Jahjaga Foundation supports soliciting, creating, and funding programs that address attitudes, access, and sustainable economic development in four discreet but related areas: (a) the roles and participation of women in all areas of domestic and civic life; (b) the plight of youth; (c) the problems clustered around domestic and international security; and (c) the tasks involved in promoting reconciliation for a peace-driven future.
WomenToday's Kosovo is an energetic and youthful society with 60% of its 1.9 million population under 30. However, it is a society burdened with uneven economic, educational, and political opportunities, difficulties that are felt most severely by socially marginalized populations.
Kosovar women face particularly acute demands given how cultural traditions coupled with imperfect economic and educational opportunities have left them, a fundamental segment of Kosovar society, removed from full cultural, social, and political participation.
Women are under-represented in the economic sector both in terms of the number of female entrepreneurs (less than 10%), in the workforce (21%), in parliament (30%), and in education: 13% of Kosovar women over the age of 15 have no formal education (Kosovo Statistics Agency).
Globally, if all women face uphill struggles in patriarchal societies, in Kosovo this dire situation is aggravated by the aftermath of civil war. It is estimated that 20,000 Kosovar women suffered brutal violence during severe instances of mass killings, detentions, abductions, rape, and torture during the war with Serbia (1998-1999).
Addressing the needs of women as active members of civil society and within their families implies doing so at different scales and through the wide array of parameters that structure their lives. The Jahjaga Foundation will support projects that explicitly address this complexity, i.e., projects that are sensitive to the ways cultural, political, economic, linguistic, ethnic, religious, etc. differences structure and determine the experience of women in civil society and in their homes.
The Jahjaga Foundation will make the betterment of educational and economic opportunities together with the awareness and reparation of the aftermath of sexual violence and criminality its core gender-based projects.
YouthKosovo's youth are Kosovo's future. Securing solid educational, cultural, social, and economic transformation for Kosovo's younger generations will guarantee a lifetime of well-being for Kosovar citizens and their families. Nevertheless, this goal is unattainable given the current state of affairs whereby 60% of Kosovar youth (age 15-24) are estimated to be unemployed.
This grave situation also requires multi-faceted solutions given how a disenfranchised youth affects economic development, migration (the brain drain of Kosovo's professional class), and security (the power of fundamentalist ideologies on disempowered youth).
The Jahjaga Foundation will target these key issues and support initiatives aiming at national policies that will coordinate the interrelated nature of the challenges and emphasize the connection between education and long-term economic and social development.
SecurityDomestic security is the cornerstone of prosperity for all societies but security is inextricably linked to strong political institutions, systems of justice, and generalized societal prosperity. International acceptance of Kosovo as an independent state (2008) is an unfinished project despite its recognition by over 110 UN member states. Regrettably, border disputes with Serbia are still active.
Internally, Kosovo's domestic security is, of course, linked to the strength of the educational, political, and economic opportunities offered to its citizens. The Jahjaga Foundation will support projects that are attentive to this complexity in its goal of becoming a center of civic engagement and vibrancy.
A strong and dynamic educational system will provide Kosovar youth with the academic and vocational preparation required to be successful, well balanced, and empowered individuals and members of society. Educational policy and its implementation are the cornerstones of national security.
The long-term success of the Foundation will be measured in its ability to support educational projects that aim to displace mentalities of instrumentalization and profit for ones of public service.
Likewise, national security also rests upon intelligence and the careful monitoring and managing of confronted interests. With this goal, the Jahjaga Foundation will support initiatives that strategically (a) combat crime and corruption; (b) expose and deter all types of extremism; (c) address the internal causes that drive violent extremism and radicalization.
The Jahjaga Foundation appreciates the importance of social media and digital tools in the world of security. From this perspective, the Foundation will engage youth who champion policy changes in order to better challenge radicalization with effective counter-narratives that youth, both in urban and rural areas, will find appealing.
The empowerment of women has a positive impact on de-radicalization in all societies. The Jahjaga Foundation will work closely with gender-focused NGOs to raise awareness and to implement strategies and networks for de-radicalization. This gendered approach will require the Foundation to engage with civil society at a very local level.
Finally, national security also rests upon proper leadership in matters relating to extremists and their reintegration into mainstream society. The Jahjaga Foundation will pay special attention to projects that address the professional training of correctional officers and social workers throughout the country, individuals who interact with prison populations of both foreign and domestic extremists. For Kosovo, the rehabilitation of these fighters as valuable members of society is a key security issue as is counteracting the potential radicalization of already incarcerated populations.
ReconciliationThe road to peace after war is a tumultuous one, a path demanding that societies face deep truths about themselves as communities and that individuals find the mechanisms to place the horrors of war to rest. Reconciliation is a long and difficult journey that operates on many scales. It requires unveiling many painful facts, acknowledging the suffering of the many and of the few, and most importantly, learning how to translate logics of hate into languages of peace.
The Jahjaga Foundation will support projects that tackle the aftermath of war in Kosovo and the Balkan region at large for it understands that a better future needs to be grounded upon a historical memory that is accurate, inclusive, and geared towards imagining a place in time that remembers but does not avenge.
The Foundation will support projects in all areas that promote strategies for collective memory, implement pedagogies of peace, and show sensitivity towards how victims of war must be directly engaged in projects that lead to building an informed future and help the process of collective healing. It will particularly highlight activities that connect processes of reconciliation with the plight of women in the region as well as those that emphasize the role of youth in imagining a future built on peace and cooperation in the Balkans.