London- On February 25, 2015 the new focus group on diaspora’s virtual registration (DVR) “From a Concept to Success” met in London at the Refugee Council office. This event was part of the on-going series of focus groups meetings in several countries aiming to bring together Kosovo and Albanian business and civil society leaders to discuss and develop options for making the Diaspora Virtual Registration (DVR) platform a success.
The DVR has been developed by Kosovo’s Ministry of Diaspora (MoD) with the aim of mapping out diaspora members living abroad, and strengthening diaspora’s ties and participation in the policy development process in Kosovo. The DRV can be found in the following link: http://rd.rks-gov.net.
Participants included distinguished representatives of the Albanian and Kosovo diaspora organizations, Ministry of Diaspora from Kosovo, Kosovo’s Embassy in London, Albanian Embassy in London, the International Organisation of Migration (IOM), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the representatives of charities of the Albanian community in the UK.
Vebi Kosumi, the chair of the roundtable discussion, opened up the meeting and gave a presentation on the online registration process for professionals, students, and other members of the Kosovo diaspora. “The event was an opportunity for the Ministry of Diaspora representatives to engage face-to-face with the Albanian community organisations and individuals to discuss the online Diaspora registration process. It also provided an open forum for the diaspora representatives to ask questions and have an interactive discussion with the government officials. The focus group meeting was successful as it brought together the Albanian community with the Kosovo government representatives. I received a lot of positive feedback from the participants afterwards regarding the useful topics covered. I would like to thank the KosovoDiaspora.org platform for giving me the opportunity to organise and chair the meeting, and my special thanks go to the representatives from Kosovo, the Ministry of Diaspora, IOM and UNDP as well as to all participating organisations and individuals from the UK who came to the meeting,” said Vebi Kosumi.
At the London meeting special guests included: Mentor Borovci,Lorik Pustina, Flaka Braha from Kosovo’s Ministry of Diaspora; Besian Bicurri from IOM; and ArdianSpahiu asthe UNDP representative.
During their speeches, Mentor Borovci and Lorik Pustina explained the process of the online registration for the Kosovo diaspora. “I invite everyone who is a member of the diaspora to register. This registration is important so the Republic of Kosovo would know how many people live abroad, as well as identifythe needs of diaspora professionals,” said Mentor Borovci, a representative of the Kosovo Government. Mr. Pustina further pointed out that,“all ethnic groups who originate from Kosovo and are living abroad qualify to register.
This registry does target as well, all Albanians living abroad, as for our Ministry, the Albanian diaspora is unified and undivided, regardless where they endeavor from – Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia, Presheva…” The Embassy of Kosovo and the Embassy of Albania were present at the meeting through Mr. MustafëAvdiu and Ms.MigenaBaholli and they spoke about the help, which they provide in furthering the online registration through face-to-face meetings with members of Diaspora in the UK. The Q&A session followed with an open discussion by representatives of the diaspora organisations and individuals such as Luljeta Nuzi of the Shpresa Programme, Esat Braçe of the Nënë Tereza Charity, Artan Llabjani from UK Albanian Proffesionals, Indira Kartallozi from Chrysalis family Future, Beqir Shillova from the British Albanian Kosovar Council and other legal, medical and educational professionals.
Key themes of the discussion related to procedures for registration, and the eventual benefits and uses that the finalization of the database will provide. Some concerns were raised regarding the privacy of personal data shared with the MoD via the DRV. Other discussion points focused on the results of the registration process to date. It emerged that the registration process uses encryption technology to protect the data shared with the MoD, which has planned and designed the system to ensure privacy protection throughout the process of data collection, clearing and analysis.
Diaspora representatives present at the focus group provided positive feedback, and committed to promoting the DRV among their circles as well as ensuring to find ways to make it a succes. This was the first focus group meeting held in London, preceded by others in New York, United States, and Stockholm, Sweden. Two additional focus groups will take place in Vienna, Austria and Zurich, Switzerland, where large numbers of Kosovo’s diaspora reside.
The organizer of the focus group is NGO Germin in partnership with the International Organization of Migration (IOM), the United Nations Development Office (UNDP) and the Kosovo Ministry of Diaspora (MoD). Germin is an organization that uses technology to connect and support the Albanian Diaspora communities with their home countries. Germin has founded and manages the www.kosovodiaspora.org, a crowdsourcing digital engagement platform for Diaspora.
The IOM and UNDP are implementing partners of the Diaspora Engagement in Economic Development (DEED) in Kosovo, funded by the Finish Government –www.deed-ks.org.
By Ermira Babamusta and Kanarina Shehu/
Originally published here: