A representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has visited Kosovo to see the results of a funding programme. The grants were awarded to applicants who demonstrated that their projects would promote co-operation among local self-government bodies, Roma communities and civil society, and foster integration and improvements in Roma living conditions.
Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), visited a Roma settlement in Gračanica/Graçanicë in central Kosovo on September 5, to meet with municipal and Roma community representatives and discuss efforts to promote Roma integration and improve access to public services.
During the visit to Brnješ/Bërnjesh, Lenarčič also met with Roma families benefiting from a new wastewater collector built in the settlement with a grant from the Best Practices for Roma Integration (BPRI) project. The project is funded by the European Commission and implemented by ODIHR and OSCE field missions in the Western Balkans. The grant was one of 20 awarded under the project to improve living conditions for Roma communities in the region.
“This is an excellent example of what can be achieved when local governments, civil society and the community work together to improve the situation of Roma in the region,” Lenarčič said. “When implemented with the participation of Roma communities, projects of this type can generate tangible improvements in living conditions.”
The new sewage system currently serves 15 Roma households, and was constructed in such a way as to allow further homes to be connected in the future. The construction was carried out by the municipality of Gračanica/Graçanicë, which provided the remainder of the funding.