practical experience while working on DRC projects in Mitrovicë/a. In March, DRC was happy to welcome two new interns, who will work with the community and economic development teams for 6 months.

Liridona Elezi will spend the next six months supporting community development activities as part of the Sida-funded Support to Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Communities in Mitrovicë/a Project. Liridona studies Public Administration at IBCM and wishes to gain practical experience working with local civil society organizations and project development and monitoring.  Supported by DRC staff, Liridona assists DRC’s local partners to draft projects and reviews project proposals. With her excellent English skills, she also contributes to documenting project activities and drafting stories that highlight the experiences of beneficiaries in DRC projects.

Our second intern is a 4th semester student of Environment and Agriculture at IBCM. With her experience working with local companies and educational background, Blerina Ombashi is well suited to support the Economic development team at the Social Business Incubator in Roma Mahalla. During her internship, Blerina can put her academic learning into practice. She will support minority business Manager Teuta with drafting a new business plan for her laundry business and participate in the Social Business Incubator Community Board which provides a platform for coordination and exchange between community and stakeholders in Roma Mahalla. She will also be able to contribute to activities related to environmental protection and health which are integral parts of the Support to Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Communities in Mitrovicë/a Project.

Thanks to its cooperation with IBCM, DRC is happy to contribute to local students’ professional development. With DRC interns gain hands-on experience working with local government representatives and communities and get the opportunity to clarify career goals and build a professional network in their respective fields of interest.

For more information on IBCM courses, please visit their website: http://ibcmitrovica.eu/

DRC signs 3-year-MoU with Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare

On Wednesday, 25/03/2015, Mr. Arban Abrashi, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare (MLSW), signed a Memorandum of Understanding with DRC to support the vocational and professional development of beneficiaries of the "Support of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities in Mitrovicë/a” Project, funded by the Swedish Agency for International Development (Sida).

Today’s signing of the MoU was preceded by a visit from representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare to the DRC vocational training facilities and Social Business Incubator in Roma Mahalla.  During the visit, DRC presented the results achieved in the past and discussed future plans and ways of enhancing employment opportunities for minority communities and youth with the Ministry.

The outcome of this process is an MoU covering a period of 3 years, which enables DRC and the Ministry to collaborate closely on improving the chances of Roma Ashkali and Egyptian communities in Roma Mahalla, Mitrovicë/a to increase their job skills and access the labour market.  DRC will provide preparatory vocational training courses in the fields of: welding, carpentry, high and low construction which pave the way for participants to pursue a career in these fields. 

Minority businesses supported with grants

The Community Stabilization Project (CSP) funded by the British Embassy in Kosovo and the Ministry for Communities and Return is supporting 38 beneficiaries from 5 municipalities with grants, field-focused technical advice and business management training to support their new or existing businesses.

Following the selection of beneficiaries, Danish Refugee Council contacted all beneficiaries to gather information on the technical requirements of inputs requested under the grants, ensuring beneficiaries receive the adequate equipment to improve or start their businesses.

To date, 10 grants have already been delivered.

Among the businesses supported is a start-up business establishing a medical laboratory in Prizren. Elvira, the owner, started the business to put her many years of experience working in medical laboratories to good use. To improve her chances to succeed with this venture, she chose a location in close proximity to local hospitals. With the delivery of state-of-the-art laboratory equipment through the project, she believes she will be able to offer her services at competitive prices.

In the case of Arif, no high-tech equipment was requested. Arif runs an orchard in Globocice/a village, Dragash/s municipality. Through the project grant, he was able to erect a proper fence around his property, which shows how even seemingly simple improvements can add value to businesses.

In the coming months, DRC will continue to support beneficiaries who received their grants already and deliver additional grants to another 30 beneficiaries.

CSP is funded by the British Embassy Kosovo and the Ministry for Communities and Returns and covers  5 municipalities: Pejë/Pec, Istog/Istok, Prizren, Strpce/Shtërpcë, Dragash/Dragas.

DRC supports dairy farmer in Dragash/s

Jusuf Bajrami, Restelice/a village, Dragash/s

Jusuf Bajrami, Restelice/a village, Dragash/s

On 22 May 2014, Jusuf Bajrami became the first beneficiary of DRC's Community Stabilization Project (CSP) to receive his income generation grant. Mr. Bajrami received 70 sheep to add to his livestock and dairy business in Restelice/a village, Dragash/s. CSP supports minority businesses with growth potential and producers with grants to create income and much needed employment for minority communities. 

