On October 23rd, 2018, His Excellency Mr. Per Strand Sjaastad, Norway’s ambassador to the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Albania and the Executive Director of Kosovar Civil Society Foundation (KCSF), Mr. Taulant Hoxha, officially launched the three-year “Civil Society Programme for Albania and Kosovo”. With a total budget of EUR 1.5 million the programme is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by KCSF in partnership with Partners Albania.

The goal of the programme is to support the democratic participation and development of a strong and vibrant civil society in Albania and Kosovo in the following areas: 1. Non-discrimination and gender equality; 2. Independent media; 3. Minorities and marginalized groups; 4. Environment protection and 5. Anti-corruption.

In his opening speech, Mr. Hoxha highlighted the role of civil society in democratization of Kosovo and support that KCSF provided to this sector for over two decades now. Complemented with knowledge and capacity development, KCSF has been instrumental in maximizing the value of donors’ financial support for civil society in Kosovo. Mr. Hoxha highly appreciated Norway’s decision to partner with KCSF, as a continuation of their longstanding support to civil society.

Addressing to the participants, Ambassador Sjaastad stressed that civil society has an important watch-dog function in Kosovo and Albania and is part of checks and balances in a robust democracy. We are pleased that KCSF will manage the Norwegian NGO Fund, underlined the Ambassador, and we hope this Fund will provide new opportunities in the building of a strong, independent and grass-root based civil society in both Kosovo and Albania, concluded the Ambassador.

The first Call for Applications under this scheme was launched on 10 October 2018 and the deadline for application is 5 November 2018.