What We Do
Kosova/o is a country in transition. Even after having declared its independence by Kosova/o Parliament in 2008, Kosova/o still persist to be a fragile country in different parameters and segments of society. High levels of poverty (living on less than 1.55 Euros per day), and about 12% living in extreme poverty - on less than 1 Euro per day), high rate of unemployment, the very difficult economic and social situation, have a direct impact on child development and in ensuring a protective environment, quality and sustainable services for the child wellbeing. The focus of the political parties and the government over these last years was more centered toward the investment of more visible matters such as building of institutions, development of the infrastructure, international affairs, and privatization. Kosova/o is assumed to have the youngest population in Europe with half of the population being under the age of 25 (600,000 children out of a 1.7 million population - according to the statistical office in Kosovo). Limited statistical information is available about children in Kosova/o, however all figures available are estimates.
Children’s rights require the political will to be the priority area, however very little efforts have been made with regards to this. According to the World Bank, extreme poverty is disproportionately high among children, the elderly, households with disabled members and female-headed households. Kosovo’s ethnic minorities are particularly vulnerable with extreme poverty as the highest among Roma and Slav Muslim households. The main issue of children’s situation is poverty. In the UNICEF report on Child Poverty in Kosovo, studies show clearly that children are at significantly greater risk of poverty in Kosovo compared to the general population, with 48.6% of children aged 0-18 reported living in poverty.
Most risked children in Kosova/o are:
- Children from marginalized ethnic groups (especially Roma Ashkali and Egypitan-RAE children),
- Children living in extreme poverty,
- Children working and living on the street,
- Children from different minorities and
- Children with disabilities
Save the Children has worked in Kosovo/a since 1997, with a main office in Prishtina/Priština and a sub office in North Mitrovicë/a. On 1 April 2012, Kosovo/a transitioned to Save the Children International. The success of Save the Children program in Kosova/o derives from our strong working relationship with the ministries, institutions and the community in general, at local and national level.
Our program approach is based on direct interventions and the establishment of good practices, capacity building of civil society and local duty bearers to respond to the needs of children. We also advocate for legislation and policies that will incorporate inclusive practices and have appropriate financial mechanisms to support systemic responses and therefore achieve long lasting positive changes. Furthermore, we are regularly providing written submissions to the European Commissions’ Annual progress reports in relation to the respect of the Kosova/o authorities on child rights, and call for politicians' attention towards inclusive education and child protection issues during turbulent times when political situation around the independence of Kosova/o keeps children's issues off the agenda. Children themselves are active participants in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Save the Children's work.