Rebuilding Kosovo: Walnut Tree Seedling Campaign Creates Opportunity

For Immediate Release

Contact: Iliriana Gashi, Country Director, Kosovo +381 045.266.267 or +381 049.555.451
igashi@womenforwomen.org

Amanda Strayer, Communications Officer 202.595.1139
astrayer@womenforwomen.org

Rebuilding Kosovo: Walnut Tree Seedling Campaign Creates Opportunity for Donors to Invest in the Environment and Women’s Economic Empowerment on International Women’s Day 2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016 (Washington, D.C.) – In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2016, Women for Women International (WfWI) – Kosovo has announced the launch of its second annual campaign that enables Kosovar donors to sponsor the purchase of walnut seedlings to support the economic empowerment of Kosovar women and aid the reforestation of walnut trees in the country.

The campaign, which launches on Thursday, February 18, allows Kosovars to come to WfWI-Kosovo’s Women’s Opportunity Center or use bank accounts to purchase and donate a seedling until March 7. On International Women’s Day, donors and women receiving the seedlings will have the chance to come together at a ceremony in the Center to celebrate women’s resilience and solidarity.

“International Women’s Day is a chance for people to rededicate themselves to supporting the empowerment of women because strong women build strong nations. Gifting a walnut seedling is a great way to not only show solidarity, but also bring people from different backgrounds together for an important cause,” explains WfWI – Kosovo Country Director, Iliriana Gashi.

Growing walnuts is an age-old tradition in Kosovo, but with the introduction of new industries and growth of the lumber industry in the region, cultivation has declined in the recent years. However due to high demand, a typical harvest can generate hundreds of euros per tree.

“Owning a walnut tree can be a woman’s first step towards moving her family out of poverty and standing on her own feet, but it accomplishes a lot more than that. By supporting women planning trees, we show how women’s empowerment is integral to the long-term growth and prosperity of families and communities. This campaign is a reminder of the power of women supporting each other and what is possible when we invest in women,” says WfWI CEO Jennifer L. Windsor.

Last year more than 150 women received seedlings purchased for them by donors as a symbol of solidarity and a tool for long-term investment in women’s economic well-being. WfWI-Kosovo aims to reach even more women this year and has installed a billboard in the center of the city to raise awareness about the campaign and encourage people to participate.

Women for Women International first opened its doors in Kosovo in 1999, following the 16-month war. Since then the organization has trained more than 32,000 women through its 12-month core program. The women who partake in WfWI-Kosovo’s program report earning an average of $1.66 per day two years after graduation, compared to just 29 cents at enrollment. WfWI-Kosovo’s Women’s Opportunity Center, a hub for women’s trainings and networking in Pristina, houses a Job Placement Office that has helped more than 500 program graduates find employment since 2012.

Click here to read this press release in Albanian.

About Women for Women International

Since 1993, Women for Women International (WfWI) has provided more than 429,000 women survivors of war and conflict with training, support, and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and economic self-sufficiency. WfWI’s innovative programs are guided by a vision to create a world in which all women determine the course of their lives and reach their full potential.

WfWI works in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Sudan. To learn more, visit www.womenforwomen.org.

To learn more about WfWI-Kosovo, visit https://www.facebook.com/WomenForWomenInternationalKosova