Kosovo Youth Use Social Media for Political Advocacy

Social Media Benefits the Community
Facebook page of the campaign for equal representation in local governance.
Raising awareness through Facebook and Twitter
“We found out that the situation [women employed in the public sector] is disappointing from the mayoral level down to the civil servants, and we will continue raising this issue."

The youth of Kosovo, including activists with political party forums, are using social media more frequently for their campaigns. Stepping further away from traditional media, their aim is to raise awareness about issues using networks like Facebook, Twitter and other forums to create community pages with photography, logos and visuals.

In 2013, USAID's New Media School brought 25 participants from NGOs and political party youth forums together to expand their networks and learn new social media skills and best practices to advocate effectively for issues. As part of the pilot program, which ran from February 1-June 26, 2013, the students were asked to carry out an exercise demonstrating their new skills.

The students led four advocacy campaigns across Kosovo dealing with topics such as smoking cessation, animal and environment protection, and equal representation in local government. “Facedog Kosova: One Like, One Murder Less," “Half of Population, Right Representation,” “Save the Cave,” and “Don’t Smoke” are the resulting initiatives that the youth created using new media.

“We have carried out the research in all municipalities to assess the situation of women employed in the public sector according to the Law on Gender Equality. We found out that the situation is disappointing from the mayoral level down to the civil servants, and we will continue raising this issue beyond participation at the New Media School in order to improve the situation," said Saranda Bllaca of the "Half of Population, Right Representation" campaign.

The New Media School project is designed to train the next generation of leaders for political parties and NGOs. It was initiated as part of the USAID-funded Political Processes and Parties Support Program, which runs from September 2009-September 2013. The activity provides support to all political parties to establish internal organization, contest elections, respond to constituents, and develop policies. An important focus of the activity has been women and youth forums within political parties and improving opportunities for members of these groups.