I have been working at Democracy for Development (D4D) for the past month, and I cannot believe how fast that month has flown by. To give some background, D4D is a think tank comprised of talented individuals working together to develop independent public policy research. D4D is guided by the vision that democracy is a precondition for development, and the organization creates recommendations to fix problems that Kosovo is facing. D4D has a busy office, and several projects are going on at all times.
I have been involved in several projects. For the election project, I conducted research on women's involvement in the Kosovo electoral process, edited a policy paper on electoral dispute resolution, and created a presentation on international best practices. It was interesting to see the election issues that arise in this country, in comparison to the United States. For example, I have never been concerned about someone going to a polling station and stealing ballots. Here, that was one of the concerns about female workers at the polling stations; some people do not think women can protect the ballot boxes. Additionally, it was eye-opening to see how Kosovo deals with electoral dispute resolution and recognizing how critical transparency is in a post-conflict country.
I also reviewed contracts and suggested edits, which was strangely far more interesting than I expected it to be.
My main focus for the last week or two has been with the social assistance project. I conducted research on social assistance, unemployment, the welfare system, veteran's benefits, and pensions in several countries, including the United States, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Slovenia. I wrote summaries about the relevant countries' systems and created recommendations for Kosovo.
Pictured above is my deskmate, Dea. She is in charge of the Tuesday Salon program. On Tuesday nights, prominent community leaders, public officials, and relevant stakeholders get together to discuss and debate specific issues. For example, one of the salons I attended was about the state graduation exam. I appreciate the fact that D4D has this program, because it's refreshing to see weekly debates on important topics. The salons are open to the public and quite popular.
D4D is a very tight-knit organization. Pictured below are several D4D employees at a housewarming party for one of my co-workers. Not only were my co-workers welcoming to me at the beginning of my internship, but they still frequently invite me to lunch or to accompany them to various events. I'm so thankful that I ended up at such a great organization!