Distribution of certificates and delivery of equipment to 26 women in Peja/Pec to support women’s future entrepreneurial endeavors

September 22, 2022


Ms. Arnhild Spence, UN Development Coordinator in Kosovo
Mr. Johannes STENBAEK MADSEN, the EU Head of Cooperation 
Mayor Gazmend Muhaxheri;
Ms. Vlora Tuzi Nushi, UN Women Head of Office;
Ms. Mirlinda Kusari, CEO of SHE-ERA;
Dear colleagues from UN Women and UNDP.

I am very happy to celebrate with you all this very important milestone of our joint efforts in responding to the challenges Kosovo is facing due to the COVID pandemic. It is my great pleasure to be here with in beautiful Peja you this morning. 

Kosovo – like the rest of the region, and world at large - is going through a rough period, impacted by a socio-economic crisis – further exacerbated by the current geopolitical turbulence and cost-of-living crisis - without having had the chance to fully recover from the COVID crisis. 

These crises are influencing everyone’s lives and livelihoods, but particularly women - and those in vulnerable situations. 

In 2021, according to the Women Peace and Security index, women’s employment rate in Kosovo was the fifth lowest in the world, at only 13 percent, and the lowest in Europe. At the same time, only 21% of enterprises were owned by women. 

The fact that women’s labor participation is showing low figures in the statistics does not mean that women are not working. We all know that. Unfortunately, all too often the women’s work is not captured in the statistics. It typically happens at home as caregivers or in supporting family businesses, without pay. 

Through activities like the one that we are witnessing today – women will have a chance to become more active in the labor market, and more independent economically. In addition to receiving valuable training and much-needed equipment, participants will be able to build connections and become part of a network for mutual support and experience sharing. 

As UNDP, we stand together with Kosovo institutions and other development actors to provide its strong support in exploring new, creative, and sustainable ways to advance the gender equality for and improving women’s agency in Kosovo. Key to this is women’s economic empowerment. 

By empowering women, we are not only expanding their opportunities to make their own choices – but allowing them to become more influential in their communities and society at large – and thereby contributing to peace and prosperity.

The work of the women in Peja is a testimony of our collective approach in response to the complex challenges that Kosovo – and the rest of the world is facing – in the unpredictable global environment. I commend the women present today for their hard work, dedication and commitment to join this business development journey.

As UNDP, we encourage similar activities across Kosovo to further build women’s skills and capacities for entrepreneurship and innovation. This will allow them to independently run their business in the future, in Peja and beyond, connected to markets and value chains.

I would like to thank the EU for the great partnership and trust that you have shown in providing us – as the UN team – to rapidly respond to the challenges caused by the COVID pandemic – and now, the more recent shocks to Kosovo’s economy and wellbeing of the people. This initiative is part of a larger programme which has allowed us to provide targeted support to more than 8,000 families in vulnerable situations, boost the capacities of the Centers of Social Works across Kosovo, extend social services to persons with disabilities and those hard-to-reach areas, and improve the conditions in shelters for victims of domestic violence.  

I would like to thank UN Women for the great collaboration – and SHE-ERA for providing this unique opportunity for the women to build up their skills and knowledge – allowing them to move forward with their businesses. We are particularly pleased to have our new UN Development Coordinator Arnhild Spence here with us. 

And last but not least – I would like to thank the Mayor for hosting us today – and for making it possible for this project to run successfully.