SDC Project Description Results Fact Sheet Videos

There are an estimated 250,000 persons with disabilities (PwDs) in Kosovo, and of the numerous challenges they encounter, a key one is the lack of opportunity to be included in the labour market. This limits their economic and personal independence, negatively impacting upon their self-esteem and quality of life. The Kosovo Law on Vocational Ability, Rehabilitation and Employment of People with Disabilities (LAW NO.03/L-019) obliges institutions to employ at least one PwD in every 50 employees, but it is not widely implemented. Although data is very limited, the Kosovo Forum estimates that 99% of PwD in Kosovo are unemployed.

Despite their substantial negative environmental and health impacts, the use of single-use plastic bags is still widespread in Kosovo – provided by shops and markets for free in high numbers, usually used once and then thrown away. Due to limited waste management infrastructure, including collection and recycling facilities, the negative impact of plastic waste in Kosovo is higher than in countries with more advanced waste management systems. Although both urban and rural landscapes are scarred by the plastic waste, there is still a significant lack of environmental awareness in Kosovo. Even plastic bags labelled biodegradable can leave micro-plastics in the soil, which release toxins, proven to cause cancer. The burning of plastic contributes to air pollution which often reaches hazardous levels. Collective action to reduce plastic waste is urgently required in Kosovo. Easy alternatives, such as reusable bags, are not promoted and are often not available. Providing an alternative to single-use plastic bags along with environmental education on the impact of plastic waste, can actively reduce the amount introduced into the environment, in turn supporting sustainable development.

This six-months project (November 2020 – April 2021) financially supported by the Swiss Cooperation Office in Kosovo will strengthen the capacity of PwD and support them to produce reusable bags from leftover/waste textile, enabling them to be included in socio-economic life and become advocates and contributors to environmental protection in Kosovo.

The project is implemented in partnership between the Balkan Forum, HandiKOS, and is additionally supported by companies and Non-governmental Organisations including NUKA HOME, Gjirafa, Balkan Green Foundation, Meridian Express, BYQMA and LDS.