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Kosovo

  

Many people in Kosovo still live in poverty, with rural areas particularly lacking sources of income. High unemployment rates especially affect the younger generation.


Even in former Yugoslavia, Kosovo used to be one of its poorest regions. The entire region faced a huge challenge when the socialist state with its planned economy collapsed. Milosevic's repressive regime made the situation even worse for the Kosovar population and the war of 1998-99 eventually pushed Kosovo to the brink of total economic collapse.

 

Emergency aid and reconstruction at first ...

After the war had ended, Solidar Switzerland provided emergency aid to the suffering population before rebuilding 260 homes in Western Kosovo together with their owners.

Despite massive support from the international community, economic recovery in Kosovo has been slow. According to a World Bank study (2005), 37% of the Kosovar population are impoverished. Rural households without regular incomes and without support from family members in exile are particulary affected. About half the Kosovar population are unemployed, with rural unemployment affecting up to 80 per cent.

 

... before securing incomes and strengthening the civil society

From 2002 onwards, Solidar Switzerland has supported the worst-affected people in their efforts to secure a regular income or to improve their income from agriculture. In the project Income Peja, Solidar Switzerland cooperated closely with various farmers' associations and other local partner organisations, achieving a sustainable increase in the income of some 1,000 families. In the course of six years, the membership of these organisations increased as well.
However, the farmers' associations have been struggling since the completion of Income Peja in December 2007, their main problem being limited funds, and a lack of transparent structures and management skills to implement good ideas profitably.
Solidar Switzerland wants to address these issues by organising competitions in Farmer's Organisations to find the best project ideas. The winners will be granted appropriate further education module and the three top projects will receive seed money. Also, the projects will show that a lot can be achieved even with little means.

 

Perspectives for dairy farmers 

Another project from Solidar Suisse is in the dairy sector. Through joint strategies, dairy farmers and dairies should improve the conditions for dairy production in Kosovo and therefore increase profits and income in this sector.

Cyrill Rogger is Solidar Switzerland's desk officer for Kosovo.