DIVERSE TEAMS BUILD CREATIVE SOLUTIONS
Note: The blog represents a personal pre-COVID19 outbreak mentorship experience by the author
Social justice is a cause close to my heart. Serving as a UN Volunteer and being part of the mentorship initiative has given me the opportunity to better understand social aspects that I want to see improved. Engagement in a wide range of projects has firmly increased my leadership capacity as a young woman. Through many initiatives taken, I realized that actions for change should be taken on board by a range of actors and finding out where to start can be challenging. I am sure that being well informed is the first steady step that enables youth to take concrete actions for improvement in the future.
The mentorship initiative, as part of the “Empowering Youth for a Peaceful, Prosperous, and Sustainable Future in Kosovo” project, is a platform that has gathered me, my colleagues and our mentors to initiate change. Jointly, we carried out developmental projects, promoting social justice, inclusion and equality. These projects cover a wide range of 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, including Quality Education, Gender Equality, Sustainable Cities and Communities, as well as Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. Brainstorming ideas for making a change in our community challenged us to think about the areas that need urgent improvement in Kosovo. Initiating and implementing those projects, has brought a set of skills that are always going to follow me during my career. Working closely with people from different communities has given me an insight about our common challenges, goals and similarities. Our projects strongly promote inclusion and we aim to inspire others to take initiatives promoting equality.
Gender issues and women empowerment have been the key aspect of my work. From a legislative perspective, men and women in Kosovo are considered equal. On the other hand, the social, cultural and traditional practices have caused gender inequality. In Kosovo, the inequality continues to be widespread in every sector. The biggest issues to be addressed are the norms and values of our society. Values such as masculinity and the system of patriarchy are disadvantageous for both, men and women. The conventional way of the woman centered approach to inequalities, sometimes is perceived as a threat in the masculine societies and lead to more division and violence. Identification of ways to promote women empowerment without invoking such feelings, is very important. It should be pointed out that roles assigned to the men in a masculine society are often unrealistic and put them in a hard places. Therefore, shifting together to an equal society would be beneficial to every individual. Every man and woman should do their best to stop reinforcing inequality. Changing mindsets is a very hard task, but steadily we can find a solution for achieving equality.
I was fortunate to have my mentor, Vlora Dumoshi, to engage with through this journey. She has been a role model by demonstrating how strong, successful and independent a woman can be. Together we have addressed gender issues of our society in order to generate useful ideas through which I can have a more meaningful impact. Continuously, we have worked with organizations dealing with gender-based issues, addressing the problems of our society. With her continuous support I could better understand the institutional approach to social matters. Due to my mentor’s close engagement in politics I could learn a lot about women in politics and leadership. Many stories of her rich experiences were shared with me and each one of them gave me a special life lesson. These first hand experiences gave me very useful insights on how to approach my future goals.
Our projects have been very diverse involving national and international organizations, people from majority and non-majority communities, governmental and non-governmental institutions, where great relationships have been established and our professional network has broaden exponentially.
Long-lasting friendships are amongst the best gifts of this engagement.
National UN Youth Volunteer in Women’s Empowerment
Arbnore Nokaj serves as National UN Youth Volunteer in Women’s Empowerment within UNDP. Currently, she is pursuing her Master’s degree in Economics. She is committed to finding solutions to make our society inclusive and equal.