A global approach to poverty reduction

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Recently, Dominique Sweetnam of Caritas Luxembourg was on a mission to Kosovo, a country in which Caritas Luxembourg has been working for more than 20 years.

Even if its GDP per capita has tripled between 2000 and 2017, Kosovo still remains a very poor country, needing aid from the international community and that of its diaspora to survive. Poverty and unemployment are widespread, especially among women and young people, who represent nearly 75% of the population. These groups are therefore the main targets of Caritas Luxembourg's aid.Caritas Luxembourg's work in Kosovo is multifaceted.

Indeed, to overcome poverty in Kosovo, a global approach must be taken," says Dominique Sweetnam. "At the same time, we are focusing our activities on a few municipalities, namely Leposaviq and Zvečan in northern Kosovo, and Viti and Kllokot in southern Kosovo. This way, we can work more effectively for whole communities. »

We have three main approaches. The first is assistance to communities so that they can organise themselves, integrate the most vulnerable, develop their skills, equip themselves with infrastructure and thus take charge of their own destiny. Associations, particularly those of women and young people, are thus supported in their projects. Especially poor families receive equipment in order to improve their livelihood. Information sessions and training are organised according to the needs of the communities.

The second is the fight against unemployment. Training courses (in computer science, accounting, entrepreneurship, project management, English, etc.) are offered so that women and young people can acquire the skills needed in the present economic climate. Beneficiaries are supported so that they can launch and/or develop their own business, whether agricultural, manufacturing or service.

Finally, there is the support provided to schools to improve the quality of their teaching and the support to students so that they don’t drop out of school. Schools receive computer equipment, photocopiers, library shelves and books, etc. As a result, teaching and learning conditions are significantly improved. In addition, teachers are trained on using computers as part of their lessons.  Students are helped through scholarships to continue their studies to the end of high school in order to leave with better chances.

In the villages in which we work, the results are clearly visible. We directly reach about 1,300 people, but indirectly many more, because over the medium and long term, the whole community is positively impacted," concludes Dominique Sweetnam.

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