Kosovo Generation Unlimited providing internship opportunities for 500 young people

UNICEF Kosovo as front-runner of Generation Unlimited Initiative

02 December 2020
Genu Cover
UNICEF/2020/G. Sejdiu

Prishtina, 02 December 2020 – The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is widespread, affecting disproportionally professional prospects for young people. The labour force participation rate of young people (aged 15–24) has continued to decline. Between 1999 and 2019, despite the global youth population increasing from 1 billion to 1.3 billion, the total number of young people engaged in the labour force (those who are either employed or unemployed) decreased from 568 million to 497 million. While this trend reflects growing enrolment in secondary and tertiary education, resulting in a better-skilled workforce in many countries, it also highlights the substantial numbers of young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET), a large majority of whom are young women. In Kosovo this translates into less employment opportunities, poor quality education and lack of opportunities for youth engagement in society. 

In an effort to create a meaningful learning experience for young people in response to the situation made even more difficult by the pandemic, UNICEF Kosovo and the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) have joined forces. The initiative bridges secondary-age education and training opportunities for young people as part of Kosovo Generation Unlimited, an initiative implemented by the Corporate Social Responsibility Network. The aim of K-Genu is to empower youth of Kosovo and develop their skills for productive lives and engaged citizenship in the challenging times of COVID-19.

The launching event of Kosovo Generation Unlimited brought together 400 participants, including youth interns, public institutions, private sector, and representatives from Sida and the Embassy of Sweden in Kosovo, the UNICEF Generation Unlimited Secretariat in New York and UNICEF’s Regional Office colleagues. The programme has provided internships for 500 young people placed in 53 business entities with the support of Sida. The aim is to create the largest young people’s movement to support the recovery efforts of private sector enterprises, central and local level institutions and young people in Kosovo.

The first Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Besnik Tahiri said that the Prime Minister’s office fully supports Generation Unlimited Initiative. “We have been a supporter of this initiative since the first date and I have personally assigned people to get involved in this initiative and we have expressed our willingness to support this initiative and we are interested in involving a partner like the World Bank to increase the number of young people involved in jobs in the private sector” – said Deputy Prime Minister Besnik Tahiri.

Whereas Mrs. Karin Hernmarck Ahliny, the Swedish Ambassador in Kosovo, highlighted that "The launching of this programme is one of the finest examples of an immediate solution and an obvious response to an urgent problem such as unemployment. K-GenU will set an example not only for the region but for the entire world as well”.

"Women in general have much higher unemployment rate, and during the pandemic the number has increased. Through the internship programme with SIDA we aim to provide equal opportunities for young women and men in Kosovo." - Nina Geladze Ekstedt, Project Manager of Department for Europe and Latin America at SIDA.

Murat Sahin, Head of UNICEF Office in Kosovo, flagged the urgent need for investing in second decade, youth, especially now in COVID times which brings for the first time through “Kosovo Generation Unlimited (K-GenU)” the multi-sectorial approach for the needs of young people in Kosovo. “K-Genu” with the vision of identifying and bringing together 10,000 young people and link them with private sector, institutions, civil society organizations to join hands in recovery efforts of society following COVID-19. K-GenU’s vision is to create the match-making internship platform for connecting young people with internship opportunities in Kosovo”.

"UNLIMITED is precisely the word I've seen among young people in Kosovo. At Raiffeisen Bank in Kosovo, a significant number of interns have been employed. It's a long term-commitment, not just a temporary job. A great example of what this country can achieve." Robert Wright, CEO of Raiffeisen Bank.

Roberto Benes, Director of Generation Unlimited said “The public and private sector teaming up to create these bridges and synergies between school and work will assure a successful future for young people in Kosovo. Collective effort brings these outcomes."

”I started as a young man who was flipping burgers during my studies and now after 15 years, I managed to be an entrepreneur. I encourage all of you to not stop dreaming and working hard for achieving, everything is possible!” - Agon Gashi, CEO of Meridian Express.

While the meeting was closed with a great enthusiasm for scaling-up the internship programme, we call all public and private institutions to join this porgramme that provides learning opportunities to young people in Kosovo.

UNICEF Kosovo Office will continue its partnership with public and private institutions to ensure that students and recent graduates that are being provided with opportunities are gaining direct practical experience through internship programme.

About GenU-global
Generation Unlimited is a global multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to ensure all young people are in school, training or employment by 2030.  It will focus on skills for learning, employment and empowerment, especially for girls.

Media contacts

Dafina Zuna
Head of Communications
UNICEF Kosovo Programme


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

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