Appeal Amount: $$340,194
Although there has been a paucity of international attention to the Balkans in recent years, the region continues to struggle with the effects of nearly a decade of war and conflict.
One of the problems facing the region: the human rights of Kosovo's minority ethnic communities. In November 2002, more than three years after the beginning of the UN administration and NATO military presence in Kosovo, the vast majority of Serbian, Roma and other minority internally displaced persons (IDPs) have not been able to return to their homes.
According to the official report, of the 230,000 minority internally displaced persons (IDPs), only a few hundred have returned home. Moreover, the living conditions of IDPs currently residing in Serbia and Montenegro have greatly deteriorated. In the three years since displaced persons from Kosovo have been living in Serbia and Montenegro, their legal problems related to property and employment status, health care and other rights have not been fully resolved.
The CWS /Balkans Program is planning to give special consideration to forgotten, neglected or ignored emergency situations in Serbia -- including Kosovo -- and in Bosnia. It will do this to help minority displaced persons develop their capacity to cope with trauma and crises, to alleviate the continuing deficits in basic resources, and to implement initiatives that will help ethnic/religious minority families sustainable return to their homeland in Kosovo and Bosnia.
It will do this through specific measures that:
- Enhance inter-ethnic religious cooperation
and reconciliation through pragmatic activities that motivate common interest
and yield interdependent mutual benefit;
- Promote repatriation/reintegration of
minority displaced persons through cooperative income generation and other
activities in rural areas;
- Implement psychosocial counseling, trauma healing, and peacebuilding programs as a strategy for conflict mitigation.
BOSNIA: CWS is targeting remote rural areas in the area known as Canton 10 - the Glamoc District, in western Bosnia - that are characterized by concentrations of returning minority displaced families. The level of destruction in the area is extremely high - thousands of ruined houses dot the landscape of Glamoc. There is no health care facility in the region, no industry, no viable market, and no means of transportation. Farming equipment and implements of all types - from hand tools to tractors - have been looted or destroyed. Massive losses of livestock due to the war are common.
In this one-year program (lasting through the end of 2003), CWS will target the villages of Savici, Balac, Rore and Stekerovci - villages that have been directly destroyed by war, where former residents are now slowly returning to their ruined houses. This program will address some of the most urgent reconstruction needs of 25 minority families. The 25 returnee families have no hope of any shelter project from any agency at the moment. Almost all of them live in garages, cellars and underground.
The project would start with a focus on repair of 25 lightly damaged houses. The price of one house is approximately $3,600.
The CWS support will be provided in the form of construction materials and a part of the skilled labor force. The materials will be procured locally; the provision of basic construction materials and sanitary / electrical equipment will enable the house owners to repair their houses themselves.
The CWS shelter project will be implemented in accordance with the guidelines produced by International Management Group in Bosnia. The construction materials will be distributed in three phases. CWS also plans to provide two concrete mixers with petrol engines for self-help groups in order to help them carry out their work.
The rehabilitation of houses will be done through a self-help approach. It is anticipated that community-based working groups will be organized to support families who are obviously not able to perform the necessary work on their own.
By using the community-based approach, the CWS shelter project aims to facilitate the rebuilding of the houses as well as the community. CWS believes that assistance should not just be provided to beneficiaries, but should address the beneficiaries' expressed needs and be managed by the beneficiaries themselves.
The self-help groups are cohesive elements in a community structure and will become a basis for community mobilization and development in the future. The CWS local partner is the Refugee Return Service (RRS). CWS will work closely with RRS and jointly implement the shelter project in the target villages.
SERBIA: The latest UN survey indicated that the majority of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Kosovo are willing to return to their pre-war homes. Despite the desire of many displaced persons to return to their homeland, they are faced with significant problems. At present, the general security situation does not allow the large-scale return of the Serb and other non-Albanian populations to their homes in Kosovo.
Kosovo's ethnic minority communities continue to be the target of threats. In the light of the current Kosovo situation, it is increasingly difficult to determine when violence ends and peace begins. This leaves the international community with two very difficult choices. It could either pursue solutions other than return, or try to create conditions that make return possible.
Recently, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed the need for a strong commitment to support a multi-ethnic society, reconciliation between majority ethnic Albanians and minorities, and the return of minorities presently outside of the province to their former homes.
The CWS Reconciliation in Repatriation Program will facilitate the reintegration of those disadvantaged minority displaced families who want to return to their pre-war homes in Kosovo. The program priority will be given to areas with high concentrations of potential returnees in southern Serbia.
CWS does not seek a single solution to the problems of post-conflict rebuilding in Serbia and Kosovo. A major assumption is that in the coming years Kosovo will accept large numbers of returnees from Serbia. With this in mind, the sustainable, well-prepared return requires lengthy preparation, patience and time.
The CWS repatriation program will be implemented in two phases: the first phase will focus on immediate humanitarian assistance to most vulnerable displaced persons in Serbia, while the second phase will emphasize implementing a repatriation program in certain areas in Kosovo where a minimum degree of security and conditions for the return of displaced persons does exist. The CWS short-term humanitarian relief efforts will be linked to a longer-term repatriation strategy that includes reconciliation at the community level, as well as sustainable reintegration. The CWS approach will be periodically redefined on the basis of periodic reassessment of security situation, priorities and resources.
During the first phase CWS intends to continue its humanitarian assistance to IDPs in Serbia. The program priority will be given to the vulnerable groups who still require relief assistance, insuring that the basic needs of displaced persons are adequately met. The primary focus of the proposed CWS relief program is assisting vulnerable children and displaced families. The beneficiaries represent the areas of high refugee and IDP populations residing in collection centers and with host families in the Krusevac District, southern Serbia.
According to the preliminary estimate, approximately 2,000 families (10,000 persons) will receive high-energy food parcels for a one-month period. The cost of each parcel will be approximately $25.
CWS is also going to undertake an agricultural project to open income-generation opportunities and improve food security for 200 displaced families living in collection centers and host families in the Krusevac District.
Small agricultural inputs of seeds and fertilizers will help these people to improve food security and cut their dependence on humanitarian relief. Similar agricultural assistance will be provided to minority returnee families in Kosovo during the second phase. CWS supports a small-scale agriculture recovery project in areas of return through distribution of seeds, livestock and farm tools kits. The CWS humanitarian aid will create conditions enabling returnee families an initial phase of return to move towards self-reliance and self-sufficiency.
CWS Balkans will become involved in organizing the initial phase of organized return from Serbia to Kosovo by collecting information and working with local authorities in Kosovo and Serbia. Information dissemination will be critical in the reintegration and reconciliation process. CWS will establish a small information center that will work on this. CWS also plans to provide transportation for IDPs who want to return to their homes. The special go-and-see visits for potential returnee families will be organized in carefully selected areas in Kosovo.
The most important part of the healing process takes place at the community level. CWS will encourage dialogue and cooperation among local religious communities and will seek to engage them in practical projects that merge peace education and reconciliation on the ground. CWS will facilitate establishment of several minority NGOs. Minority-run NGOs are a resource for empowerment. Such NGOs will be an important factor and appropriate mechanisms for advocacy and help to develop projects that respond to minority needs. The key issue of the program strategy is to invest in the capacity of local partners.
The capacity building-through-training component of the program will include specific educational projects, as well as training in issues such as gender equality, conflict resolution and reconciliation. The CWS program offers small grants to local NGO initiatives that help to bring different ethnic groups together at the local level. In general, the CWS program gives the highest priority to the projects that promote minority return and reintegration, community dialogue and social reconciliation.
Returnees will ameliorate the socio-economic decline in Kosovo. From the viewpoint of social and economic impact, this process will promote an influx of people who have competence to organize and manage their lives. The social interaction within the community will enter a new phase. Stress and trauma reduction training will provide skills participants can utilize far into the future to reduce tension and promote negotiation and collaboration as conflict reduction options.
The program will lead to improved livelihood security of vulnerable groups, increased citizens' participation in decision-making, and more specifically to:
- Diversify incomes of beneficiaries that
raise sustainability of their livelihoods
- Improve services, better access to services
for vulnerable people
- Increase capacity for local NGOs
DIRECT ASSISTANCE/ FOOD MATERIALS (Seeds,
fertilizer, fuel, food) and OTHER DIRECT ASSISTANCE (Capacity Building
MATERIAL TRANSPORT: $2,000
SUB TOTAL FOR SERBIA: $231,748
DIRECT ASSISTANCE (Reconstruction Materials,
Machinery, Other Materials): $104,446
CAPITAL EQUIPMENT: (Computers): $1,000
SUBTOTAL FOR BOSNIA: $108,446
CHURCH WORLD SERVICE, BALKANS REHABILITATION
Account #6616, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN, 46515. Phone pledges or credit
card donations can be made by calling 1-800-297-1516.
On-line contributions to: www.churchworldservice.org
Call the CWS HOTLINE for updates: (800)