Building a Democratic Kosovo


Kosovo wants to build a strong democracy. Helvetas supports the country's 38 municipalities in improving services that are designed to meet the needs of all 1.7 million inhabitants. Political decisions are being decentralized to achieve this.

  • Project Name
    DEMOS: Decentralization and Municipal Support
  • Project Phase
    2022 to 2025
  • Funding
    This project is an SDC mandate.
  • Thematic focus
    Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion
    Urban Engagement

Strengthening underrepresented voices

What use is a park bench that people with walking disabilities can't reach? Who wants to walk on a busy street without a sidewalk? And who should benefit from the infrastructure in towns and villages, if not those who inhabit them?

Municipalities often prioritize things that don’t align with citizens’ biggest needs. For citizen’s voices to be heard, they must be able to participate in the community.

The DEMOS project works with local governments, ministries and other stakeholders to provide support in three key areas:

1. Strengthening local democracy by involving citizens more in decision-making. The inclusion of women and marginalized groups is a priority.

2. Improving financial management and transparency, thereby strengthening accountability to citizen. Decisions on how public money is spent should be based on more sound data.

3. Improving delivery of services to citizens.

Effective laws, policies and reform programs

Performance-based grants are at the heart of this project. DEMOS supports communities based on their performance: The better communities do in this regard, the higher the annual grant they receive from the project. The entire cycle — from data collection, assessment, allocation and management of funds to final reporting and auditing — is integrated into Kosovo's government systems.

To ensure that nothing stands in the way of effective decentralized governance, Helvetas supports the central government in conducting detailed analyses, developing policy options, offering policy advice, and coordinating with relevant stakeholders.

The project has expanded geographically to cover all 38 municipalities of Kosovo. In this (third) phase, these processes are gradually being transferred from Helvetas to the ministry responsible for local government.

A member of the civil society participates in a DEMOS training session.
Relevant municipal officials working in groups during a one-day workshop organized by DEMOS. The main aim of the workshop was to discuss performance indicators in the area of democratic governance, specifically the role of assembly members and participation of citizens in decision-making processes.
DEMOS annually awards grants to municipalities based on their performance. © DEMOS
Glimpses of the Municipal Performance Grant Presentations.
Kosovo municipal officials during a one-day workshop discussing performance indicators in the area of inclusiveness.
«The more monitoring there is, the more push and motivation there will be to act for the benefit of citizens.»

Dafina Alishani, municipal assembly member in Prizren

The DEMOS project is a Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) mandate implemented by Helvetas.

Helvetas in Kosovo

Helvetas strives to improve job prospects for high school and college graduates in Kosovo and to promote political dialog.

Helvetas Eastern Europe Unit
Maulbeerstr. 10
3010 Bern

Phone:+41 31 385 10 10
E-Mail: easterneurope@helvetas.org