The awards were presented by Democracy for Development (D4D) on 5th December in Prishtina.
The awards which have been given out for the 3rd time this year are meant to recognize individuals and organizations who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to improve their communities. This year, the prizes were given in 2 categories: volunteering and civic activism.
A total of 109 applications was received and out of them, the judges selected 4 finalists. The winners come from fields of education, environmental protection, and advancement of youth policies.
The winners of the awards are as follows:
- Volunteering Project of the Year - Festa Sh Shabani who organized a book club for children of the municipality of Gjilan (volunteers reading books to kids). Her initiatives also included a collection of school equipment for children in need.
- Volunteer of the Year - Ensar S. Shaqiri who was engaged in empowering young people in the Municipality of Gjilan. His efforts helped create an office within the Department of Education at the Municipality of Gjilan, which is assists students in several areas. The office is also a way of including young people in decision making within the municipality. In addition to that, Ensar organized a number of events, such as fundraisers for supporting children with Down syndrome, or collection of school equipment for students in need.
- Active Citizen of the Year - Egnesa V. Vitia who launched the initiative “No Smoke, Yes Bicycles” (“Jo tymit, Po biçikletave”). This project was meant to raise the awareness of citizens as well as decision-makers on the problem of pollution in Prishtina. Egnesa organized over 2,000 citizens in regular bicycle rides over the city, every Wednesday from 20:00 as well as each Friday. On weekends the cyclists also went around the outskirts of the city.
- Contribution to Active Citizenship - Association February 17 which mobilized the inhabitants of the village of Dobërqan to help clean up the village. This initiative helped make Dobërqan one of the cleanest and best-maintained villages in Gjilan, and possibly in entire Kosovo. The inhabitants are now making sure there is no litter on the streets, and that waste is properly separated for recycling.
The awards are of course important as a way of recognizing the efforts of each of these individuals for creating a better community. However, they also serve as an example and a way of encouraging all citizens in Kosovo to make their own contribution and help the development of society.