The Ideas Partnership

by tkos on August 16, 2012

Post image for The Ideas Partnership

An NGO founded in 2009 by Elizabeth Gowing, Robert Wilton and Ardian Arifaj. They support the people of Kosovo as they protect their unique cultural heritage, nurture their environment, and educate a new generation of citizens.

With no office and a small team of volunteers, the organization has next to no administrative costs. All funds go directly into the small but significant initiatives it prioritises.

Successful ideas have included:

preparing more than 50 children from the Roma/Ashkali community in Fushë Kosovë Municipality for the mainstream schooling where they have a right to be, and getting them in; continuing to support those children’s transition and help the school to accept them;

devising and marketing the Kosova Kards micro-finance project for handmade greetings cards decorated with filigree; 
campaigning against unnecessary plastic bags;
donating books to Mitrovica library and Gjakova Teqe;
saving an old Ottoman house in Prishtina;
gathering resources for the Gjakova safe house for victims of domestic violence;
promoting local mineral water;
touring an exhibition of photographs celebrating Kosovo’s culture and environment;
bringing to Kosovo an exhibition of photographs of the country taken by a British University botanical expedition in 1956;
the 2010 Rugova Summer Programme, which saw 38 children enjoying themselves in one of the most beautiful corners of Kosovo, and learning a lot about their environment in the process;

In the part of Fushë Kosovë where The Ideas Partnership have been working, the vast majority of earnings come from men going through the city’s rubbish bins for re-sellable scrap, and women begging. Children often have to work with their parents; this basic need for money for food is one of the reasons that rates of school enrolment have been very low.

We’ve been working with the community to try to change this. The Sa-Punë micro-finance soap-making project is one way to help. All of the women who hand-make these scented olive oil soaps have children who started school this year. With a bit of training, they can now see their hard work translating directly into earnings: they’re less likely to be out begging, and less likely to be taking their children out of school.

(Here’s the story in Jeta në Kosovë/ Life in Kosovonewspaper.)

It is a lot of work (“sa punë!”), but the results, fragranced with essential oils and sold in cute cloth bags (the result of a separate micro-finance women’s sewing project) are attracting interest in Kosovo and beyond. If you’ve a hotel chain or just someone you’d like a special little gift for, do get in touch. The mighty partnership of Hateme, Haxhere, Naxhie, Refiqe and Vjollca thank you.


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