Thirty outstanding participants of NDI Kosovo’s 2017 Week of Women were selected to take part in an intensive six-month skills-building academy, called the Women’s Leadership Academy (WLA), focused on policy development and local campaign processes. This program is part of NDI’s long-term assistance strategy to build responsive and representative political processes and institutions in Kosovo through fostering political participation of women, youth and minorities as political activists, party members and elected representatives. Programming includes training for effective political engagement and advocacy, as well as opportunities for participants to network and connect with each other across ethnic, geographic and party lines, learning about common concerns and developing shared strategies to approach them.
In 2017, WLA participants come from 18 ethnically diverse municipalities across Kosovo, and represent seven different political parties. They formed four cross-party and cross-sector working groups on self-identified issues of community concern, namely: employment, healthcare, education and participation of women in decision-making positions. NDI coached participants through months of research and consultations with more than 250 community members, municipal assembly representatives, and local nongovernmental organizations working in each of these sectors to produce policy proposals on each topic. By working to empower new leadership and establishing linkages with political representatives, NDI encourages national and branch leadership to be inclusive of those individuals emerging from the grassroots and ensure they are fully engaged in political processes.
With further NDI support to hone stakeholder analysis and presentation skills like public speaking and message development, participants shared their policy position papers with civil society organizations and political parties to inform local policy discussions in advance of local elections scheduled for October 22, 2017.
This program was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).