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Annual Report 2022-2023

Two media professionals talking

Our vision is a world free from violent conflict. A world where societies undergoing major change manage conflict without violence through dialogue and collaboration.

Our annual report for 2022-2023 reflects on our achievements and the challenges we faced working to build sustainable peace across North Africa, the Western Balkans, Europe and the Swahili Coast region.

Read PCi annual report 2022-2023

Our peacebuilding achievements highlighted in the annual report include:

In Libya, the Social Peace and Local Development project (SPLD):

  • continued to support more than 20 Social Peace Partnerships (SPPs) comprising 928+ members who work to promote social cohesion across Libya
  • strengthened and enhanced peacebuilding technical skills and knowledge through mentoring and training support delivered in 20 target locations across the country
  • supported women’s leadership and a stronger civil society space through six gender grants, and seven grants implemented by civil society organisations, in collaboration with Social Peace Partnerships
  • continued to manage conflict issues and tensions in all the target areas across Libya – with some Social Peace Partnerships rolling out initiatives independently of PCi
  • strengthened capacity of Tier 2 Social Peace Partnerships (to become Tier 1) through five grants.

In Mozambique, PCi’s work with WeWorld’s team in Cabo Delgado included developing an understanding of conflict dynamics and conflict sensitivity risks in the communities in which WeWorld is working; supporting WeWorld’s project team to prioritise, mitigate and monitor these risks using our conflict sensitive interactions matrix; and developing indicators and tools for measuring the project’s impact on social cohesion.

In Serbia-Kosovo:

  • PCi awarded various institutional grants to support mission-led organisations in Kosovo and Serbia to empower them to pursue the core objectives of their mission to achieve social change within their own societies.
  • Through PCi’s consortium partners, grant support has been provided to the Advisory Committees established in eight target municipalities to pursue inclusive and participatory approaches to social services planning.
  • Support has been provided for a civil society-led process to undertake a campaign in south
    Serbia to inform the Albanian-speaking population of the census process – the lessons learnt from the census in Serbia will be applied to the census in Kosovo in 2023.
  • PCi has commissioned work to build and train a network of civil society organisations and media outlets with knowledge about the specific challenges.
  • PCi designed and established a first-of-its-kind initiative to support collaboration between different language media outlets in Kosovo.
  • The Kosovo–Serbia Rapid Response Mechanism (KSRRM) adopted a number of joint positions
    which were widely distributed in local media in Kosovo and Serbia, and amongst members of
    civil society and the international community.

In Switzerland, PCi engaged with the UN-led peace negotiation processes concerning Syria by providing support to the political opposition delegation representation in Geneva. No activities took place inside Syria.

PCi also maintained contacts with different stakeholders in the South Caucasus and in the Ukraine.

Download PCi annual report 2022-2023

Case study: strengthening media as a stakeholder in peacebuilding

This case study describes PCi’s experience of convening a partnership among media organisations working in the Kosovo informational space; a partnership created with a view to drawing out lessons for the ways in which international support can help independent media achieve a greater impact on democratisation, inter-communal relationships and peacebuilding.

The study, which analyses work carried out by Peaceful Change initiative as part of the Amplifying Local Voices for Equitable Development (ALVED), concludes the following:

  • Independent media in Kosovo have a natural inclination to seek out partnerships, including those that transcend the conflict divide. Such collaborations should be encouraged and supported, but they should look beyond the symbolism of cross-conflict cooperation and focus on the added value that different media can bring to each other’s core business.
  • For partnerships to succeed and achieve some form of sustainability, at least one partner should have a clear idea of the value that they seek to gain from the cooperation, beyond the symbolism of developing broader networks.
  • Professional media consider development projects as being of interest to their readership and are prepared to devote resources to cover them. Development projects should view independent media, and especially local media, as partners in achieving their social change objectives – and should support their development in ways that allows them to maintain their independence.
  • Direct support for media in Kosovo should make allowances for the language gap within the country, allocating resources that allow media to work in both Serbian and Albanian in the interest of building more of a unitary informational space. Concurrently, investments should continue to be made to support multilingualism and language rights.
  • Partnership-focused projects should be designed with a view to strengthening authentic drivers of cooperation. To a great extent, this may mean applying monitoring systems that prioritise process over output – especially at the early stages of cooperation. Close monitoring could allow later-stage projects to draw attention to where opportunities to improve output are being overlooked.
  • Cooperation that is rooted in mutual organisational interests can provide the basis for sustainable collaboration and the transformation of relationships on an individual basis. This does not, however, translate into broader transformations in ways of working. Despite the sense of mutual reward from the partnership, the participants applied conflict-avoidance strategies regarding content that was sensitive for their audiences. Investment in partnerships should be long-term; this would allow partnerships to build resilience and let them apply specific strategies for transcending discourses on sensitive topics.

The case study is available to download and read below:

Read the case study

The work described in the case study was part of the project Amplifying Local Voices for Equitable Development (ALVED), funded by the UK Government’s Conflict, Security and Stability Fund.

Analysis of cooperation in the fight against human trafficking and gender-based violence

This publication looks at cooperation in the fight against human trafficking and gender-based violence, and makes recommendations for local authorities on the adoption of best practices. The paper focuses on collaboration between four neighbouring municipalities – two in Kosovo, two in Serbia – which are on key migration and smuggling routes. It also looks at the significance of the Western Balkans in terms of migration patterns and the role of the municipalities as transit zones.

This policy paper aims to explain and compare the legal systems in Kosovo and Serbia and addresses the existing gaps in cooperation between institutions in Kosovo and Serbia. This document also explores the complexity of gender-based violence and the legal challenges associated with tackling the problems of domestic violence.

This analysis was published by the Center for Peace and Tolerance Pristina with the support of Peaceful Change Initiative.

The policy paper is available to download and read below:

Research on the shared challenges faced by Serbian communities in northern Kosovo and Albanian communities in south Serbia

This report looks at the shared challenges faced by Serbian communities in northern Kosovo and Albanian communities in south Serbia, and sets out recommendations for local and central governments, the international community, as well as media and civil society.

The research was undertaken as part of the project “From Shared Challenges to Shared Solutions”, which was jointly implemented by the Centre for Democracy and Education – Lugina from Bujanovac and the NGO AKTIV from North Mitrovica, with support from PCi. The report sets out a comparative analysis on the position of Serbian communities in the four northern municipalities of Kosovo and Albanian communitites in Preševo Valley in south Serbia.

Both groups occupy a unique territorial, social, cultural, and political space in that while they are minorities in Kosovo and Serbia respectively, they constitute a majority or near-majority in the regions covered by this research. Nevertheless, they both face a specific set of barriers and challenges when it comes to their relationship with local and central governments, as well freedom of movement, youth perspectives and use of language.

The research results indicate that these two communities share very similar daily problems – unemployment, economic instability, migration, and mistrust in institutions. The research showed that non-recognition of diplomas obtained in Kosovo is the biggest problem for Albanians from the south of Serbia, while the vast majority of Serbs from Kosovo stated security as the main problem, while both communities are dissatisfied with the level of institutional response to their needs.

Taking into due consideration shared concerns and problems, the main conclusion is that it would be beneficial to establish stronger connections between the Albanian community from the south of Serbia and the Serbian community from the north of Kosovo, with the aim of establishing channels of collaboration and information exchange, as well as increasing the level of understanding between them.

The research is available to download here:

Conflict sensitivity considerations relating to the Libya Storm Daniel response

The consequences of the floods resulting from Storm Daniel on 10 and 11 September pose an urgent and unprecedented humanitarian emergency in communities in the East of Libya. The disaster, moreover, overlays Libya’s complex conflict environment, which will be shaped by this emergency and the response.  Failing to acknowledge this when providing international assistance risks exacerbating tensions, contributing to structural drivers of conflict and overlooking potential opportunities to contribute to sustainable peace.

This note provides a brief overview of conflict sensitivity considerations relating to the international response to Storm Daniel in Libya which can be identified at this early stage of the response. It is intended to inform planners and implementers and identifies both issues to be considered as part of a conflict sensitive response and recommendations for potential ways to mitigate these.

The note can be viewed and downloaded in English on the link below:

Download here

For further information, please contact:


Lamis Ben Aiyad
Conflict Sensitivity Advisor
Peaceful Change initiative
lamis.aiyad@peacefulchange.org


Tim Molesworth
Senior Advisor: Conflict Sensitivity and Peace Technology
Peaceful Change initiative
tim.molesworth@peacefulchange.org

Partnerships with purpose: media in Kosovo and Serbia

Two media professionals talking

A two year series of Media Consultation Dialogues (MCD) convened by Peaceful Change initiative (PCi) identified several areas of common need in the media spaces of Kosovo and Serbia. Profound and fundamental challenges like the difficult financial environment and lack of resources cannot be addressed overnight. There are, however, steps doable immediately to make existing resources go further and to equip media with the requisite skills for the contemporary media environment.

These include:

  1. Partnership-driven approaches
  2. Building trust through self-regulation
  3. Developing new capabilities
  4. Speaking with a common voice

A partnership-driven approach

The reality facing media outlets in Kosovo, Serbia, and elsewhere in the Western Balkans necessitates a partnership-driven approach that dilutes some of fundamental challenges they face in terms of limited resources. Cooperation between journalists and media outlets in Kosovo and Serbia is, however, not a common practice. Aside from sporadic contacts (typically at media-focused events), there is no systematic approach to building mutually beneficial and sustained partnerships.

The purpose of such partnerships is threefold, namely to:

  1. Broaden coverage – more issues covered;
  2. Deepen coverage – more perspectives and sources incorporated;
  3. Extending reach – more platforms over a wider geographical and first-language area reproducing the content.

There are various models and strategies for how such partnerships can be pursued. It could involve the exchanges of audio, video or written materials or staff, or it could be the joint production or sharing of content. Whilst there are positive examples of such partnership, they are often ad hoc and dependent upon personal ties between media editors/management. They also tend to focus upon political developments as opposed to human-centred stories.[1]

To illustrate how such partnerships could be structured, consider the following:

  1. Sharing of content, especially video/audio material and photographs;
  2. Joint productions, especially for complex multimedia feature stories;
  3. Information exchanges, especially in crisis situations;
  4. Joint fact checking of data and stories.

There are several other areas in which such systematic cooperation can be developed, including but not limited to:

  1. Exchanges and/or hosting of journalists;
  2. Fellowships – similar to writers in residence programmes;
  3. Internship and job shadowing programs for journalists;
  4. Joint efforts to identify ‘fake news” and external influences (Disinformation Alert System).

Building trust through self-regulation

The print (and some online portals) media in Kosovo and Serbia fall under the auspices of the Press Councils, which are self-regulatory bodies working under ethical codes and professional guidelines grounded in EU standards. The Press Councils of Serbia and Kosovo are both incorporated into the European Press Councils’ Associations, but they do not cooperate directly. Given the issues pertaining to hate speech and prejudicial reporting in Kosovo and Serbia, systematic co-operation between the two could have a transformative effect on relations.

Such co-operation could include:

  1. Periodic meetings to learn about each other’s work and context;
  2. Provision of materials such as ethnical codes in Serbian and Albanian;
  3. Exchange of know-how, experiences and resources;
  4. Establishing a Joint Complaints Committee meetings regarding violation of the codes. It would be  hosted by the Serbian Press Council if the violation is in the Serbian media and vice versa;
  5. Joint reactions and public support, particularly where complaints have been upheld, thereby building trust in the process;
  6. Joint events for journalists targeting hate speech, disinformation etc..

Developing new capabilities

The media environment is rapidly changing. There are emerging threats, particularly with respect to disinformation, but also novel opportunities. Contemporary journalism arguably requires new skills, particularly those pertaining to OSINT, social media, and data analytics. The possibilities for professional development are, however, limited. Journalists lack the time and resources to build strengthen their capacities, whilst media outlets are limited in their ability to invest in human capital.   

To remain relevant in a contemporary age, journalists and media outlets must create user friendly resources – grounded in lived experience – which can help guide their peers in their day-to-day jobs. Such resources would ideally be developed in conjunction with the respective journalistic associations and academic institutions.  

There are also generational gaps which need to be bridged. Whilst older generations of journalists were trained in a different context, where there was arguably a greater awareness of and familiarity with questions of ethno-national diversity, younger generations of journalists have grown up in a somewhat different context. This latter group, however, is more attune with other forms of diversity and new trends in the media. By providing opportunities for networking and other forms of collaboration, journalists from various backgrounds can enhance their understanding of and enjoy greater access to a particular community.

Speaking with a common voice

Almost every single professional media in both Serbia and Kosovo is struggling to survive. Due to shrinking sums and changing donor priorities, many professional media are registered as Civil Society Organisations to improve their eligibility. Other professional media have opened their own NGOs which can apply for funding. Calls for proposals tend to be extremely complicated, often to the extent that small media lack the capacity to apply or fulfil the requirements.

Raising awareness within the donor community about such issues will require that media in Kosovo, Serbia and the Western Balkans engage in joint advocacy. By speaking with a common voice, media outlets can send a powerful and constructive message about their specific needs. Such advocacy would also focus on the means of dispersal, including how to get beyond the classic intermediary model that means that much funding doesn’t go directly to the beneficiaries.  

Such joint advocacy would also reinforce the importance of media freedom conditionality on the road to EU accession. It would focus upon questions of financial and ownership transparency within the media scenes of Kosovo and Serbia, whilst underscoring the importance of the safety of journalists and their ability to operate in a context free from political interference.  Furthermore, it would underscore the vital role the media plays in underpinning democracy and the rule of law. By drawing attention to specific issues, a free media is an essential part of accountability and transparency, whilst relaying the concerns and needs of citizens.

Clarification

All the ideas contained within this paper were generated during the Media Consultation Dialogues conducted by PCi, plus subsequent consultations with particular participants. The purpose of this paper is to stimulate further discussion about the approaches contained within, with PCi on hand to facilitate the development of specific proposals.

For further enquiries, please contact  anthony.foreman@peacefulchange.org    


[1] In every one of the eight MCDs, the lack of such stories has popped up as something sorely missing from the media in both Kosovo and Serbia. Based on ideas launched in the MCDs, PCi introduced a special award for such media content and gave an annual award for two consecutive years. 

Women in media report: Serbia and Kosovo

Cover image women in media report

PCi’s Western Balkans project “Amplifying local voices for equitable development” – ALVED, hosted a series of Media Consultation Dialogues which brought together media professionals from Serbia and Kosovo to discuss and reflect on challenges and opportunities to improve the media scene, reduce divisive narratives, and increase cooperation between journalists and media across the ethnic divide. The Dialogues included topics such as the work of media regulatory bodies; the importance of local media; independent media sustainability; what are the roots and causes of divisive narratives and why is there a lack of empathy for “the other”.

One of the Media Consultation Dialogues focused on “Women in the Newsroom” and looked at the positioning of women in media and the level of (in)equality with their male colleagues and the ways this affects the way that women are represented in the media. A comprehensive questionnaire was sent out to close to a thousand media professionals in both Kosovo and Serbia and PCi is proud to present the results of this study together with a set of recommendations on how these worrying findings can be addressed.

In 2023 it is utterly unacceptable to find out that one in three women working in Serbian media and one in four in Kosovar media have been victims of sexual harassment. Or that around close to 30% of women working in Kosovar and Serbian media have been discriminated due to their age or appearance. The fact that seven out of ten women are considering changing jobs and professions is certainly not a result of a satisfactory status of women in Kosovar and Serbian media.

The comprehensive Report Survey can be accessed below:

Serbia report in Serbian language

Serbia report in Albanian language

Serbia report in English language

Kosovo report in Albanian language

Kosovo report in Serbian language

Kosovo report in English language

Annual Report 2021-2022

Annual report 2021-2022

Our latest annual report reflects on some of the achievements we had but also on the challenges we faced building peace in the last year.

With programmes in North Africa (Libya), Western Balkans (Serbia-Kosovo) and Europe/Switzerland (Syria) we also maintained contacts with different stakeholders in Ukraine and the South Caucasus. Our work in the year is detailed in our Annual Report, below, alongside our financial statements. Our key charitable programme activities in the year are highlighted below.

In Libya, through the Social Peace and Local Development Project (SPLD), we:

  • Continued to support more than 20 Social Peace Partnerships (SPPs) comprising 563 members, strengthening social cohesion across Libya;
  • Deepened the development of a cadre of 20 peacebuilding professionals who provide support to the SPPs as well as disseminating the SPLD approach;
  • Strengthened the approach to women, peace and security through implementation of a new project component focused on gender in six municipalities;
  • Created Livelihood opportunities through a new project component that addressed economic stressors, including conflict and COVID-19, that negatively impact on community relations, gender equality and social inclusion;
  • Supported a network of 36 peacebuilding practitioners who carry out peace actions involving 26 communities across the country.

In Serbia-Kosovo, our key achievements included:

  • Five Media Consultation Dialogues brought together media professionals from Serbia and Kosovo to work to end divisive narratives;
  • A Rapid Response mechanism was established in Kosovo to assess the impact of COVID-19 on non-majority communities, to support an advocacy strategy and increase awareness amongst government stakeholders on challenges facing these communities.

In Switzerland, we engaged with the UN-led peace negotiation processes concerning Syria by providing capacity-building support to the political opposition delegation representation in Geneva. No activities took place inside Syria.

Download the Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements (31 March 2021-30 March 2022) here.

Conflict Sensitivity resources for international assistance providers in Libya

As part of the Conflict Sensitive Assistance forum in Libya, PCi has developed a number of resources for international assistance providers working in the country to inform the conflict sensitivity of their activities.

  • The Conflict Sensitivity Manual for Libya provides guidance for international assistance providers on applying conflict sensitivity within their activities, particularly relevant within the Libyan context.  The manual looks at the basics of conflict sensitivity, what it is and why it is important in Libya.  It then provides practical guidance to integrating conflict sensitivity in practice.  It also provides specific tools which international assistance providers can use to identify and respond to conflict sensitivity considerations within their activities.

CSA Conflict Sensitivity Manual for Libya June 2022

يونيوليبياحـالــــة النـــزاع فيمنهجيـــة مراعـــــاةدليل ارشـــادي حول

  • The Conflict Sensitivity Risks, Trade-offs and Opportunities resource provides a reference for international assistance providers to review common conflict sensitivity interactions in Libya and apply adaptations to their own programming.

CSA Forum Conflict Sensitivity Risk Resource June 2022

Integrating Gender into community-level peacebuilding: Lessons from Libya

Since 2013, Peaceful Change initiative has been supporting community-level peacebuilding initiatives in more than 40 Libyan municipalities. This report captures our experience and lessons learned from nearly 10 years of integrating gender into our programme. Key lessons include: 

  • Using a gender lens to analyse conflict was key to increasing community understanding of why women’s agency in local peace and conflict should not be underestimated 
  • Understanding interests and needs of diverse groups of women helped to offer relevant incentives for them to engage in local peacebuilding activities 
  • Working with men on their attitudes and behaviours and identifying ‘male allies’ helped to create a safer space for women to participate 
  • Funding and opportunities for women to strengthen their leadership skills and implement their own initiatives represented an important tool to deepen women’s participation 
  • Safely raising the visibility of women peace leaders helped shift social perceptions towards women and their role in peace and decision making 

Download the full report

Find out more about the Social Peace and Local Development (SPLD) programme

integrating gender into our programmes