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Kosovo reintegration efforts are bearing fruits

Examples of ICRS Reintegration Projects
Of the 25,723 ex-combatants registered with IOM under the Information Counselling and Referral Service programme (ICRS) 3,000 have been selected for the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC), 2,000 will become reservists for the KPC, and the rest will to return to school, find employment or open their own businesses. So far, IOM has assisted 4,122 ex-combatants find permanent employment and/or start new businesses. Following are examples of the ICRS Reintegration Projects.

Agriculture - Amrush

This small farm covering 768m2 is located in the village of Komoran in Gllogoch Municipality. Its owner, a former combatant, has already invested effort and money in getting it rehabilitated following the damage suffered during the conflict period. With very basic materials, he has managed to build (with wooden frames and plastic sheeting) greenhouses for cultivation of pepper, tomatoes and other green vegetables. To improve production capacity, he would like to obtain some farm machinery and to employ one more person, a fellow former combatant. He expects to be able to increase production by nearly 300%. The IOM/ICRS is assisting him through the provision of some farm machinery, while he in turn will offer long-term employment to one former combatant.

Mechanic Shop "Thaqi"

This is a small workshop; located in Llapushnic village of Gllogoc Municipality, undertakes minor mechanical and welding jobs. It belongs to a self-employed former combatant, with over ten years experience. During the war, it was destroyed and looted, but somehow, the former combatant has managed to get it re-started, though not fully operational. He needs to improve his shop's capacity to take on jobs that he is currently unable to do due to lack of the basic equipment. The IOM/ICRS is therefore assisting with the purchase of a drilling machine, a filing machine and welding equipment. With this support, the former combatant expects to be able to increase his income to a level that will enable him support his 14 dependents.

Eurometal Ferizaj Apprenticeship Project

Eurometal is a public enterprise located in the Municipality of Ferizaj. It previously specialised in construction of industrial heat exchangers, but which has been forced to shift focus to fabrication of metal industrial dumpsters as a result of damage done to the factory during the war. With the support of the IOM/ICRS through provision of stipends for the duration of the training, 20 former combatants will undertake a six-month apprenticeship that is expected to equip them with skills that should increase their chances of securing long-term employment in the industry. In addition, the former combatants will be provided with training in computer skills and in English to further enhance their employability.

Vocational Training for former Combatants

This project idea evolved from the findings of the Socio-Economic Demographic study conducted by IOM/ICRS, which revealed that training was key to successful reintegration into civilian life for a substantial number of the former combatants. This project therefore sought, in collaboration with two other partner institutions (FOCUS and USAID/KTI), to rehabilitate and equip the Pjeter Bodgani Vocational School, located in the Municipality of Ferizaj. The assistance it has received from the IOM/ICRS collaborative effort with other partners, is making it possible for the school to offer training in Auto Mechanics, Welding, Locksmithing, Plumbing and Electrical Work to 100 former combatants. In addition, 20 students will be offered supplementary courses in English and Computer Studies. IOM/ICRS is looking to replicate this idea in other regions of Kosovo where a demand for vocational training exists but remains unmet.

Trading Shop Rehabilitation-Hamz

This ruin represents what once was a textile trading business belonging to a former combatant. The business owner/former combatant is willing to offer permanent employment to three other former combatants, if he can obtain assistance with rebuilding the shop and stocking it. The IOM/ICRS is therefore providing construction materials, while the business owner/former combatant will offer full-time employment to the other three former combatants, while also re-stocking the shop from his own resources. Initial cash flow projections indicate good earnings, and which are likely to increase as the business expands it client base.

Cow Farm - Telaku

This dairy farm, located in the village of Banje of Malisheve Municipality, suffered serious destruction during the conflict. Its owner, a former combatant, has now managed to reconstruct the barn in which he hopes to house the animals acquired for the trade. He would like to re-establish himself into civilian life by rehabilitating the farm, through which he expects to be able to support himself and his 12 dependents. The IOM/ICRS is in the process of assisting him in this endeavour through provision of capital with which to purchase the initial two cows and two calves. As well as enhance food security at the household level, this project is expected to contribute to the strengthening of traditional agri-based dairy farming industry in the area.

Condiments Packing Industry

Aston is a food processing plant located in Gjakove Municipality. It buys fresh vegetables produced by Kosovar peasants for packaging and distribution to urban markets. During the conflict, Aston, like many other factories of its kind, was damaged and looted. To get it re-started, there is need for repairs to the physical structure and new processing equipment. The IOM/ICRS will provide funding to assist with the repair and improvement of processing of equipment. Aston will be able to provide long-term permanent employment to four former combatants as a result of this assistance given it by the IOM/ICRS, in addition to increasing its output and better responding to market demands.

Training/Employment in Carpentry

GEZIMI Carpentry is a private workshop whose workforce emigrated during the extended conflict period, seriously affecting output. GEZIMI, located in the Gjilan Municipality, previously produced a variety of household furniture and construction materials, such as doors and window frames. Given that demand for its products is even higher with the ongoing reconstruction effort in Kosovo, there is reason to try and get it fully operational. The IOM/ICRS is assisting GEZIMI through secondment of 10 trainees and payment of half of their monthly salaries for a six-month period. At the end of the training period, GEZIMI will assume responsibility for full employment of five of the ten trainees, while the IOM/ICRS will give the other five trainees comprehensive tool kits to assist them set up self-employment ventures.

Photo Valy

This Photo Shop located in Peje Municipality, belongs to a former combatant who with some struggle, albeit using obsolete equipment, has resumed operations after the conflict. However, with lack of modern equipment and the inability to replace equipment lost during the conflict, he is not fully exploiting the market potential, which is considerable, given the fact that there are few competitors in the environs. To this effect, he is willing to offer training to 5 other former combatants over a six-month period, and to eventually offer them long-term full-time employment. The IOM/ICRS will support this initiative by providing funding for the purchase of modern photo printing equipment and materials, and by paying stipends for the duration of the training period.

Roof from Combatant to Combatant

This roof construction project is one of many that the IOM/ICRS is supporting in the Municipalities of Peje, Istog and Klina, to assist 50 former combatants reconstruct the roofs of their houses that were extensively damaged during the conflict. Most of the 50 direct beneficiaries of this project inhabited houses that are classified under 'Category 4', which signifies a structure with four walls but no roof. The IOM/ICRS is therefore making available 50 roof construction kits and covering the cost of technical supervision to enable 50 former combatants and their estimated 400 dependents repair their roofs and live in less inhospitable conditions, particularly given the harsh winter. As well as addressing the problem of emergency housing, this project will enable interested former combatants to acquire some roof construction and repair skills, which will enhance their chances of securing employment in what is currently a rapidly growing sector in Kosovo.

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