Municipalities in Kosovo try new approach to boost jobs

27 Sep 2013

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Unemployment rate in Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje is 36 percent and 46 percent in Obiliq/ć. The two municipalities are widely considered among the most vulnerable due to extremely high levels of unemployment, acute economic contraction, weak governance, environmental hazards, problems with inclusive health and education services, and challenges arising from their unique multi-ethnic composition.

Moreover, these municipalities remain at the centre of Kosovo’s on-going effort to reconcile displacement, return and reconciliation. That’s why UNDP and these two municipalities  have agreed to join efforts and find a new approach to support people to return to the job market, teaming up with local authorities there to design a territorial employment pact. The PACT has already started in Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje and only recently signed with Obiliq/c partners.

Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje municipality is committed to improving job prospects for their citizens, and has committed 279,000 euros to implement the Pact over a period of 16 months.

The territorial employment pact is a contractual partnership between different actors at the local level that helps them address key issues in their communities in a more coordinated and participatory manner.

The pact defines the roles and responsibilities of over 17 actors in Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje involved in efforts to generate and formalize employment - including municipal authorities, civil society organizations from Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities as well as other vulnerable groups, and the private sector.

There is already a strong signal of more effective communication between the stakeholders that are part of the Pact - especially between those in the public sector and citizens.

The Pact proposes clear and realistic employment measures for individuals in different situations, and were designed to increase their interest in these new opportunities.

For example, if someone has been unemployed for a long time and wants to get a job, the Pact clearly outlines the steps they need to take - such as professional training or on the job training.

More importantly, it’s clear from the beginning about the support they will receive at each step and that they will get a job at the end.

This pact was also designed to help provide:

●     Green jobs for the most vulnerable individuals

●     Training and grants for young, disadvantaged people

●     Subsidized employment for women that have been out of work for a long time

●     Rural micro-enterprise upgrade

●     Better housing conditions for the poorest

Approximately 500 people will benefit from these interventions.

The pact also introduces the concept of social entrepreneurship for the first time in Kosovo, and has therefore attracted significant interest from municipal and central authorities, the local media and the public in general.

The hope is that the pact will jumpstart the local-level debate around employment issues and recommend clear interventions in other parts of Kosovo too.

Implementation of Pact in Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje started recently with enrollment of individuals in certified professional training courses, establishment of the first social enterprise in Fushe Kosove/Kosovo Polje (where many of the selected individuals will end up working or training), and the provision of grants to individuals selected for green jobs.

The next step is providing grants for the rural micro enterprises and reconstructing houses.