Western Balkans Youth Engage in Environmental Protection for Peace

ALBANIA/KOSOVO*/NORTH MACEDONIA – Within the third RYCO Open Call for Project Proposals, supported by the Federal Republic of Germany, the M&M Ivanaj Foundation Institut from Albania in partnership with the Municipal Secondary School “Aco Ruskovski” from North Macedonia, Let’s Do it Peja from Kosovo, Shkolla e Mesme e Bashkuar “Bardhyl Pojani” from Albania and Odhise Paskali school from Kosovo, implemented “The Peace Path” project which took place from January 2020 to March 2021. 

The project fostered youth cooperation through environmental protection and ecosystem management knowledge among youth from Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia. In addition, it helped increase active social participation and youth exchange by strengthening the capacities of youth in the fields of environmental protection and management. 

“The Peace Path was a unique project implemented during extraordinary circumstances. We overcame all sorts of challenges and not only due to the COVID-19 global situation. Now, more than ever, all youth involved in this project understand how vital the protection and preservation of the environment is to ensure a healthy environment for our generation and the generations to come,” project representatives from the M&M Ivanaj Foundation Insitut stated. 

Speaking of key takeaways from the project, one of the project participants added: “These activities have been very helpful to me. I have learned new things, improved my English language skills and have met and collaborated with individuals from different places.” 

The project consisted of various activities and training which helped youth expand their knowledge, develop new skills and make new friends. 

“I’m beyond happy that I’ve finished this training successfully. I had a good time there and I learned a lot but I also made a lot of happy memories,” Ms Leandra Qavolli, project participant, emphasized. 

One of the key achievements of the project consisted in the formation of “The Peace Path”, a symbolic trail of 8 trees planted in the three different areas of the Western Balkans, to enhance the collaboration among youth, increase their understanding on environmental issues and foster their connection with nature and local societies. 

Most of these trees were planted in the yards of the partnering high schools that implemented this project, thus demonstrating in this way not only a symbolic solution to existing environmental challenges, but also establishing a positive example of peace and regional cooperation for the generations to come. 

“Working on this project has taught me a lot of things and now I think I’m prepared to teach others about it. I loved every part of the training and now I really want to be part of other activities that can save our planet Earth,” Ms Yllka Latifi, project participant, stated. 

The planted trees within the project’s initiative as well as the memories made among youth will stand as a living example of a successful cooperation, community engagement and environmental activism that were successfully achieved within “The Peace Path” project.


*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

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