Limited cooperation between Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs since 1999 has hindered the country’s social, economic, and political development, prolonging the region’s instability and lengthening timetables for European Union accession. Through the Advancing Kosovo Together (AKT) program, USAID and Chemonics are improving conditions that enable Kosovo Serbs and other ethnic minorities to engage in the work force and government institutions while preserving their unique cultural heritage.
The program focuses on four areas: improving communications between Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs, increasing economic opportunities for non-majority communities, expanding the capacity of municipal administrations to efficiently respond to the needs of all their citizens, and teaching local organizations how to better leverage cross-ethnic leadership. To achieve these objectives, AKT engages directly with civil society organizations, federal and local government, and the business community in 16 target municipalities in Kosovo.
Specifically, the program partners with local governments to design and implement initiatives that will reduce linguistic barriers to inter-ethnic communication. Part of this involves engaging community members and working to improve the service delivery to all citizens, regardless of ethnicity. In addition, AKT assists micro-, small, and medium enterprises by facilitating market links, providing business training, and improving access to finance.
As part of the USAID Forward initiative, the program also works with USAID to strengthen local civil society organizations and improve aid sustainability. In line with this goal, AKT collaborates with a local consortium to share knowledge and jointly implement similar objectives.