Women for Women International-Kosovo Launches Walnut Tree Campaign

For Immediate Release
Contact: Iliriana Gashi, Country Director, Kosovo +381 045.266.267 or +381 049.555.451

Amber Khan, Senior Director of Communications 202.521.9607

Women for Women International – Kosovo Launches Walnut Tree Campaign
Donors Invited to Sponsor Purchase of Seedlings through March 6th

Thursday, February 26, 2015 (Washington, D.C.) – In honor of International Women’s Day 2015 on March 8, Women for Women International (WfWI) – Kosovo has announced the launch of a new campaign to generate income for marginalized Kosovar women by giving them walnut tree seedlings.

Beginning March 1, donors will be able to sponsor the purchase of a tree for a woman in need of an income generating activity. Donations will be collected through March 6, and the campaign will culminate in a ceremony and celebration with both donors and recipients at WfWI’s Women’s Opportunity Center in Pristina. The trees will be distributed later in the month.

Walnuts are a traditional crop in Kosovo, but with the introduction of new industries in the region, cultivation has declined in recent years. The lumber industry has also taken many of the walnut trees. A mature walnut tree will remain productive for as many as ten years, and a typical harvest can generate hundreds of euros per tree. The average cost of a walnut tree seedling is about $17 (approximately 15€).

“We want to create a connection between the donors and the families receiving the trees,” explains WfWI – Kosovo Country Director, Iliriana Gashi. “When donors have a chance to meet the people they are helping – and vice versa – it draws them together and reminds them that we are all more alike than different.” Gashi hopes to be able to make the walnut tree campaign an annual event. “We are stronger when we all grow together,” she says.

“Planting trees in celebration of International Women’s Day is symbolic of the important role women play in strengthening families and communities and the need to invest in their economic empowerment,” says WfWI CEO Jennifer L. Windsor.

The goal is to be able to provide trees for 700 women, all of whom have expressed an interest in growing walnuts and confirmed that they have enough land on which to successfully grow the tree. Each donor will be matched with a woman receiving a tree.

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 31,000 marginalized women through its 12-month core program. The Women’s Opportunity Center in Pristina also houses a Job Placement Office that has helped over 400 program graduates find employment since 2012.

About Women for Women International

Since 1993, Women for Women International (WfWI) has provided women survivors of war, and conflict with resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency. WfWI delivers these resources through a tiered, yearlong program that begins with direct financial aid and emotional support. Participants also learn about their legal rights; receive life-skills training such as health awareness, numeracy, budgeting and saving, decision-making and negotiation, and civic participation; learn business and vocational skills; and gain access to income-generating activities where they can apply those skills and begin moving towards economic stability. Along with helping more than 420,000 women in the past 20 years to rebuild their own lives and those of their families and communities after war, WfWI uses its voice to call global attention to the unique role that women play in advancing peace throughout society. WfWI works in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Sudan.