The EU-funded Humanitarian Assistance Project (HAP) project implemented by UNDP will reinforce the Centres for Social Work across Kosovo with 40 UN volunteers/social workers for the next 12 months, and support 7,500 vulnerable families living in extreme poverty by providing monthly vouchers for food, hygiene, and other essential items for the next six months.
The joint action was launched earlier today in the presence of Tomáš Szunyog, Head of EU Office in Kosovo and EU Special Representative, Hekuran Murati, Minister of the Ministry of Finance, Labour and Transfers, Maria Suokko, UNDP Resident Representative for Kosovo, and other EU, UNDP, UNV, and Kosovo institutions representatives.
The paid internship scheme for the newly graduated social workers, psychologists, and sociologists – as UN Community Volunteers - will provide immediate relief, by strengthening the capacities of Centres for Social Work (CSWs). This will also be a great opportunity for the interns to gain professional experience. These 40 UN Community Volunteers, of whom 36 are women and 7 from non-majority communities, have been selected and started their 12 months assignments in late April at the CSWs throughout Kosovo.
In addition, temporary support will be provided for approximately 7,500 vulnerable families living in extreme poverty by donating monthly vouchers for food, hygiene, and other essential items, for six months. Target groups are families with no income and relying on social assistance, female-headed households, families with members with special needs and poor families living in rural areas. Identification of eligible families has been conducted through Ministry of Finance, Labor and Transfers in cooperation with Centres for Social Work in all 38 Kosovo municipalities.
Tomáš Szunyog, Head of EU Office in Kosovo and EU Special Representative speaking at this event emphasized: “Beyond poverty, the conditions of vulnerable children, people with disabilities and particularly women have worsened as a direct effect of the pandemic. Today, we are happy to deliver concrete results of EU programme as part of the activities implemented by UNDP. I’m confident that these initial results will have multiplying effects in the coming months, while other types of EU support to vulnerable people will be delivered very soon. I would like to thank UNDP for the intense and effective cooperation, as well as the government, municipalities and the universities that play an essential role in the implementation of this assistance. During most difficult moments, where help is most needed, the international solidarity and multilateralism to promote social cohesion is very important, because together we are able to do more and better. The European Union is here, to help the Kosovo people.”
Hekuran Murati, Minister of the Ministry of Finance, Labour and Transfers stressed: “The Ministry of Finance, Labour and Transfers, as presented in the government plan, is committed to designing and implementing social policies aimed at supporting vulnerable groups and employing young people. These policies have the ultimate goal of raising civic well-being and increasing employment, especially of young people.”
“The pandemic has put a strain on Kosovo’s social protection system. The crisis has hit particularly hard those already struggling to make ends meet. We have a unique opportunity now, with EU’s support, to provide some relief to those in most vulnerable situations – both in terms of providing temporary assistance as well as in strengthening the capacities of the Centers of Social Work. We will be working closely with the Ministry of Finance, Labour and Transfers, our UN colleagues and other partners in implementing this action. I would like to extend our heart-felt thanks to the EU Kosovo Office for trusting UNDP to deliver this support”, said Maria Suokko, UNDP Resident Representative in her opening remarks at the event.
The COVID-19 pandemic began as a health crisis but, for almost a year and a half now, has how turned into a multi-dimensional crisis with far-reaching socio-economic implications. EU and UNDP commitment continue to provide support to the most vulnerable groups on the risks and recovery processes associated with COVID-19.
Working at the heart of UN Kosovo Team, UNDP in Kosovo has been supporting the people and institutions of Kosovo to prepare for, respond to, and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic since the outbreak, focusing particularly on the most vulnerable. We have rapidly shifted focus, responding swiftly and efficiently and reorienting our programme to assist Kosovo’s efforts to stop the spread of the virus, helping to protect people from the pandemic and its impacts, respond during the outbreak, and recover from the economic and social impacts in the months to come.
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