A member of the Gorani community, Mr. Bajrami and his family of four run a successful dairy farm with 25 cows. Increasing his number of livestock through CSP will allow Mr. Bajrami to grow his dairy business and diversify his products. 

Representatives of the British Embassy, the Municipality of Dragash/s, the MOCR and MCR were present during the delivery of the grant.

Representatives of the British Embassy, the Municipality of Dragash/s, the MOCR and MCR were present during the delivery of the grant.

CSP is funded the British Embassy Kosovo and the Ministry for Communities and Returns and covers  5 municipalities: Pejë/Pec, Istog/Istok, Prizren, Strpce/Shtërpcë, Dragash/Dragas.

Request for Quotation: Community projects

Danish Refugee Council (DRC), with funding from the British Embassy and the Ministry of Communities and Return and co-financed by the respective Municipalities, invites all suppliers to participate in tendering for community projects under the Community Stabilization Project in Prizren, Shterpce/ Shtrpce and Istog.

View the RfQ here

 

Beneficiaries of the Community Stabilization Project selected

DRC is happy to announce that the selection process for support under the Community Stabilization Project has now concluded. 38 beneficiaries from 5 municipalities have been approved and will receive grants, field-focused technical advice and business management training to support their new or existing businesses. The list of beneficiaries is available here. DRC is now in the process of contacting the beneficiaries and gathering information on the technical requirements of inputs requested under the grants. Once this stage is finalized, the tender process will begin.

In addition, the project supports small-scale community projects that promote inter-ethnic cooperation and support reducing the social isolation of minority returnee and remainee families. 3 projects have been selected, including:

  • The rehabilitation of the park and playground of the local Primary School in Dobrushë/a, Istog/Istok 
  • The building of a rockslide protection wall in Landovicë/Landovica, Prizren 
  • The rehabilitation of a cobblestone road in Sevce, Shtërpc/Štrpce

The Municipalities of Istog/Istok, Prizren and Shtërpc/Štrpce will co-fund the projects to benefit the local community in their respective municipalities.

The Community and Stabilization Project is funded by the British Embassy in Kosovo and the Ministry for Communities and Returns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Business Centre Zvecan and DRC organize Crafts Fair in Mitrovica

 
 

The 'HOLIDAY SEASON CRAFT FAIR' promotes traditional and innovative handicrafts produced by 15 NGOs and women's initiatives, among them Vullneti i Grave, and provides income generating opportunities to women in society.

However, the Fair will not only provide a sales opportunity for the participating women, but also enable the participants to network with similar initiatives in the North and to explore possibilities for further collaboration with the Business Centre Zvecan.

To this end the fair will be used as a platform to inform relevant stakeholders about women’s economic initiatives in the area, to present the work of the respective NGOs and women's initiatives and to engage in discussion with the Business Centre Zvecan and private sector representatives about ways to effectively promote traditional Kosovo crafts.

Read more about Vullneti i Grave on their website: www.vullnetiigrave.com or find them on facebook

Download the list of Fair participants

 

DRC welcomes interns from the International Business College Mitrovicë/a

Manuela Petrovic, Community Development Intern

Manuela Petrovic, Community Development Intern

Arben Isufi, Economic Development Intern

Arben Isufi, Economic Development Intern

As part of an MoU signed with the International Business College Mitrovicë/a, Danish Refugee Council offers IBCM students the opportunity to participate in an internship programme with DRC's field office in Mitrovicë/a.

IBCM students were invited to apply for internship positions in either the community or economic development component  of the Stabilization of Roma Ashkalia and Egyptian (RAE) Communities Project in Roma Mahalla. 

Following applicant interviews by a panel consisting of DRC and IBCM representatives, we are happy to welcome Manuela and Arben to our team. 

