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Internships build hope for Kosovan youth

June 16, 2011

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Blerim Cerkini/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Albana Konjuhi at her new job. Photo: Blerim Cerkini/Mercy Corps

For 20-year-old Albana Konjuhi from Kosovo, interning paved the way to success in the future job market. Through training in basic negotiation skills, civic engagement and community mobilization, Albana’s work at the European Commission helped her develop skills crucial for a young professional emerging into a competitive job environment.

“These trainings show me there are many different ways of communication, and that communication is the key to my education, employment and career,” she explained.

Through our Supporting Kosovo’s Young Leaders (SKYL) program, Mercy Corps supported Albana in her first internship experience at the European Commission, specifically on the Infrastructure Project Facility (IPF) in the Western Balkan region.

“When I started working in the IPF project, at the beginning I was not confident that I could do it, but the knowledge that I gained during SKYL training helped me to successfully implement program activities,” Albana added.

Albana’s internship also provided her with knowledge and resources to help her family through difficult economic circumstances. Albana’s family struggled to make ends meet; her father’s monthly income of €212 (about US$300) was hardly enough to provide for a family of five. Working as an intern at IPF, however, allowed Albana to supplement her family’s income while still continuing her education in economics.

The IPF internship eventually led Albana to a full-time job with the program. “Albana is a big support to our project,” expressed Violeta Jakupi, Office Manager of the IPF Program. “Her communication skills have helped us to improve our communication with clients. For her contributions to the project, our management has decided to hire her in a sub-project as regular staff.”

Albana’s experience is only one of the many success stories from the SKYL program. SKYL training through IPF encourages Kosovo youth to actively participate in building bright, viable futures for themselves and their communities.

Editor's note: Hanife Limani, SKYL Civic Engagement Specialist for Mercy Corps Kosovo, also contributed to this story.