PRISHTINA, May 2017—The strong collaboration between ADA and UNICEF Kosovo that stretches all the way back to 2012 has been instrumental in addressing the needs of Kosovar youth and adolescents. Through the years, the joint effort of the two has heralded new ways of investing in young people to ensure that they are able to reach their full potential. Through this engagement, youngsters are not merely passive recipients of adult influences, but crucial partners in creating solutions to community challenges for positive social change.

The ADA-supported InGEAR (Innovation for Generating Employment and Achieving Resilience) project of UNICEF has provided youngsters with the necessary tools to be involved in decision and policy making at the local level, and facilitated their professional readiness through entrepreneurship, volunteerism and ICT skills of the 21st century.

To commemorate these successes, on May 17, 2017, high-level ADA officials Monika Tortschanoff, Michaela Flenner, and Albulena Zaimi visited the Lab to receive a personal, first-hand experience of how the Lab’s young beneficiaries are contributing to positive social change, as well as to talk about progress and future steps.

The officials were met by numerous young change-makers who presented their projects which have been successful in addressing community challenges. From youngsters who have established their own social enterprise on event planning, and those who worked to socialize children with disabilities with other children; to those who have addressed the inactivity of Roma women and those who have developed digital solutions for institutions, the presentations were plenty, and well-conceived.

As a result of the strong and lasting partnership between ADA and UNICEF, more than 150 youth-led project were supported, a number which is expected to see an upsurge as part of our joint efforts to invest in young peoples’ lives. All these project initiatives have been created as part of the Lab’s by youth and for youth methodology.

By 2018, 1200 adolescents and youth will be trained in key soft and transferable professional skills; 900 adolescents and youth will be trained in relevant ICT skills, and 3,000 adolescents and youth will have advanced their professional readiness and exposure to the labor market through volunteer positions.