This is an opportunity for me to work with people and vulnerable groups in particular. I am most excited about being part of the monitoring of activities in Roma Mahalla. Talking to people and listening to their issues is what drives a good project, I believe.
— Manuela Petrovic, Community Development Intern

The interns will assist DRC staff in their daily work and get an insight into all aspects of working with and for communities in Mitrovicë/a. The internship programme started in October and will last until the end of December 2013. DRC considers this internship program a great opportunity to provide work experience to talented youths and benefit from their skills in turn.

This is a unique chance for me to gain practical skills. Everything I learned in IBCM’s Public Service Management can now be demonstrated and explored even deeper in this organization. DRC works with all communities, and in this project specifically with RAE which motivates me to learn more about them. I look forward to working more closely with this community at the Social Business Incubator in Roma Mahalla.
— Arben Isufi, Economic Development Intern

More information about IBCM and the courses on offer can be found here

The DRC Kosovo Stabilisation of Roma, Ashkalia and Egyptian Communities Project in Roma Mahalla Mitrovicë/Mitrovica is funded by Sida.

Social Business Incubator in Roma Mahalla offers certified preparatory vocational trainings

 

Newly constructed Social Business Incubator annex to host vocational trainings

Following an MoU signed with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Danish Refugee Council's Social Business Incubator in Roma Mahalla is now offering a pre-preparatory vocational training programme to youth from Roma Mahalla and the Mitrovicë/a region. In close cooperation with the Regional Employment Centre (REC) Mitrovicë/a, DRC identified teachers and mentors to train participants in:

  • High/low construction
  • Metal processing
  • Carpentry
  • TV/Radio service

 

Starting on 3 October 2013, 21 trainees registered through the Regional Employment Centre Mitrovicë/a will attend trainings and get the opportunity to gain basic skills that will facilitate their further vocational education. Trainings with qualified mentors will take place three times a week and last for the duration of three months. Graduates of the programme will receive certificates issued by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, which will enable them to pursue more advanced vocational trainings in the future.

With this programme, DRC's Social Business Incubator contributes not only to the existing employment and vocational training infrastructure  in the Mitrovicë/a region, but also establishes closer links between members of the RAE and majority community.

 

 

High Construction training

Carpentry workshop

Trainees sign up for High Construction training

The Social Business Incubator in Roma Mahalla is part of the economic development component of the Kosovo Stabilisation of Roma, Ashkalia and Egyptian Communities Project in Roma Mahalla Mitrovicë/a funded by Sida.

IBCM / DRC cooperation kicks off with a student visit to Roma Mahalla

 

On 11 June, DRC welcomed 20 students from the International Business College Mitrovica (IBCM) to Roma Mahalla. DRC Project Manager Jasmina greeted them with a presentation on the community development and economic development initiatives that DRC is currently implementing in Roma Mahalla.

Together with DRC staff, the students went on to have a closer look at the businesses hosted at the DRC Business Incubator, and the various projects led by Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian community (RAE) LNGOs and supported by DRC. The students had a chance to see the Roma Mahalla Learning Center for children run by RAE LNGO RADC and the opportunity to chat with members of the women's handicrafts group, who put their latest creations on display.

The field visit ended on a high note with a performance by Shukarno Talenti, Roma Mahalla's very own folklore dance troupe, which was initiated by youths from the RAE community and is now in the process of registering as an NGO. As many of the students visited Roma Mahalla for the first time, they were keen to learn more about the community and DRC's work.

This field visit marks the first step in a closer collaboration between DRC Mitrovica and IBCM. In the coming months, two IBCM students will start an internship with DRC in Roma Mahalla. DRC's activities within community and economic development will provide the students with the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge gained in IBCM's Marketing and Management and Public Administration programmes and to gain practical experience.

Sonja Novak, Head of the Public Administration Department at IBCM notes: "We are very happy to work more closely with DRC and the community in Roma Mahalla. The internships offered by DRC are a unique opportunity for our students to apply in practice what they learn about social inclusion for instance. At IBCM, we not only promote quality education, but also strive to give students from all communities in Mitrovica the opportunity to learn."

More information on the students chosen for the internships and DRC's cooperation with IBCM will follow. 

Read more about IBCM here 

The DRC Kosovo Stabilisation of Roma, Ashkalia and Egyptian (RAE) Communities Project in Roma Mahalla Mitrovicë/Mitrovica combines economic development with activities geared towards community development.  The project is funded by SIDA.