Local initiatives strengthen connections and facilitate reconciliation

Speeches Shim

Friday, September 23, 2022
Activities like this help build relationships and the path to reconciliation
CBM for USAIDKosovo

Finding common values, shared concerns, and mutual interests are the first steps toward reconciliation among people with different backgrounds.  Community Building Mitrovica (CBM), a local non-governmental organization and USAID’s partner, has introduced Cohesion Circles: groups of active citizens from different ethnic groups who come together to identify issues or opportunities that will help improve lives of their own communities while bridging cultural and religious divides. 

Kosovo’s multicultural youth, in particular, benefit from being part of Cohesion Circles. Membership emboldens them to forge new relationships and try new things - with unlikely people - that are enriching and healing. “Young people face the biggest challenge when it comes to division across ethnic lines. There are so many opportunities in Kosovo, but being afraid, young people miss out a lot. Firstly, to explore those opportunities, and to connect with their peers from different communities, learn about each other, but also, overcome the fear of visiting neighboring cities and explore on their own,” says Ardian Ndrecaj member of the Pristina Cohesion Circle Group. 

Recently, the group organized a mountain climbing activity.  For many of the participants this was their first time climbing, but the excitement and anticipation helped facilitate conversation among members; sharing expectations about the route and tips about safety helped them to  connect,  and made it easier to find the courage to try something outside their comfort zone. 

Milica Jakovljevic, program manager at CBM, believes that by exploring Kosovo’s rich opportunities together, the country’s divided citizens will learn more about each other and the country they share. “It takes so little effort,” Milica reflected, “for [there to be] enormous change.” 

Last updated: November 25, 2022

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