Snapshots from Macedonia

“Skojpe 2014″ aiming to bring the lost soul back to Skojpe. Over 40 new monuments should give the city a classical ancient look. Photo: Kvinna till Kvinna/Johanna Arkåsen

Last week I went to Macedonia to meet partner organizations, other stakeholders and, of course, my colleague in Skojpe.

I met women and men who told me that their country is on it’s way down. The economy is going down, the political situation is not good, unemployment rate is very high and poverty is rising. Many women and men, young or old, see no future in the country.

The Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bidlt, tweeted about the political mess on February 17: “I’m deeply worried by the deepening divisions in Macedonia. Both sides have a responsibility to take their country off its dangerous path.”

In the Press Freedom Index 2013 Macedonia has fallen more than 20 places because of the arbitrary withdrawal of media licenses and deterioration in the environment for journalists.

Continue reading

V-day; One Billion Rising in Tbilisi

One billion rising event taking place in the heart of Tbilisi at the metro station Rustaveli on V-day; arranged by Women’s Fund of Georgia and Identoba.

“Dance is dangerous, joyous, sexual, holy, disruptive, contagious, it breaks the rules.
It can happen anywhere, anytime, with anyone and everyone, and it’s free.
Dancing insists we take up space, we go there together in community.
Dance joins us and pushes us to go further and that is why it’s at the center of ONE BILLION RISING.
” – Eve Ensler

Continue reading

Safety on the streets of Tirana, Albania

That day I finished work around 5 pm. As it often happens after work, I met with a friend and had a nice chat in front of warm cup of tea. We sat in the fancy part of the city where mostly foreigners used to visit. From that part of view, city looks pretty safe and that everything is going ok, which gives a whole (would say wrong) impression for the country as well.

As part of society we forget that is only a superficial opinion, partial and only the top of iceberg. The area around just a bit outside of that central part will give another impression, like you are opening another chapter of a different book. Tirana I might say is an alive city, people enjoy drinking (not getting drunk), chatting, laughing and sharing a lot of joy with each other.

Everything was looking so peaceful until I left this environment not later than 7 pm. I was walking with my friend enjoying the fresh air together until certain spot where we had to say goodbye and take different directions. Steps became faster, walking was becoming running until I reached a crossroad where I have to turn on the left to go towards my home.

Continue reading

Aid meant for victims of domestic violence goes to the perpetrator

The Albanian team of Kvinna till Kvinna is going through final narrative reports of partner organizations. One of our partners in Vlora, Vatra, is highlighting a decision of the Council of Ministers regarding economic aid to victims of domestic violence, which is very problematic. Please have a look at the decision:

“By Decision of the Council of Ministers, in 2012 the economic aid scheme was expanded by including in it even the victims of domestic violence. In the framework of this decision, victims of domestic violence can benefit the economic aid during the period of validity of the Protection Order or Immediate Protection Order. Victims of violence receive this payment from the Office of Economic Aid and Social Services at the Municipality.”

Approval of the decision was a very positive step for the assistance of victims of domestic violence, but on the other hand, what remains as a problem in the city of Vlora is the fact that this payment is made only to victims with Protection Order who have been living in Vlore not less than 20 years. The rest is excluded from the benefit of such payment.

Continue reading

Security; Integrated!

On Friday we arranged a one day follow up workshop here in Tbilisi for the Young Women of South Caucasus who participated in the Integrated Security Workshop in Turkey in November 2012. We wanted to see where the participants are today; what did they manage to integrate in their personal lives as well as in their activism? Also Sandra Ljubinkovic; facilitator of our small follow up with several years of experience working with and developing the concept of Integrated Security Workshops, taught the participants some new methods.

So what happened in the three months since the workshop? All participants talked about that they had started thinking about their personal well being – that they were claiming more space for themselves; one participant said for New Year’s she and her mum had gone to massage instead of buying material things. Another one had started to go to the gym, a third one to eat healthier. Seemingly small things but they all make a big difference for the activists themselves; they feel less stressed and more relaxed. And not to forget; change takes time and energy (yourself as well as your organisation and your community); so it was very inspiring to see just how much the participants had been able to integrate in three months. I am impressed and inspired!

Continue reading

RBM approach as a reporting tool

On 18th of January 2013 Albanian team of Kvinna till Kvinna gathered all partner organizations (PO:s) in a Result Based Management Workshop (RBM) in Tirana, Albania. The workshop was held in the countryside of Tirana, Peza, a peaceful and relaxing area, which helped the participants to be more focused and concentrated on the topic with the aim to have a better result in the end of the day.

The facilitators of the workshop were Silvia Primerano (Field Representative), Renata Cenko ( Programme Officer) and a special guest from SIDA Rezarta Katuci (representative of the Swedish Government). First a short introduction was presented about the agenda of the day, going on with hopes and expectations. And to be more interactive Silvia introduced an exercise: “What do you think about when I say ‘results’?“ Through this exercise it was given a lot of inputs and different meanings like change, improve etc. Later on Rezarta shared a presentation about the Swedish Government experience on using RBM. This presentation was very helpful, clear and highly appreciated from the participants.

Continue reading