I'm having a hard time believing that this is my second-to-last blog post! My time in Kosovo has gone by so quickly, which makes me grateful and also sad. Impossible to believe that next week I'll be having my last Kosovo macchiato (hopefully not last-ever). This week at work was quite busy for me, I spent my entire week working on a project proposal for CLARD to submit to the U.S. government.
The project is a reaction to some legal changes that have recently come to fruition. Kosovo's Constitution provides citizens with legal remedies (including compensation) when their human rights are violated by the State. However, this right to compensation was curtailed by a public financial management law that did not permit victims of human rights violations to recover based on non-economic damages. This meant that a disproportionate amount of victims (particularly victims of wartime rape) faced impossible obstacles to recovery because they could not prove economic damages. Kosovo civil society (including CLARD) fought this limitation, and launched a citizen legislative initiative in 2015 to force the Assembly to consider changing the law. More than 13,000 Kosovars signed the petition, and the Assembly passed the initiative and changed the law.
Though these legal changes have taken pace, citizens have not been filing claims. This is due in part to a lack of public awareness of the changes, as well as a lack of access to legal support for victims. With this project, CLARD plans to launch a media campaign to bring awareness to the newly-available compensation methods. There will be a weekly television show broadcasted on national channels where CLARD's legal team will be available to answer questions live on-air. CLARD will also be establishing ten legal clinics throughout Kosovo to provide legal support and file claims on behalf of victims of human rights violations and other marginalized and at-risk community members.
I have never worked on a project proposal of this scale before, so this week was full of research (and work on those Microsoft Excel skills)! The application had a number of components, including a general statement of work, a detailed budget, and a risk assessment and mitigation plan. My boss was able to provide me with a lot of the required numbers and information which made the process quite smooth. He submitted the project proposal at the end of the week, and we will hopefully be hearing back soon! It makes me sad that I won't be able to stay and help with the project itself (which will begin in September if it is approved), but I am thankful for the proposal-writing experience!
This weekend I visited the coast of Albania! It is about a three-hour drive from Pristina, with incredible mountain views along the way. Lunch was at a farm-to-table restaurant that one of my coworkers recommended. The restaurant was in the middle of nowhere, at the end of a long dirt road that seemingly lead to nowhere. Though getting there was an adventure, it was one of the best meals I've had this summer! The restaurant has no menu, and everyone is served the same seasonal dishes, so long as you have no allergies. The beach was crowded but beautiful, I was warned before going that this is the prime time for tourism on the coast, so I was prepared! On the beach, the food was a delicious change from Pristina; seafood straight out of the Adriatic! It was a relatively quick stay, but relaxing and so worth the drive! I am now rested and ready for my final week of work at CLARD.
Until next week!
One of the many beautiful views out the car window on the way to Albania:
The road to lunch (right before it turned to dirt):
A portion of lunch (young goat and duck):
At the farm:
A beautiful beach sunset: