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24 September 2015

Six new partner organisations in Southeast Europe

With six new partner organisations in Southeast Europe, medica mondiale is strengthening its network for women and girls in the region. medica mondiale is represented by a partner organisation in almost all of the states of former Yugoslavia. The six partners in Croatia, Serbia, Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina will each receive up to 15,000 euros in funding for one year.

The women's organisation Budućnost Modriča provides training to give survivors strength

The non-governmental organisation Budućnost Modriča ("Future of Modriča") was founded by activists in Modriča in 1996 after the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement between Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is working towards the protection and promotion of women's rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the project funded by medica mondiale, 120 women benefit from occupational therapy in the form of a three-month training course in a safe house. The survivors of domestic violence learn how to grow fruit and vegetables - a skill they can later use to generate their own income.

EWI networks women's rights organisations throughout Southeast Europe

The Croatian initiative EWI ("Ecumenical Women's Initiative") grew out of the Ecumenical Women's Solidarity Fund, which was a World Council of Churches project fund for women in the countries of former Yugoslavia. When this was closed in 2007, five of its members founded the organisation EWI. They are working towards women's rights, peace and reconciliation as well as inter-religious, ecumenical cooperation.

The project which medica mondiale is supporting is called "Women Moving Mountains" and promotes exchange between local women's rights organisations on the issue of gender-specific violence. The network it is establishing will form the framework for future co-operation throughout the country and region. Carolyn Boyd Tomasovic, Managing Director of EWI: "The funding from medica mondiale has given us the chance to analyse the impact of the work of women activists on gender-based violence. The new regional learning program, utilising Best Practice principles to encourage the organisations to learn with and from each other, will create the conditions necessary for focused activities at national and regional levels."

Gynaecological care in Kosovo from Hareja

The independent women's association Hareja ("Joy") is receiving funding from medica mondiale for its project "Move a step forward" which provides women from Rahovec with gynaecological care and carries out awareness-raising work. In Kosovo, society still frowns upon widows and unmarried women who go for a gynaecological check-up. The awareness raising work by Hareja has already been able to convince many women of the benefits of this type of medical examination. In addition, Hareja also offers hairdressing and other courses to the women to help them gain some economic independence. Adelina Shabani, Director of Hareja, says: "Being accepted as part of the grant program from medica mondiale means a lot to us. Both organisations have the common, fundamental aims of supporting women in need who have been injured by sexualised violence and of preventing any type of violence against women."

Speaking up about sexualised violence and demanding women's rights

Survivors of sexualised violence receive help from our new Bosnian partner organisation SEKA ("Dear Sister") in the form of one-to-one and group psychotherapy sessions.

The women's aid organisation Zena BiH ("Women of Bosnia and Herzegovina") has also been supporting traumatised women in the south of the country since 1994. This year, staff from Medica Zenica began to train their Bosnian colleagues in trauma-sensitive approaches to the work.

The Women's Court held in Sarajevo in May 2015 would have never happened without the "Women in Black" who organised this symbolic tribunal. medica mondiale contributed by providing psychosocial support for women appearing as witnesses, ensuring they did not suffer from a destabilising retraumatisation.

One of the earliest organisations set up by medica mondiale was the Albanian aid organisation Medica Tirana. From 1999 onwards, the sister organisation of medica mondiale was providing assistance to women in its therapy and counselling centre in Tirana. In 2013 the organisation had to close temporarily because many of its qualified staff had chosen to emigrate. Fortunately, since then some of the experienced workers have taken up their work again and now offer women psychosocial counselling, rehabilitation and assistance to integrate into society. They are receiving funding from medica mondiale.